What is the Difference Between Commercial and Residential Furniture?


Commercial office furniture vs residential furniture

A lot of people assume that furniture is furniture; commercial and residential furniture is all the same. Chances are, if you’re reading this, you are one of those people.

No worries, you are not alone.

After all, the average person looks at a desk and sees a desk. If you take a desk from an office and put it in your home, it doesn’t suddenly stop being a desk.

However, there are some critical differences between office and residential furniture that you should consider.

If you are thinking about outfitting a new office or upgrading the furniture in your existing office, you should be aware of these important distinctions to make the best choice for your business.

Office Furniture That’s Built to Last

When you go furniture shopping for your home, you are buying for your own needs. The money you spend comes out of your own pocket, and it stands to reason that you will treat the furniture with respect, to ensure your investment lasts a long time.

Office furniture does not get to enjoy the same luxurious lifestyle as residential furniture. It’s like comparing your commuter car to a long haul truck. Office furniture has to endure some hard miles.

Depending on the traffic in your office, the furniture may see a lot more use than furniture at your home. A waiting area chair may have someone sitting on it at all times throughout the day while your recliner in your living room is reserved for Saturday night hockey.

It’s also difficult to say who will be using office furniture at any given time. People of all different sizes and weight will be using your furniture, and it has to be up to the task.

Finally, office furniture has to be built to endure a certain level of abuse. People will come and go all day with little care for your furniture. This makes office furniture more prone to punctures and tears, so the fabric used needs to be chosen accordingly.

The Right Threads for the Job

Speaking of fabric, there are certain fabrics used for office furniture that you may not find commonly used in residential furniture.

When you choose residential furniture, you have an idea of how it will be used. If you have pets that like to sleep on the couch, then you probably won’t choose a microfiber material that traps hair and requires frequent cleaning.

You don’t have the same luxury when choosing office furniture.

It is much more difficult to predict the kind of treatment some pieces of furniture will experience throughout the day. For this reason, office furniture tends to be built with fabrics that are easy to clean and resistant to tearing as well as stains.

In addition to using more robust fabrics, office furniture will often be treated to provide additional protection against stains, odours, and damage.

Regulatory and Code Considerations

Your home is your home, and you know if your family has unique needs. With that knowledge, you can buy furniture accordingly for the people that will be using it.

In an office environment, you have to consider every potential person that could be using that furniture. This could include people with various heights and weights to people who suffer from disabilities. In some places, it may even be the law that furniture has to be accessible for people who may have issues with mobility.

Even if it is not mandated that your office furniture is purchased with accessibility in mind, it is a good business practice to consider.

In addition to accessibility, office furniture is subject to additional workplace safety regulations that you do not have to consider when purchasing for your home. These regulations can present challenges and potential fines for businesses who do not comply.

For example, the Canada Labour Code requires that employers ensure an employees workspace “meet prescribed ergonomic standards”.  As this is a rather vague definition, it can be useful to have an occupational therapist, licensed ergonomist or another professional with ergonomic training evaluate your space.

Get the Right Furniture for Your Business

If all of these considerations seem like a lot to think about; don’t worry. When looking for the right office furniture in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick or PEI, you can trust Office Interiors to help you from beginning to end.

Our expert sales staff understands the unique needs of businesses shopping for furniture. We have a varied and stylish selection at different price points to best suit your organization.  Most importantly, we will work with your budget to ensure that your office furniture doesn’t put a strain on your operation.

From seating and desks to specialized furniture for healthcare businesses; put your trust in the Maritimes’ top office furniture provider.

Want to continue learning about office furniture?  We wrote a brief guide on the latest office furniture trends including Sit-to-stand solutions, office seating ergonomics and more check it out today!

Cory Porteous
Marketing Manager
Office Interiors

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