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Office Furniture Buyer’s Guide: What You Need To Know

Everyone likes walking into a clean, orderly and attractive office. Office furniture not only makes your office look appealing but also provides a comfortable environment for your occupants. Buying office furniture needs practical considerations that go beyond just aesthetics. Many aspects need to be considered, including comfort, style, safety, durability, and compatibility for employees and guests. It isn’t an easy start, but you can establish a few guidelines to ensure the type of furniture you want for your office. This will help to make your furniture selection process effortless and yield an overall satisfaction for your business.

Office Furniture Buying Process

Your office furniture and layout are contributing factors to your employee’s level of happiness and success. Therefore, this guide will explore the reasons why you should think twice before investing in office furniture and how to find the best options to suit your business and employees.

1. Buy With a Vision

As the saying goes, “a goal without a plan is just a wish”, it is always best to have a plan in advance when investing in office furniture. You don’t want to spend too much on average furniture and too little and compromise quality. It is highly recommended to plan a budget, type of furniture and design before making a purchase. The selection process should begin with the end in mind. For instance, you want to buy a chair. So how often will the chair be used?

Does it have to be height adjustable? Should it be light, or will it be stationary? Should it be collapsible, stackable, etc.? The more thought you give to purchase, the higher likelihood the result will meet all your needs.

Today, furniture manufacturers are well aware of the environmental impacts and use them as a major selling point. Some commonly used terms to look for when buying furniture are: air quality of manufacturing plants, green guard certification, recycled content and so on. Most of this information can be found on the seller’s website. 

Opt for furniture that is simple yet has a timeless appeal that serves the best value for a long time. It will be easier to add modern pieces by buying timeless furniture, and they never go out of time.

2. Consider Employee Comfort and Space

Employees are the stars of your business, and their comfort and wellbeing is a top priority. Comfort equals productivity and is an integral part of office furniture. Ergonomic furniture not only provides comfort but also helps to increase productivity. Many features such as contoured seats, lumbar backrest, adjustable seats, height, armrests can help minimise work-related stress and injuries.

Space planning is also vital to properly fit the furniture and enough room for the occupant to work comfortably. It is also important to consider space clearance close to doorways and walkways. You can request your vendor to do field measurements to confirm accurate dimensions for an allocated space. This will help you plan an ideal space for your employee and promote physical and mental wellbeing.

3. Selection of Materials

Depending on the type of furniture, design, and aesthetics, it is essential to evaluate the furniture’s utility and usage before selecting the material. Some materials that are commonly used in chairs are:

a. Vinyl/ Leatherette: If neatness is a top priority, easy to wipe vinyl or leatherette may be the right choice for you. Leatherette is a synthetic material made from natural or synthetic cloth fibres coated in PCV. It often looks like real leather, and you can’t tell the difference. Vinyl and leatherette are both a great option for areas where stains are more prevalent. These fabrics come from the 70’s look but are now softer and more leather-like with availability in many colours. There are specific vinyl fabrics available in many industries. Some vinyl fabric can withstand bleach cleaning in hospitals that is used to eliminate bacteria.

If the furniture needs to sustain heavy-use, then engineered fabrics such as Crypton are durable and long-lasting. They resist stains, moisture, and bacteria. Vinyl and leatherette is more cost-effective than leather and can be one of the most durable fabrics.

b. Leather: Leather is the desired choice for executive suites, lounge areas, and conference or meeting rooms. It provides a luxurious appearance, easy to maintain and will develop its own patina to give your chair a distinctive look as it ages. Some leather office furniture manufacturers also provide a myriad of coloured upholstered choices. Quality leather also comes with a breathable finish which allows your occupant to relax on a hot day.

c. Wood Veneer: Wood veneer furniture has many good qualities, including polished look and durability. It comes with a higher price tag compared to laminates and metal. But wood has the least impact on the environment, is sustainable and is non-toxic. While solid wood can be prone to warping and splitting, a veneer is thin layers of wood glued together which reduces the chances of splitting or cracking.

4. Product Rating

Did you know that there is also a priority in getting a comfortable fit to accommodate occupants of all shapes and sizes? For instance, a standard chair is made to support up to 250 pounds. Choosing an incorrectly rated product can result in injury to the occupant and damage to the chair as well. Therefore, it is important to check with your vendor or seller before purchasing any furniture. 

Any extra savings made by buying a low-rate chair would be far exceeded by the cost of the liability to the injured person. Each individual has a unique body type and has different needs. Buying stylish or comfortable office furniture doesn’t solve your problem to establish an attractive office. An appealing office is equal to happy employees, and therefore purchasing desk, chairs and lobby furniture takes a little extra effort and time.

5. Purchase Furniture with Future Growth in Mind

While purchasing furniture, it is important to take into account how every piece will fit into the current and future environment. Planning for the long term will help to adapt to technology and incorporate it into your office. Technology is growing faster than ever and has changed the way we work. For example, reception desks need to be spacious and provide outlets for laptops, monitors, printers, and more. It is critical to think about what space and storage will be required in the future, like, does the furniture have wire management or can the conference room accommodate video conferencing?

With technology, creating a flexible workspace is also an important factor to be considered. It is wise to invest in furniture that is light and reconfigurable when new needs arise. This will allow the flexibility to change the floor plan as needed. You can also invest in standing desks that not only promote good posture but also fight against negative health effects caused by sitting for a prolonged time. Another trend that is gaining much hype is providing them with an area to rest or nap. It sounds crazy, but big companies like Google and Uber have implemented sleeping pods in their offices!

6. Think About Other Amenities

We usually tend to focus strictly on office chairs, office desks, meeting tables, filing cabinets, etc. when we think about furniture. However, there are other items that you can purchase to enhance your office space, design and deliver extra comfort to employees, such as a comfortable resting place, a coffee machine, a pool table and many more.
These features are not work focused but will easily improve the work-life in the office by injecting an extra fun environment. 87% of workers would like their current employer to offer healthier workplace benefits, with options ranging from wellness rooms, company fitness benefits, sit-stands, healthy lunch options and ergonomic seating.

When employees feel valued and appreciated, it automatically creates a happier workplace, and they want to stick around longer!

Therefore, spending some extra cash in your extra amenities will increase your business’s productivity, efficiency, and positive word-of-mouth.

7. Expensive Isn’t Always The Answer

Beyond price, we look for a few primary qualities in office furniture: comfort, style, functionality, and durability. But when making a purchase, we compromise at least one or two of those qualities in place of another. For example, sometimes, the most durable office chair may not be the prettiest to look at. Similarly, a high-end office chair will provide style and comfort but could lack functionality.

Therefore, instead of spending a lot of money on office furniture to fulfil all those mentioned characteristics, focus on what traits you need the most. Every office space is unique and caters to each occupant differently. You can opt for style and trend pieces if your business works in a creative field that doesn’t require much desk work or ergonomic furniture for employees that invest a long time in desk work.

Make sure you invest your money in the right furniture pieces that satisfy your employee’s needs and keep your wallet happy. If you’re not sure what type of furniture you require, it is always best to contact a professional.

Final Thoughts

Office furniture is notoriously known for being mundane and dull, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Buying office furniture takes extra effort, and a lot more goes than just purchasing an item. You can mix and match your furniture with classic pieces and ergonomically designed furniture to create a sophisticated look. Indeed, furniture makes your office look stylish yet functional, but you can also add essential office accessories. With your furniture in place along with the necessary accessories, makes your office complete. Therefore, a good image of the business will attract more customers and increase the company’s goodwill.
There are many reasons to choose the right furniture for your office. If you’re not sure where to start, Direct Office can help you make an informed decision. We have a comprehensive collection of ergonomic chairs and desks, office accessories, office workstations, and much more. Our experienced sales team can also walk you through various office fit-out ideas. Whether it’s design, style or layout recommendation, we’re here to help!

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