The phrase “institutional furniture” is still used as a broad reference to furniture for group living and health care environments.
This phrase suggests high durability and virtual indestructibility, but the phrase “institutional furniture” also calls up images of unattractive, sterile and uncomfortable seating, bedroom and dining pieces.
In today’s group living and health care environments, institutional furniture has come to mean furniture that looks like what you would find in a home but is durable beyond retail furniture standards.Since institutional styles have morphed into something that looks like it came from local retail furniture stores it is easy to assume that what looks the same is the same. The reality in that contract/commercial furniture manufacturing is entirely different from its retail cousin.
Although stylistically retail and contract pieces mirror each other, what is “under the hood” makes all the difference.
- Contract furniture construction methods require more durable frames, components that have been tested to standards that are typically mandated by organizations like the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, fabrics and finishes that are expected to last longer under higher-than-retail-usage and warranties that protect the buyer from manufacturers’ defects.
- Regardless of whether you are dealing with behavioral issues, limited mobility, obesity, incontinence, or just general heavy use there is furniture that can be part of managing these special needs.
- Once just a practical matter of where to sit or where to eat, furniture for institutional settings is now designed to be part of a solution to easing demands on consumers and staff by using bariatric seating, fluid-proof fabrics, higher seat heights, pop-out seat decks, and metal furniture.