Investing in Commercial Furniture
Bargain DOES NOT Equal Value
Let’s face it, when we see chairs for sale on Amazon or at Costco for $99, it’s difficult to rationalize paying more for what appears to be the same item elsewhere. While bargains may work as a quick fix, they can be disappointing and even dangerous when used in public spaces.
RESIST the temptation to put that “cheap-o” chair in your cart, and consider the facts:
- Warranties: “Throw Away” furniture is NOT a sustainable solution. Purchase from a dealership that offers some form of warranty, even if limited, to protect your investment. Dealers who supply commercial seating are likely to have a connection with a furniture medic or upholstery fixer-upper who can potentially repair/replace parts.
- Quality Foam: The industry standard for residential foam is 1.8 lbs, which is low on the density scale and often results in visible sagging and crushing within 2 years. Commercial manufacturers use foam typically in the 2.5 lbs density range, which results in a more supportive, durable seat. They also offer multiple foam upgrades and options such as a moisture-barrier wrap to prevent spills/liquids from penetrating the foam.
- Fire Codes: There are no proper certifications available at Acme Furniture Palace that will meet the standards of your fire marshal. Commercial manufacturers will supply the flame-retardant components (and paperwork) necessary to meet applicable state/local codes.
- Frame Strength & Construction: Residential frames are only required to hold up to 150 lbs. Commercial manufacturers use specialty weight tests to determine their strength. Typically the minimum capacity is 250 lbs, but can be engineered to meet 350-1000 lbs ratings. In addition, bargain pieces may have glued or stapled joints, where commercially manufactured products will use screws, dowels, and/or dovetail joinery for better stability. Those details may not seem important until a chair collapses, resulting in an injury or potential lawsuit which could have been avoided.
- Dimensions: For maximum user comfort-, especially for seniors and those with limited mobility, look for seat heights between 18″-19.5″, seat depths of 18″-20″, and arm heights of 24″-26″. Many residential chairs have low, deep seats which may be great for your Netflix binge, but not ideal for getting up & out of the chair with ease.
- Upholstery: You’re typically stuck with whatever fabric is sewn onto the piece you bought online/in-store. Commercial manufacturers offer “C.O.M.”, Customer’s Own Material options. This allows the consumer to utilize specialty, commercial-grade upholstery engineered to protect & maintain the furniture. Examples include protective treatments that resist stains, moisture, fading, anti-microbial, and are bleach cleanable.
Within healthcare & senior living communities, it is important to seek the assistance of a commercial furniture dealer, such as CFS, to ensure a safe and successful outcome. CFS designers will be able to guide you through the process by recommending upholstery, style/function, and even let you try out some sample chairs. Let us lead you in your furniture quest today!