SMC Consulting: How design firms add certainty, cost efficiency to office furniture selection

So the construction of your new office is nearly done and you’re getting ready to move in. Have you considered how you’ll populate your space with furniture, what type it will be and where you’ll purchase it?

“Practicality and well-being should be considered first when selecting office furniture,” says Kelly Colamarino, interior designer at SMC Consulting, LLC. “We all want our offices to look cool, but aesthetics should be accompanied by functionality. Choosing the right furniture for your office will increase productivity, employee satisfaction and company profits.”

Smart Business spoke with Colamarino about selecting furniture for your office space — from comfort and aesthetics to styles and finishes, and even where to go for the best prices and service.

What’s involved in the furniture selection process?

The first step in selecting furniture for your office is to hire a design firm to do programming on your current employees’ needs. Programming includes evaluating your existing furniture to find out what is working and what isn’t. It also involves assessing the way your employees and company groups work — whether they need an open, collaborative space to work together or closed spaces for privacy. This will help determine what type of furniture will work best in your office.

The next step is to select a furniture style. A design firm can help to decide if traditional, modern or transitional furniture is best for your office. The firm also will make sure to select finishes that relate well to the atmosphere and functionality of your office. Careful selection of fabrics and finishes will enhance office functionality.

Make sure to keep your future needs in mind while going through the furniture selection process. If your company is projecting growth in the next few years, it might be smart to look into systems furniture that can be easily reconfigured and added to, which will accommodate additional workspaces.

What comes after choosing furniture?

Now that you’ve selected your office furniture, you need to decide where to make your purchases.

There are many furniture stores that sell practical office furniture but do not offer the same benefits as purchasing through a dealership. A design firm can provide expert advice and guidance to help you select a furniture vendor, offering an objective opinion when it comes to vendor selection, and negotiating on your behalf. Your designer will review each vendor’s bid and help you understand the content of each, reading between the lines to provide insight.

Designers at the firm will help you find furniture that is within your budget. However, it is important to hold value over price. With furniture, like most purchases, you get what you pay for. Buying an inexpensive chair might help your immediate budget, but in the long run you must think about the costs of repairs and replacements of cheap chairs. Rather, it’s often better to pay a little extra upfront for something that will last longer.

What are the benefits of hiring a design firm to help furnish an office?

Hiring a design firm establishes a long-term relationship with the firm as well as the dealer. A good design firm will ensure that the dealer will be there for your company long after the point of sale.

After you’ve made your purchase, client support is necessary for any problems that may arise with your furniture. The firm will be there to help with any issues that may arise through the furniture purchasing process. It will work with the dealer to give you warranty information, as well as replacements for damaged or defective purchases. The firm also will keep your furniture selections on file, making it easy for the firm to contact the dealer to purchase additional furniture as needed.

Selecting office furniture is an important process every company should go through wisely. Working with a design firm through the process can ensure a functional and aesthetically pleasing office.

Kelly Colamarino is an interior designer at SMC Consulting, LLC. Reach her at (724) 987-7784 or [email protected].

Insights Facilities is brought to you by SMC Consulting, LLC