Choosing office furniture can be a daunting task – here we are going to discuss some of the options available and explain the different styles you can buy (as well as our favourites) to help you make the right choice.
Let’s Start with Office Desks
The first thing you think of when you need office furniture is desks. Desks are probably the most important thing in an office, after all, this is where the hard work will be undertaken! You need to establish what budget you have to spend on the office furniture and this will dictate what choices you have. For example, if you have a very low budget and want the office furnished as cheaply as possible, then your choice will be fairly limited, unless you opt to have second hand or refurbished office desks. Office furniture is a long-term investment and if you are going to have visitors or clients to your office, it is important to portray a good image. Office desks come in three main leg styles – cantilever leg, panel end or an inverted “U” shaped leg which is often found in more modern, bench style desks. Next, you need to choose a material – probably the most robust material is MFC (melamine faced chipboard) which is heat, scratch and stain resistant. If you opt to go for solid wood or a wood veneer (which is much more expensive), you need to be more careful about sitting hot coffee cups or scratching the wood veneer with office tools. Glass is another option which is proving very popular and this comes in a variety of finishes from black glass, white glass to various coloured glass to match your office decor.
Once you have decided on a style of desk, you need to consider how much space to allow each member of staff and also how big an area you have available to seat your staff, while allowing space for future expansion. Do you want your staff to be seated together or separately? To save space, bench desks or cluster desks are a good idea but noise can be an issue if the staff are on the telephone for much of the day, although fitting desk screens can reduce this somewhat and give the illusion of separating the desks.
Colour is an important choice – ask the company quoting your office desks to supply some 3D renders or images so you can visualise what the desks will look like in location. The lighter the colour of desks, the more spacious the room will look, while dark furniture will close the room in. Also consider what colour and type of flooring is in the office – blue carpets, although very popular, may limit your choice of furniture – trendy white and chrome desks just don’t look their best against blue carpet tiles! It is probably a good idea to ask for wood samples to be sent so you can match the office desks against your planned colour scheme for the office.
Make sure you order the desks in plenty of time – although many desks are available on a quick delivery, if you are ordering a more expensive or made-to-order range these can often take several weeks to be manufactured and delivered. The last thing to check out is the reputation of the company you purchase from – make sure they are reputable with good customer feedback or customer reviews. And it’s always worth asking for a discount if you are ordering in bulk! If you don’t ask, you won’t get! And if the office furniture you really want is outwith your budget, you can consider leasing the goods – there are also tax advantages to consider if you do choose this option.
(Yes, they’re really necessary!)
Okay, so you’ve chosen the office desks, now you need to spend some time thinking about office seating. We all know that you can get a basic office chair pretty cheap – but at what cost to your staff? Office chairs are the most important piece of office furniture you will purchase – a good office chair can mean the difference between work days lost due to back pain and a straight “A” attendance record. What should you look for in an office chair? Well, the two most important things are adjustability and support. You should choose office chairs which can be adjusted to suit the user – the height of the seat, angle of the backrest, even the arm rest height – in other words, no two people are the same, therefore the office seating must be adjustable to fit the needs of your staff. Support is the next most important point – good lumbar support is essential to reduce or eliminate potential back problems. Some office chairs offer a scluptured backrest, separate lumbar support or even a pump-up lumbar support. Castors are normally a prerequisite to allow the user to move freely while seated at the desk, but other castor options are available including brake loaded, brake unloaded and soft tyre castors suitable for wooden floors. The office chairs you choose should carry a good guarantee and fabrics and foam should meet current UK fire regulations. It is always a good idea to request a demonstration of the chair before you purchase – many good companies offer this service, especially if you are purchasing more than one chair. Office chairs are available in many styles and materials – fabrics, mesh or leather – the options are endless and you can be sure to find one to suit your office decor. Spend as much as you can afford on an office chair – after all, you will be spending many hours each day on it for several years to come!
(every office needs them, even if you are paperless!)
Every office needs some filing cabinets. Even in a paperless society, there are always certain bills or official documents which come through the post and need to be filed safely for years to come. Filing cabinets come in various styles – you can choose a traditional vertical filing cabinet where the drawers stack on top of each other or go for a more contemporary low lateral filing cabinet where the files are in rows the full length of the drawer. Space should be considered before deciding which type to choose – lateral filing cabinets generally take up more floor space while vertical filing cabinets have a much smaller footprint.
You could also opt for a combination unit where the top half is a bookcase or cupboard and the bottom half takes filing drawers. Traditionally, metal filing cabinets came in limited colour options – grey or coffee/cream were the most popular. But nowadays, steel filing cabinets can be ordered in any colour – pink, sky blue or ten different shades of white, to match existing furniture or fittings. Another option would be a tambour cupboard – you may not be familiar with the term, but these are basically office cabinets with a steel roller door (I am sure you will have spotted them before!) You can have roll-out suspended filing systems fitted or whatever you choose – the internal accessories are numerous, you just choose what suits your needs.
With the advancement of technology, it is now possible to have your company logo or favourite photograph printed onto the tambour roller door. When I learned this fact, my brain was working overtime thinking of all the possibilities – aquariums, wall art, advertising products – anything’s possible! So filing cabinets don’t necessarily need to be boring and hidden out of the way – make them a centrepiece in your office by using funky colours, outlandish designs or pieces of art – it will certainly get everyone talking and make their visit more memorable.
Open, Closed or with Glass Doors
If you have a lot of files or books to store, a bookcase makes the ideal choice. Bookcases are an excellent choice where space is limited as the wall can be optimised as well as the floor space. They come in all shapes and sizes and you can choose one with or without doors (wooden or glass) and decide whether you need a lock fitted. You are always better to get the largest bookcase you can afford – even if you think you will not use all the shelf space immediately, the empty shelves can be used to display an ornament or a plant. Bookcases make great display cabinets!