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Office Furniture that Doesn’t Break the Bank.. or Cost You Quality

Cheap or affordable? Do they mean the same thing?  In some cases, yes.  A drastically lower price, may very well mean that you are sacrificing quality.  Remember what your mama told you, ‘You get what you pay for’.  And when it comes to office furniture, this too can be the case.

So, is it possible to get quality office furniture, without breaking the bank? Absolutely.  There are a number of solutions to find what is right for your office space and budget, while still granting you style and comfort.

First, take a look at where your furniture is made.  Are you looking at furniture that is manufactured here in the United States or are you looking at imported products?  There are pros and cons to buying from each, but which one gives you what you are truly looking for?

When it comes to imported versus US made office furniture, decades have shown that US made office furniture has a higher initial price tag. Those decades have also shown that US made is higher quality; higher quality means a longer life span and lower operating costs in terms of replacing broken or worn-out office furniture. Along with time and productivity lost.  Furniture manufacturers that are locally based are more likely to have better materials and craftsmanship, which results in a much higher quality office furniture, than overseas producers. Additionally, warranties are better, covering any issues down the road.

In recent years, there has been a switch in purchasing though.  The playing field is beginning to even itself out.  With the internet giving buyers more readily available access to furniture companies globally, it seems as though Americans are purchasing more imported furniture items, but is this the route to go?

Cheaper Office Furniture Will Cost You

An imported office chair will last a couple of years, depending on the materials it is made from, before needing to be replaced. However, the Herman Miller Aeron Office Chair holds a warranty of 12 years, with most lasting well past that.  The average American adult works for 50 years over the course of their lifetime.  That means an average task chair may need to be replaced many times, compared to quality office chairs, like the Aeron chair.

While upfront costs may be more in a higher end chair, you should also consider shipping and assembly.  Many times, these costs are not included in the price of a lower end chair and will definitely impact the final cost.  Typically, low-budget chairs are shipped and arrive in multiple pieces, requiring you, as the buyer, to spend time assembling furniture, which would otherwise come to you fully assembled.  You also risk damage in transport, as opposed to higher end manufacturers that send their chairs assembled with additional packaging to ensure a damage-free product.

But not all costs come in the form on dollar bills.  The real cost of purchasing a low end chair comes in the form of comfort, workplace productivity and worker health. Import chairs, many times, come straight from a catalog, giving you very few, if any, options for your specific wants and needs. High end office task chairs are more customizable, giving you the ability to get a chair that works for you.  This includes fabrics, armrests, adjustable lumbar support, mechanisms for better posture and many others.

Take Herman Miller for example, The Aeron Chair collection comes with nine customizable features, a total of 27 options.

  1. Chair Size: Small, Medium and Large
  2. Tilt: Standard, Tilt Limiter, and Tilt Limiter with Seat Angle Adjustment
  3. Arms: No Arms, Stationary Arms, Height-Adjustable Arms, Adjustable Arms, and Fully Adjustable Arms
  4. Armpads: Standard and Leather
  5. Back Support: Zonal Back Support, PostureFit Support, Adjustable Lumbar Support, and Adjustable PostureFit Support
  6. Frame Finish: Graphite, Carbon, and Mineral
  7. Chassis Finish: Graphite and Polished Aluminum
  8. Base Finish: Graphite and Polish Aluminum
  9. Casters: 2.5 inch Standard Carpet, 2.5 inch Standard Hard Floor or Carpet, and 2.5 inch Hard Floor or Carpet Roll-Away Resistant with Quiet Roll Technology

Cost Efficient Home and Office Furniture

Some offices may not necessarily be looking to spend a fortune on high end furniture for a number of reasons. Maybe they are a startup, with a very small budget to work on, or maybe their current budget just allows for ‘so much’ in the ‘right now’. Most startup companies are just glad to have computers and employees, so furniture is low on their list of priorities.  However, as that company grows with more employees, so do their needs.  They often find themselves piecing together random tables and chairs from different vendors that are affordable, but eventually realizing they need an upgrade.  They have a need to brand themselves and be a more cohesive workplace.  That’s where Freedom Interiors comes in.

Kansas City’s Freedom Interiors can tailor furniture to any office space, with any budget.  They represent companies that range in price, design, and style.  There are high-end companies like Herman Miller, which can put an Aeron chair in your office space, but also work with other companies within the United States that combine efficiencies in manufacturing and low overheard.  This gives a customer a high-end look, with a low end budget.

Fountain Mortgage, a small mortgage company located in Prairie Village, Kansas with around 50 employees, utilized this option.  When their office overhaul required very specific needs, principal Carol Espinosa and Interior Design/Customer Account Manager Alicia Pellen, of Freedom Interiors, made their space work for them. They found furniture solutions through Friant and HAY About A Chair that were extremely cost effective without costing quality or style.  Freedom Interiors furnished 32 work stations, seven private offices, one six person office space, an overflow office area, a nursing and phone booth, a marketing storage area and a seating area.

The Friant Novo Panel System was used to provide privacy partitions between the workstations.  This segmented and simple solution has clean lines and sharp angles, but allows you to mix and match fabrics and materials in a pre-assembled panel. Novo prides itself on an easy installation process due to its magnetic bases and cantilever worksurface supports.  These systems can also be reconfigured to fit the needs of the office as it changes.

The private offices were fitted with the Friant Dash workspace solutions. This modern, contemporary laminate workspace is functional and flexible.  This, too, has the option to mix and match with over 2000 configurations.  This allowed Fountain Mortgage to create a workspace tailored to their exact wants and needs.

The entertainment/café area was furnished with eight HAY About a Chairs, that offers 32 color and upholstery options to choose from.  The breakroom was home to six HAY About a Stool, bar height chairs that also offers 32 color and upholstery options, along with height and leg finish options.

So, no, affordable does not have to mean cheap.  There are certainly those option available to furniture buyers everywhere, but eventually that bargain will catch up with you, whether it is in the form of back pain or the pain of replacing furniture pieces.  You may save upfront costs, but long-term businesses must make the realization that office furniture is an investment that will give you the greatest return.