Why Office Furniture Material Makes a Difference


When it comes to buying office furniture, you’ll need to balance a number of different concerns. There’s comfort, of course – nobody wants to be working or sitting in the waiting room on uncomfortable chairs – but you also need to take into account the need for office furniture to last a long time and constant use. That’s why the best material for corporate office furniture greatly depends on your field, the way you’re planning on using the furniture, and how you want to balance the concerns of comfort, use, and durability. Here are some of the different materials used to make corporate office furniture and some of their advantages and disadvantages.


While most corporate office material won’t be made completely of metal, a massive number will use metal as a solid base for their other materials and components. The most common metals that are used are steel and aluminum. Steel is solid and will last perhaps the longest of any material, but it can also be very heavy and, therefore, not a good option if you anticipate needing to move around your office furniture regularly. Aluminum is lighter, but it is more prone to dents and other types of wear. If you go with metal as a component material, you’ll have to weigh whether you want the convenience of aluminum or the dependability of steel.


Wood is another material commonly used in office furniture that can vary wildly in quality and usage. One of the greatest draws of wood is the aesthetic – solid hardwood furniture is available in a variety of attractive finishes, and cheaper plywoods and wood veneers give the appearance of hardwood without the attendant cost. One of the biggest drawbacks with wood is how vast the gulf is between high-end and lower-end options. While high-end hardwood office furniture is built to last a lifetime, cheaper options are prone to stress cracks and splintering that greatly reduce the lifespan of the piece. High-end wood furniture is great for executive offices or meeting rooms, but the lower-end options are better to avoid.


Laminate is a great option for offices that are looking for long-lasting, quality office furniture on a budget. It is also a highly versatile material, and there are many options that will allow your office to buy unique finishes, colors, and styles of office furniture. Laminate tends to be equally functional and aesthetically pleasing, and it offers significant durability at a lower cost than wood or metal. One big disadvantage is that it is prone to scratches, so in a high-traffic waiting room your laminate furniture may not look new for long.


In a similar vein to laminate, plastic furniture is another budget option that offers a wide variety of styles and a good amount of durability. Many offices that require a large amount of furniture will go with plastic because of its low cost and dependable aesthetic and structural qualities. There is one big disadvantage, however. Plastics tend to be significantly less durable than metal, high-end wood, and laminate office furniture. Of course, if you know your office furniture won’t be under a large amount of stress or if you’re willing to replace the furniture every 5-7 years, plastic can be a great option, but those looking for more durability should go with another option.

Soft Materials

Of course, many types of corporate office furniture have soft materials as a component for added comfort and style. The most common types of soft materials are mesh, felt, and upholstery. Mesh is a great option for furniture that needs to provide exceptional back and body support, but it tends to be less aesthetically pleasing. Upholstery comes in all levels of cushioning weight and a multitude of textile options, so it will provide you with flexibility when looking for office furniture, but it tends not to be as good for long stints at a desk as mesh. Felt is less common in furniture, but it can be used as a component in upholstered options and in noise reduction panels.

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