Modular Office Furniture

When it comes to buying modular office furniture, the old axiom is true: You get what you pay for. Commercial grade components tend to be expensive, but usually well worth the price because of their durable construction. A series of standardized units or components that function together as a system, modular office furniture may be constructed of steel, hardwoods, or enamel-coated metals. Commercial grade systems are made to last for decades and can be reconfigured to fit several room sizes and meet changing personnel needs. Systems furnishings come in panel-mounted and freestanding designs, the most popular style being the latter. Panels form the basic structure of the system, anchoring components and framework. Depending on the configuration, systems can cost $5,000 to $8,000 per cubicle and up. But there is one price that has already been paid, the price of redemption. "But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building. Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by His own blood He entered once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us" (Hebrews 9:11-12).

Just like computers, televisions, and modern automobiles, modular office furniture has come a long way; evolving from the mundane cubicles of the 70s and 80s to the streamlined twenty-first century counterparts of today. Anyone who has worked in the job market over the last two decades will remember the old fashioned cubicles that kept employees encased in cell-like structures for greater privacy and productivity. Workers moved about a maze of steel grey walls, occasionally peering above fabric panels to converse with the "inmate" next door. Panels frequently fell down due to the fact that the screws and bolts which connected them quickly wore out and the little plastic adjustable feet which supported a considerable amount of weight never seemed to be sufficiently anchored to accommodate the panels' cumbersome weight. But today's sleeker versions of the outmoded cubicle are built to withstand hundreds of pounds of pressure without collapsing.

Modern modular office furniture are self-contained units that come with such amenities as overhead storage garages, rolling two-drawer file cabinets, interchangeable L-shaped conference corners with room for two to four coworkers, and built-in desks large enough to hold a full size desktop PC with room to spare. Components are connected to wall panels via sturdy tubular steel framing, which can expand to include additional units such as legal size horizontal file cabinets and credenzas. And while yesterday's cubicles came in a choice of beige or grey, today's modular systems can be custom ordered in a wide range of designer finishes, such as rich mahogany, ebony lacquer, teal green, and dove gray. Major office furniture manufacturers also offer coordinating accessories, such as executive and guest chairs, desk lamps, waste baskets, and desk sets.

Innovative trends in modular office furniture design prompted many commercial firms to manufacture lower priced units for residences. Individuals who operate home based businesses and families who want a dedicated room to do paperwork or work on the computer choose to purchase modular home office furniture for both looks and functionality. Today's homeowners are discriminating and don't want to settle for paying bills or doing business from a desk made out of a door atop two rickety file cabinets. Instead, residential workplace furnishings are being designed to complement decorator interiors and existing custom cabinetry. Modular home office furniture may be as sleek as commercial grade units, but most homemakers choose to match furnishings with those already in adjacent rooms. Rich cherry wood, honey maple, lustrous oak, and pickled pine are some of the finishes homeowners are selecting for personal work spaces. Celebrity interior designers offer residential workplace furnishings in simulated finishes priced below commercial modular units. But while residential components are attractively appointed, they may not last as long as pricier commercial grade systems. Modular home systems' components may have pressboard construction with painted or simulated veneers, which mimic pricier natural wood finishes. Less expensive units are more affordable for the average residential workplace and are not expected to get the wear and tear of commercial systems.

While modular home office furniture can be readily purchased unassembled at office supply stores, some homeowners prefer to use more durable solid wood and wood veneer kitchen and bath cabinetry configured for residential workplace use. Home improvement stores carry a wide selection of cabinetry in rich finishes that can be configured for residential work spaces. In-house kitchen and bath designers can help customers configure a custom designed workplace using in-stock or custom ordered pieces which are functional and complement existing interiors. Pre-assembled and unassembled cabinets can be purchased in individual units by the homeowner and adapted for office use. Individuals may want to select solid surface or Formica countertops to place over wood cabinetry in lieu of purchasing a desk unit. Stone countertops are also a gorgeous choice for a more upscale and enduring look.

Whether customers are in the market for commercial grade furnishings or modular home office furniture, the key is to purchase the best quality that the budget will allow. Working within a specific budget will allow space planners to make the best recommendation for business and residential needs. Business owners should purchase systems which allow for expansion and reconfigurations when the enterprise grows or adds employees. While homeowners may not be concerned with expanding units, they will want to buy durable, quality pieces that are coordinated with existing interiors and can withstand every day usage. Both business owners and homemakers should purchase systems from a single manufacturer or brand in case additional pieces are needed in the future. Manufacturers should warrant against defects; and higher priced furnishings should have replacement clauses. Buyers should also buy modular furnishings that can be easily adapted for use in other offices or rooms of a home to get the greatest mileage from dollars well spent.

Commercial Office Furniture

When selecting commercial office furniture, there are many factors that office designers will want to keep in mind. With so much time spent in work surroundings, it is important to have an environment that is conducive to striving for company goals. So, when choosing different styles of articles, buyers and decorators working with professional spaces can have fun with a commercial project, but may be challenged to inspire a diverse group of people, provide a professional atmosphere, and extend a few creature comforts at the same time. A good amount of thought and various considerations should be invested into the entire scheme of furnishing an office. The results can be productivity on employees' parts, enjoyable work atmospheres, and even health benefits. The following suggestions can help anyone looking into purchasing chairs, desks, and various other business pieces get the most mileage out of money spent on commercial office furniture.

There are certain environments that increase productivity. When people are inspired, their creative output increases and employees enjoy being surrounded by inspirational things. Of course, what inspires one, may not necessarily inspire another. There are hundreds of ways to develop environments that put people at ease, yet keep energy levels high. Also, the message of an entire business needs to be portrayed through the company decor. Contemporary office furniture speaks professionalism, with sharp eyes for details. Many large business complexes choose the sleek lines and basic colors of contemporary office furniture to create a professional and expedient climate. A doctor's or dentist's office may want to consider a less striking style and use chairs with cozy fabrics and put soothing colors on the walls. How a company wants to motivate employees and clients should be carried through to all office furniture purchases.

When putting a professional space together, the pieces to fill up that space are indeed, important decisions. Will the business area include seating for clients? Do several people need to share the same space? How large do desks need to be? Is there a storage problem? Typical pieces, such as desks and chairs may certainly be considered, but there are a variety of other options that can be functional and inspirational, as well. Tables may serve as desks, with cubicles and cubby holes for storage. Storage areas do not have to be metal cabinets, but can be large entertainment centers or trunks and cabinets. Seating for customers or clients may be chairs from a contemporary office furniture selection, sofas found through commercial office furniture providers, or even home-made benches against a wall. But, a desk chair should be a chair that sits comfortably and protects employees from having to strain any part of their body by reaching or sitting incorrectly. Protecting an employee's health should be a primary objective. Lighting is another important factor that should be addressed when designing business spaces. Adequate lighting that will not be harsh on an employees eyes should be sought. There are professional lighting consultants that can help with lighting fixture arrangements and wattage output considerations.

Many entrepreneurs are working from home and need to consider commercial office furniture for their home offices. When filling smaller rooms with needed business furniture, smaller scale pieces should be kept in mind. Again, with a little creative thinking, work at home professionals may find that out of the ordinary tables and chairs make great replacements for the standard contemporary office furniture used in most businesses. Crates, barrels, and interesting wall cabinets can double as storage, surface top, and sitting needs. Open bookshelves can serve as storage and display areas with baskets on the bookshelf which can conceal office supplies.

The average weekly work hours for employees is increasing, and professionals find that they spend many hours in their place of business. Having areas where workers may retreat for breaks and relax should be a consideration. God's Word is specific about the need for rest and retreating. Caring managers and company owners should provide their employees with an environment that gives each the opportunity to not only produce, but spend time in private rejuvenation, as well. Christ models this truth throughout the New Testament. He often withdrew to private places to speak with His father and to receive a spirit of revival. "But so much more went there a fame abroad of him: and great multitudes came together to hear, and to be healed by him of their infirmities. And he withdrew himself into the wilderness and prayed." (Luke 5:15-16)

There are many resources for finding commercial office furniture. Buyers can begin a search for suppliers online through the Internet. There may even be sources that provide contemporary office furniture and other styles at wholesale prices. It will be a good idea to first create a budget and then begin the search for needed items. And remember, some of the most interesting pieces may be found in the most unexpected places. Take time and give the project thought and employee satisfaction consideration.

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