Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Jan 12, 2012 @ 09:31 PM

In my former life I would see ads for “contract furniture” and wonder what exactly “contract” had to do with furniture... 

...Turns out that contract furniture is an industry in itself specializing in creating furniture for hospitality, healthcare, commercial and other non-residential applications. 

The “contract” component refers to the intended use for the furniture and the expectation that the pieces themselves will be more durable then their residential counterparts.Healthcare_Furniture.jpg

  • Innovation in contract furniture far outpaces retail and residential improvements.  Contract furniture manufacturers work with an ever-increasing array of fabric treatments, materials and design features that just are not in demand for non-commercial uses. 

  • For example, there are fabric treatment options that make upholstery nearly impermeable to any fluids, even extremely corrosive fluids like urine. 

  • Design features like contemporary exposed steel frame seating, beefy dimensions to accommodate extra girth or more petite seat heights to aid in mobility are unique to the contract industry. 

If you are ever looking to stay ahead of furniture design trends, keep an eye on the contract furniture industry.  Many contract manufacturers are far ahead of the typical design curve since they have deeper pockets to fund travel for inspiration.  If you are ever in the position to buy for your facility, keep in mind that:

  •   retail furniture is not the same as contract furniture. 


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As with anything, it pays to spend some time getting to know providers and choose a contract provider that not only offer the right products but who can also offer the guidance and advice to make any project perfect.


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