The combination of value and durability for furnishings is probably top of most facility manager’s wish list.When furnishing a new facility, or refurnishing an existing facility, a minimum expectation for furniture performance is a two year replacement cycle with the hope that pieces will last five years. Very few projects are funded for high-end design price tags.
So what do you do when presented with a furniture project without the dream budget? The best place to start is to identify exactly what the needs of your staff and consumers are.
If heavy use or behavioral outbursts are expected it is important to consider purchasing furniture with a reputation for indestructibility. There are very few makes of furniture that hit that mark but rest assured there are a few styles that can deliver both the ability to tolerate heavy use and still be fashion-forward.
The top contender in the extreme use category is the style of furniture typically referred to as “crate style.” Create style is an exposed wood frame seating piece - or thick-ply case pieces - that look and perform with durability while still appearing charming. Sturdy seating frames can be styled with a classic mission look; solid end panels; or open, rounded, with a contemporary note.
So how do you decide is crate style is the right fit for your facility?
- If you have had experience with consumers jumping on furniture, poking pens or other objects through upholstery, fracturing arms due to sitting on furniture ends, or general breakage due to consumer behavior – crate style furniture might offer the peace of mind you are looking for. While nothing is truly indestructible, crate furniture is constructed of multi-ply lumber adhered together via adhesive and hydraulic presses resulting in one of the most durable frames in the furniture industry.
- Although sturdiness is a hallmark of this style of furniture, upholstered cushion give this furniture a soft, comfortable look. From basic solids to designer prints, any style of upholstery fabric when combined with the rock-solid frame creates a piece of furniture that is ready for anything.
If crate style furniture is still not for you, never fear there is a furniture solution to every consumer behavior.
Consider some of the following most common furnishing problems and solutions:
- Incontinence – many styles of furniture offer pop-out and clean out seats that use gravity to pull urine to easily cleanable areas and keep fluids from penetrating foams. Furniture designed for incontinence looks like residential, fully-upholstered furniture since the design enhancements do not alter the appearance of the seating pieces.
- Limit Mobility – shorter seat depths and higher arm heights has been proven to enhance mobility and enable a person to go from a seated to a standing position with more ease than typical seating dimensions.
- Molded Plastic – when upholstery just won’t work due to abusive behaviors, molded plastic furniture is a solution that offers exceptional sturdiness and can easily be bolted to the floor to ensure that furniture will not be used as a weapon against staff and visitors.
- Anti-Contraband – to maximize staff safety, anti-contraband furniture can give easy visual access to staff of places where contraband might be stored. For example, instead of drawers for storage, anti-contraband furniture uses open cubbies to allow for quick inspection.
- Metal – offering case pieces and beds, metal is a popular solution that combines durability with easy cleanability for those concerned with pests and other chemical treatments that might be necessary for facility maintenance.
When you are ready to start the process of budgeting or shopping for furniture for your next facility project, always engage the help of a contract furniture supplier who is experienced with organizations similar to yours. While no two faculties are used in the exact same way, working with professionals who can listen to your needs and recommend the right solution for your staff and consumers is a priceless value-added feature that only comes from contract furniture providers.