Buying Office Furniture


Purchasing office furniture requires many practical considerations. The safety and comfort of your employees and your guests must be factored into every decision. By avoiding a few commonly made mistakes, you can help ensure that the furniture you select will yield improved employee satisfaction, productivity and profits for your business.

Mistake 1- Buying Office Furniture without a Master Plan

Q: “Why do you need an office furniture master plan?”

A: The natural tendency is often for companies to utilize their existing furniture and make-do with orphan pieces that are available at that time. This can prove to be sufficient in the short term, but overtime, the result is an un-organized, inefficient work environment. Office furniture is a tool that can create a comfortable and productive workspace if planned carefully.

In the long run, the benefit will far outweigh the cost of purchasing new furniture. Offices that work well have components that all relate properly to each other and to the shape of the room. It takes a master plan to get them all to work together. This is not to say that you must buy all the furniture at once, but you should have a master plan to guide your purchases.

Mistake 2- Buying Furniture Based on Price Instead of Quality

Q: “How do you equate quality and price?”

A: It’s only fair to want to save your hard-earned dollars; but you are not saving money when you have to replace inexpensive office furniture because it is not durable and cannot sustain the test of time. Despite the attractive pricing, when purchasing furniture, quality is the number one key to look for in the products. Paying more now can result in longevity and solidly built products.

Take a chair for example. A chair that’s designed for occasional use will generally cost less than one that’s designed to withstand heavy wear and tear. It may be tempting to purchase the lower-priced chair, but this could be false economy as repairs and replacements could easily negate any initial savings and could even make the product more costly over time.

Mistake 3- Buying Style Over Function

Q: “Why balance function and style?”

A: It is not unheard of for people to get rid of expensive, beautiful, well-built executive furniture because it simply is not functional. There is an intimate working relationship between the human body and the keyboard, mouse, monitor and reference materials when doing computer work.

In a well-designed computer workstation, the keyboard, chair and even the monitor are adjustable, thus eliminating neck and back strain. The key to today’s great office is balancing style and function.


Mistake 4- Buying Office Furniture without Considering Custom Options

Q: “How can I maximize my space?”

A: Sometimes the best use of space requires custom furniture solutions. The requirements to turn each room into a well designed, ergonomic work spaces are different. A room may be too narrow or too long for standard sized components. When considering storage options in a small room, use the height of the room, therefore building storage up, to best use the limited floor space.

Custom furniture solutions need not be expensive. It is true that most off-the-shelf office furniture is designed to fit the size of particleboard sheets stocked in a factory.

Therefore, the more pieces of furniture that can be cut from a sheet, the more economical the production process. That being said, the incremental cost for custom office furniture does not need to be as daunting as one may think. It is an option worth exploring.

Mistake 5- Investing in Built-In Office Furniture

Q: “Is built-in office furniture a good investment?”

A: Although it may seem like a good option, built-in office furniture has several disadvantages, including loss of flexibility within the room and loss of ability to switch the furniture to another location. Once you add built-in furniture you cannot re-arrange it should you decide to face the door instead of the corner or want to add an additional computer area.

In the case of home offices, at the time of selling your home, a built-in office may not appeal to a buyer either because of style or how they may chose to use the room. Financial newspapers have noted a built-in home office could result in up to a 10% decrease in your home’s value.

On the other hand, freestanding modular office furniture allows you to make changes, move the furniture to another room, and take it with you when you sell.

Mistake 6- Not Considering Employee Comfort

Q: “Why is employee comfort important?”

A: Employee comfort lends itself to creating a positive corporate culture. Purchasing the right office furniture for your employees is an opportunity to remind them of how much they are valued. Ergonomic design is critical to the comfort and productivity of your workforce. Simply put, comfort = productivity.

Contoured seats, lumbar supports, adjustable seats and armrests are important features and can help minimize work-related injuries and lost workdays. The overall effect may be a reduction in company costs.

Mistake 7- Not Buying with Future Growth in Mind

Q: “Why consider future growth before buying furniture?”

A: Whether purchasing office furniture for a new business or adding furniture due to expansion, consider how every piece will fit into your current and future environment. Explore variations of your growth plan to ascertain what may be required long term. Even if the budget allows only for a few chairs and desks and the time isn’t right for the purchase of a big conference table just yet.


Here are a few suggestions:

Consider How Furniture will Adapt to Technology

Technology has changed drastically over the last 10 years. In today’s offices, desks need space and outlets for laptops, monitors, printers, mobile phone chargers, etc. When making your purchase, it’s important to consider what space and storage requirements may be needed both immediately and in a few years from now.

Keep your Workspace Flexible

Choosing office furniture that is easily moved and reconfigured as the need arises is a good idea. This will offer flexibility for floor plan changes as and when necessary. In some offices, employers are electing to choose desks on castors and electrical outlets on the floor. This encourages employees to pair up on projects and work as a team.

Consider the Pros and Cons of your Existing Furniture

It may be helpful to solicit input from staff members who use the furniture on a daily basis. You may learn of chairs which are difficult to adjust or that your receptionist would benefit from a desk with an ergonomic keyboard tray.

Choose Timeless Style

The best long-term value is often achieved by choosing furniture that has a simple, yet appealing design. By purchasing furniture with a timeless appearance, the addition of complementary pieces as your company grows will be a simpler task.

Mistake 8- Not Asking the Right Questions when Considering Used Office Furniture

Q: “What questions should I ask when considering used office furniture?”

A: Purchasing used furniture has some benefits, recycling and cost is always the top factors. But you could have some long term pitfalls if you don't ask the right questions.

If you are seeking systems or case goods furniture, make sure that the manufacturer/dealer explains how old the furniture is, if parts are still available for reconfiguration and/or addition, and what changes have been made (old vs. new) in terms of technology and electrical components.


In addition, ask about outdated panel fabrics, if they need to be replaced in the near future as well as wood grains/finishes/laminates to match when adding old pieces with new.



Buying new office furniture can transform your workspace, but be sure to have a plan and consider quality, function, custom options and flexibility.


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