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Is Commercial Grade Furniture Worth It?

Decisions, decisions.

Your blank slate of an office is in need of furniture, but your well-defined budget marks the first page in your design playbook.

You've heard commercial grade furniture will stand the test of time, but more affordable residential furniture sure does appeal to your budget.

Is there a happy medium between the two options?

Our Connecting Elements design team has put together this guide to help you decide when to save with residential furniture and when to spring for commercial grade furniture options.

Commercial grade vs. residential furniture

When you start looking for furniture to fit your business’ needs, you’ll be faced with choices in quality, quantity, pricing, design and brands. Whether you go with commercial grade furnishings or choose furniture intended for residential use, your choice will impact your budget and your future commercial interior design needs.

Commercial grade furniture

commercial furniture

Most commercial grade furniture is sold in bulk since the expectation is that you’re buying furniture for an entire office, complete with desks, conference tables, chairs, shelving and other storage solutions for all of your employees.

Buying commercial grade furniture boasts several benefits:

  • Recommended for business use and can withstand repeated use for hours, day in, day out for years by many employees
  • Sturdy, made of higher quality, more durable components — everything from the foam cushioning in chairs to the fabric upholstery to the finishes on desks and tables
  • Designed for easy maintenance and cleaning, so more likely to maintain form and function for the life of the product

While the design of commercial grade furniture is markedly less trendy than residential furniture, the neutral aesthetics of commercial furnishings are intentional. These classic pieces are meant to last a long time — a decade or more — and a lot of interior design trends come and go in that time span.

One common complaint about commercial grade furniture is the higher price tag. But like the neutral design aesthetic, the higher pricing is justified by the better quality materials and longer lifespan. Although the higher cost is a legitimate concern, you won’t have to replace commercial grade furniture as often, so you’ll save money in the long term.

Commercial furniture manufacturers make intentional design and manufacturing decisions based on their knowledge and experience with commercial interior designers and business owners.

The following are just a few of the brands that cater to your commercial grade office furnishing needs:

  • AIS
  • Global Furniture Group
  • KI
  • Jasper Group
  • ERG International
  • Paul Brayton Designs

But what about residential furniture options?

Residential furniture

Residential furniture is mostly sold by individual piece rather than in bulk, as it’s intended for homes. After all, a family probably doesn’t need 25 chairs to go around their dining room table, but a business owner may need that many seats around a conference table. 

As for design, residential pieces tend to be more current, stylish and trendy. The downside for business owners and commercial interior designers is that trends change fast, sometimes yearly and often seasonally.

On the other hand, residential furniture is usually priced lower than commercial grade furniture. Part of the reason for lower pricing is that the materials and manufacturing of residential furniture are not up to the tougher, industrial standards of commercial grade options.

Furnishing your commercial space with residential furniture means you’ll have to face a choice: redecorate every year or two — which gets expensive — or hold onto outdated furniture that might not hold up well to everyday use by dozens or hundreds of people.

A few residential furniture brands that are popular with commercial interior designers and business owners range from mass market to slightly more exclusive.

Here are a few of them:

  • CB2
  • Ikea
  • Sauder
  • West Elm

Residential and commercial furniture brands all have something to offer, depending on your unique needs when furnishing your business space.

Bottom line: what to buy where

So how does one decide which option is the best option?

Purchasing furniture for your commercial space comes down to three considerations:

  1. Your budget
  2. Your aesthetic
  3. Your use case

Residential brands are an excellent choice for temporary furniture that you’ll use as accent pieces or to furnish a space in the short term. Think less frequently-used end tables in your lobby or foyer or fun focal points in your breakroom or meditation space.

If you’re looking for furniture that will hold up to daily use in a business setting, certain pieces are worth the investment in commercial grade furniture.

Splurge on items that get a lot of use, like:

  • Desk chairs
  • Conference tables
  • Couches and chairs
  • Shelving and storage

Are you ready to find your new office furniture?

We can help you select stand-the-test-of-time pieces that can easily be adapted to accommodate changing trends. Let the experienced commercial interior design team at Connecting Elements help you through the process.

Call 877-779-3409 or fill out our online form.

 

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