Tips for buying furniture

Buying office furniture can be expensive. Very often you’re going to be buying something that you’re likely to use for many years, and making a poor choice can make it even more so.
These tips will help you make better informed decisions and help you avoid making costly mistakes.

Whether you’re buying for yourself or for your workplace can influence your choices, but some issues fundamentally apply.

Before you buy, do an audit of existing items and check to see what is already working.

Do you REALLY need to purchase something new, or does your existing furniture/equipment do the job adequately already?

Each situation is different – for instance, you may be:

  • Taking on more staff
  • Moving into a new office space
  • Renovating your existing premises and changing the look
  • Replacing worn out or unsuitable furniture for an individual employee

Depending on your circumstances, you may not need to provide new furniture for everyone. Taking stock of what you already have makes sense and saves you money.

Do you have any staff members who have chairs that have been bought specifically for them because of back issues or body size/height? If so, obviously these need to be kept.

Having identified your requirements, assess your options as below, and shop around accordingly.

Again, each situation is different; however, if you want to make the most of your budget, there are various ways to approach your purchase.

Budgets are often limited, particularly after a whole office fit out. The most expensive item may not necessarily be the best for your needs.

Consider how long will it be before you get to replace these items again (what is the projected lifespan).

Consider if you can spend a little bit more on some items if they’re more likely to hold their resale value (makes sense should you wish to on-sell).

You’re unlikely to want to be replacing big ticket items regularly, so make sure get some professional advice on the ergonomic requirements for your furniture in relation to your people (the end users).

Fit out companies may not have this expertise within their own staff, but they may be able to refer you to someone suitable. While this may seem like an additional expense when you’re outlaying big money, it pays dividends in the very short term.

If yours is a small workplace, talk to people individually. Otherwise, run a quick survey to identify people’s requirements and/or preferences. Either way, ask the following types of questions:

  1. Does your existing chair work, ie is it comfortable for you, and would you prefer to keep it?
  2. If you had an option of a sit stand desk, would you alternate regularly between sitting and standing? Moving regularly between sitting and standing is important to reduce static sitting positions and increased muscle tension.

iii. Do you need a quieter space for phone calls if your calls are of a confidential or sensitive nature? (If you are considering buying acoustic panels or booths)

Finally keep an up to date inventory of your furniture/equipment

It’s useful to keep stock of your items, for example, you may have some deeper seated chair models specifically for taller staff members. If a person leaves who is using one of these chair, often someone else without that particular need grabs it, simply because they like the look (or functionality) of it. However, it’s often the wrong size for them, and so this in itself not only deprives you of a specialised chair, but also, can be harmful for their posture.

Take care of your staff

Make sure that people with particular requirements have what they need first.

Consider surprising people, once you have the reception area looking good, start in the back room!

  1. If you have more items to buy than money to spend, look at a staging plan to replace as older items wear out.
  2. How many items do you require? You may be eligible for a discount if buying in bulk, always ask.
  3. Do they need to match your Brand ID/colours?
  4. Do they need to be consistently the same model?
  5. Are you restricted to a preferred supplier/s or vendor/s?Ask them about the variety of furniture options available, styles, brands, fabric colours, guarantees, sustainability (eg. Buro are 90% recyclable, AFRDI accredited)