A Comprehensive Guide: Street Furniture

A Comprehensive Guide: Street Furniture

Street furniture comes in many shapes and sizes. From benches to waste bins, it covers a huge range of outdoor products that enhance an outside space, making it user-friendly, safe, and somewhere where people want to spend time.

This blog post looks at exactly what it is, what it’s used for, the many different types as well as choosing the right pieces for your space.


What Is Street Furniture? 

Street furniture is the term used to describe products and pieces of equipment in public areas and outdoor spaces. These range from decorative pieces such as sculptures, to waste bins and bus stops which are functional products that enhance the well-being and safety of people using the areas.

This type of furniture can be created in a uniform way which is often the case for things like traffic lights, or custom designed and manufactured to reflect the branding of a business, organisation, or local area. It is used to provide comfort, beauty, navigation, and safety to all residents in a particular city.

What is Street Furniture Used For?

Street furniture has a range of uses but is generally there to either keep people safe, influence road user behaviour or enhance the look of a building. For example, traffic lights or bollards keep road users and pedestrians safe whilst bin sheds keep unsightly rubbish out of view and secure until it can be removed.


A bench with a view or one that provides you with some much-needed rest after a run of brisk walk is a functional piece of kit that is often taken for granted. But just because they’re functional, doesn’t mean they have to be plain. Bespoke options can be created to reflect the personality of the area they’re in, making them a talking point for anyone who uses them.

Shade and Shelter 

The Great British weather is traditionally unpredictable. With blue skies and blazing hot sunshine one minute and a downpour the next, shelters protect from the elements. Whether you’re waiting for a bus or wanting somewhere safe and dry to leave your bike or pram, shelters are the perfect way to keep you and your property shaded when it’s sunny and dry when it’s raining.


Furniture such as litter bins, seating, and picnic benches encourage you to get outside when you’re socialising with friends and colleagues. This type of furniture keeps the area tidy and provides everything you need for an outdoor event whether that’s a celebration or taking your lunch break away from your desk.


Bespoke-raised planters are a great option for large, landscaped areas providing some interest and a focal point for those using the area. Our expert team at Miko Engineering can create planters to your specifications that create a unique structure for anything from vegetables to vibrant flowers and shrubs to bloom.

The History Of Street Furniture

The history of street furniture can be traced back as far as Roman times. In more recent times, items such as bollards used to secure towing and mooring ropes, water troughs for horses, and benches date back to the 17th and 18th centuries. Whilst the designs and materials have developed and evolved over the years, the basic principle remains the same which is to keep communal spaces clean and safe.

Early gas street lighting was used to make the streets safer at night, the first one being in London’s Pall Mall in 1807. Georgian Britain saw the increased use of road signs as manufacturing and overseas trade boomed and goods were moved around the country.


Street Furniture Today

As our design techniques, culture, and the needs of the people who use outside spaces have changed greatly over time, the types and specifications of furniture have evolved. High-quality products have replaced basic designs such as electric street lights in place of gas, LED road furniture, and signs to assist pedestrians and road users.

Decorative items such as sculptures that feature modern themes and styles reflect cultural advancements around the world.

The Benefits Of Street Furniture 

Products such as benches, litter bins, cycle stands, and storage are commonplace on streets and outside spaces around the world. They provide a variety of functions that keep us safe and outdoor spaces clean and have many benefits. These include:

  • providing comfort
  • adding style to an outdoor space
  • helping to tackle crime
  • encouraging the use of outdoor spaces


Provides Comfort 

Furniture such as benches and picnic tables provide comfort to those who are out and about enjoying the great outdoors. They provide comfortable places to take a breath or have a bite to eat, encouraging people to get outside and enjoy the benefits of being in the fresh air and socialising with friends or chatting with the person they’re sitting next to.

Performs A Function

Some of the best street furniture fulfills a specific function helping to keep those using the area safe. Public shelters such as bus stops are designed to protect from the weather. Bollards, signposts, and other road furniture assist pedestrians to get them safely to their destination whilst mailboxes perform the function of providing a place for mail to be deposited and collected safely.

Adds Style

Just because the primary purpose of a phone box or litter bin is functionality, that doesn’t it can’t be well-designed and full of colour. The best street furniture looks great and can add a sense of style and identity to a specific location, for example, by being painted in bold colours or with a logo or image that represents the area.

Increases Pride In The Area

Street furniture makes an outdoor space more comfortable and attractive for the people who live and work there which helps to increase their pride in the area. Well-designed litter bins and seating areas encourage people to use the designated areas to eat and relax and then clear up after themselves so the area remains well looked after.

Attracts More People

Well-designed, durable street furniture can help to attract more people to an outdoor space whether that’s a public or private area. For example, people may avoid spending time in the park because they know that there is nowhere to sit down and relax. Adding stylish street furniture that is built to last and easy to maintain will attract more people to the area and encourage them to use the facilities.

Can Help Tackle Crime 

A well-designed and maintained public space can help to deter criminal activities. A space that’s easy to use, clean, and easy to keep that way with the use of low maintenance materials, functional and encourages community engagement, and promotes a sense of ownership and pride. That in turn encourages more people to use the space and look after it which makes it less attractive to criminals.

Supports Urban Greenery and Biodiversity

Bespoke planters that reflect the area they’re in help to support sustainability and biodiversity, encouraging people to look after the spaces and respect the greenery that grows in them. Well-positioned planters can divide spaces, control foot flow, and create walkways and the plants that grow in them can help to improve public health by reducing CO2, dust, smog, and other pollutants.

Promotes Social Interaction and Community Engagement 

Street furniture such as benches and picnic tables encourages people to get outside and interact with others, whether that’s their friends and family, or strangers. Park benches are a great place to stop and enjoy the fresh air and have a chat with whoever wants to join you. Well-maintained furniture encourages this type of interaction which supports community pride and engagement.

Encourages Greater Use Of Outdoors

Well-kept outside spaces encourage people to use them. An outdoor dining area at an office, school, or public building encourages people to take a break, get outside, and enjoy the benefits of the fresh air which helps to improve productivity and general health. Well-equipped public spaces such as parks and play areas are more likely to be used than those that lack seating areas and bins.

Improves Ambiance Of Local Areas

Bespoke street furniture is a great way of creating a stunning area that becomes a talking point for all those who visit it. Sculptures and artwork can be used as inspiration for the more functional pieces of street furniture such as bus shelters, cycle stands, benches, and planters creating an inviting outside space for people to meet and socialise.

Qualities Of Good Street Furniture

DurabilityGood street furniture is built to last from high-quality materials such as fabricated steel, that is resistant to weather, vandalism, and heavy use. 
FunctionalityAs well as being safe and strong, street furniture needs to be functional. For example, benches and picnic tables should be designed for comfort, usability, and accessibility
AestheticsWhilst a lot of street furniture is functional, that doesn’t mean it can’t look good. Well-designed furniture and products can enhance the visual appeal of its surrounding environment.
SustainabilityUsing local firms that use sustainable manufacturing processes with energy-efficient designs, eco-friendly and recycled materials are just some of the ways street furniture can be a sustainable addition to outside spaces.
SafetyThe most important quality of street furniture is that it is safe to use and meets the required standards. That means using quality, durable materials and ensuring the furniture is safely secured to the ground. 

The Types Of Street Furniture

Street furniture comes in all different shapes and sizes. From benches that can be found in parks, pedestrian, and urban areas to bollards and bus stops, they are functional items that help to keep us safe and comfortable while we enjoy outside spaces.

Miko Engineering has a wide range of products that can be customised to fit in with its surroundings. Our products include:

  • Handrails and balustrades. Our team has created an array of bespoke architectural internal and external handrails and balustrades for fire escapes, external walkways, and more. With complete control over every element of the design and manufacturing process, we can create the perfect solution for your space.
  • Benches. A practical piece of furniture that can be designed to stand out for the right reasons, enhancing any outdoor space. One of our most popular products, we create high-quality, bespoke benches for schools, playgrounds, and other public places.
  • Outdoor bins. Having somewhere to put litter helps to keep public spaces clean which encourages people to want to spend time there. Bins are a functional piece of kit, but they can also add an element of fun with bright colours and bold designs.
  • Picnic tables. If you want people to spend time in parks and green areas, there needs to be adequate facilities. Picnic benches are the perfect addition to an outdoor area that encourages socialising while people grab a bite to eat.
  • Bollards and barriers. If you want to control road user behaviour, bollards, and barriers will help to control the movement of traffic. They help to keep pedestrians safe by defining specific areas.
  • Planters. Planters add a pop of colour and fragrance to brighten up outdoor spaces, not just with the flowers and plants in them, but with their design. They are the ideal product to complement your branding or surrounding area.



How To Choose The Right Street Furniture For Your Area

When it comes to choosing street furniture for a playground or other outdoor area, you need to make sure your choice is right for the space and will last for many years to come. But with so many options available, what factors should you consider to make sure you pick the right pieces?

Here are our top tips to help you decide:

How To Choose The Right Street Furniture For Your Area

Main factors to considerConsider the traffic flow, demographics, and existing infrastructure for the area you want to put the furniture. Who will be using it? Could the street furniture be customised to stand out or does it need to be more subtle? 
FunctionalityThink about the intended use and what type of features it will need. Who will use it and what will it be used for? For example, if you are buying picnic tables for a children’s playground, you’ll need to get a mixture of sizes so that children can use them as well as adults.
DesignWhat kind of design are you looking for? Something that stands out, or that compliments your brand such as colours and shape? Street furniture is a great way of adding a unique focal point to the area as well as providing practical solutions for seating, safety and cleanliness.
MaintenanceWhere is your street furniture going to be positioned? If it’s going to be open to the elements, consider a material that is waterproof that doesn’t need much maintenance to keep it that way, such as recycled plastic. 
BudgetUse your budget wisely. Buy the best quality products you can so that they last. Cheaper versions may end up costing more in the long run if they need to be replaced regularly.

What Should I Look For In A Street Furniture Manufacturer?

Just as there are many different options when it comes to choosing the style of furniture, there is also a wide range of manufacturers. Some specialise in particular areas such as community projects, others may have expertise in traffic solutions.

Here are some tips for finding the perfect supplier for your requirements:

Customisable With Bespoke Solutions

One of the main attractions of street furniture is that it can be customised to make a functional piece stand out and become a design feature rather than an eyesore. Many manufacturers provide a bespoke as well as standard service, but not all do. So, if you want benches that match your brand colours or street lights with your town’s coat of arms on them, check that the company provides a bespoke service.

Cost-Effective and Customer-Focused 

Whether you’re a community project, private business or local public body, you want to have a cost-effective service that puts you as the customer at the heart of the process. Don’t just take the company’s word for it that their customer service is first-class. Read reviews and testimonials from previous clients to find out what they think of it and whether they’d be happy to recommend them.

Concept To Completion 

The best type of service is one that provides everything from the initial design concept right through to manufacturing and installation, under one roof. Street furniture manufacturers that provide this ‘concept to completion‘ service tend to be the most cost-effective as less money is spent outsourcing parts of the process to other companies.

Functionality and Durability 

Street furniture should be functional and look good, but also fit for purpose so durability is key. Ask to see samples of the materials they use, and examples of their street furniture out in the community so you can sit on their park benches, or have a look at their bollards and handrails to see their quality and durability for yourself.

High Quality

A manufacturer that is proud of its work will show you samples and direct you to where you can find examples of their work. Street furniture that is made with high-quality materials and first-class craftsmanship and design is built to last. Using cheaper quality materials is likely to mean that the products won’t last and will quickly become unusable and need to be replaced.

Get In Touch For Street Furniture Solutions

With so many factors to consider when it comes to choosing the right street furniture for an outdoor space or public area, choosing the right manufacturer to guide you through the process is key. Miko Engineering is one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of street furniture and outdoor structures. With over 25 years of experience, our team will guide you through the process to ensure you choose street furniture that will last.

Get in touch with our team to discuss your requirements and find out how we can create high-quality street furniture that meets your specifications.