An Interior Designer’s Guide to Healthcare Furniture

Posted by Janet Voigt on Mon, Sep 18, 2017 @ 01:00 PM
Interior Designer for Contract Furniture
Recently I was talking to an interior designer who took her first healthcare design job. This particular interior designer had a lot of residential experience but when I asked her about selecting contract-grade furniture, she was totally unaware that there was furniture designed for non-residential applications.
 
While the elements of good residential interior design might translate well into a commercial healthcare or group living environment, the furniture and fixtures do not.
 
Bland, sterile-looking healthcare facilities are a thing of the past. Aesthetics now encompass a broad range of healing elements including energetic color-schemes and nature-based hues that encourage comfort. But beyond the basics of color is a new world of functionality.
 
Furniture and fixtures for health care and healing environments must also prevent falls, encourage mobility, discreetly deal with incontinence and fluids, maintain sterile surfaces and support the latest patient-centered technologies.
 
So what exactly is contract-grade furniture? 
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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Contract Furniture, Behavioral Healthcare Furniture

The Contract Furniture Trendsetter

Posted by Janet Voigt on Mon, Aug 12, 2013 @ 11:27 AM

In the world of ho-hum furniture for health care and facility furniture, things are heating up.

The baby boomers are hitting the health care market en masse for both acute and extended care services. As the country's largest consumer-base, the fifty-plus crowd are not just consumers of health care services, they are also decision-makers for respite care for their aging parents. While cost is a primary driver of choices of health care facilities of all types, aesthetics plays a huge role in the decision process.

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Topics: Health Care Furniture, Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, durable furniture, Contract Furniture

Furniture for Behavioral Healthcare

Posted by Janet Voigt on Tue, Jun 25, 2013 @ 03:30 PM

Well Designed Behavioral Healthcare Facilities Benefit Both the Patients and Staff.

In behavioral healthcare environments, the safety and comfort of staff and consumers is always top priority.

Elements from building design and hardware to furniture and fixtures impact traffic flow, comfort, and the overall functionality of the space.

  • A recent feature in Behavioral Healthcare recognized outstanding design in treatment and recovery centers. What united these award-winning spaces is that they offer patients and staff spacious facilities that simultaneously offer both privacy and community. 
  • Functional spaces flow well from one to the next but spaces are separated by floor treatments and furniture to make them feel cozy and intimate even when the overall space is big.  Spaces for dining, group therapy, family visits and game areas are barrier free but still clearly a separate space.
  • Patients have reduced anxiety and appear to be more open to therapy in facilities that welcomed natural light and used colors that were warm and neutral with pops of color to energize the space. 
  • The most favored furniture designs are those that are residential in style and mimic what a patient might find in their homes. Versatile pieces like upholstered chairs and laminate top tables can be used for a variety of therapies and activities. Durable fabrics and vinyls ensure that furniture will last over time.
Furniture Concepts , an industry leader in providing furniture for behavioral healthcare can be counted on to provide the type of furniture that will help you to create the same type of furniture design that defines best in class treatment designs. 
  • With the right advice, even the most overwhelming furniture project can be organized to create the perfect therapeutic environment.  And, at the right price!

upholsteredfurntiure   Created on 01/03/12 at 17:14:03   Need Pricing? Click to Get it!

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice

The Power of the Right Upholstery Fabric

Posted by Janet Voigt on Wed, Mar 06, 2013 @ 08:30 AM


When selecting contract fabrics for upholstered furniture, there are many things to consider. When buying for commercial businesses or health care facilities you will  have to Selecting fabrselect upholstery fabric(s) for your furniture purchase.

Contract furniture is always “made to order” due to the enormous variety of furniture styles and fabric types, finishes, patterns and colors. The possible combinations that can be created imagining the endless number of furniture styles plus hundreds of thousands of upholstery fabric and its variables creates a dizzying assortment of potential groupings.

While you can expect contract upholstered furniture to take a few weeks to produce, you may be surprised by the pricing which rarely feels like “custom” pricing. The truth is that contract upholstery sales costs far lower than its residential / retail counterpart so while the options are more plentiful, price is actually lower and quality is substantially higher than retail.
  ic for contract upholstered furniture can be a daunting task. Choosing color, pattern, fabric type, and performance characteristics is a lot of decision on top of selecting the style of the furniture itself. While the technical aspects of fabric performance are important, let’s first focus on the more visible elements.
 
  • Color is an obvious consideration.  Color sets the mood for a room, especially if you are adding big pieces of furniture like sofas, loveseats and lounge chairs. Depending on the existing décor or tone of your facility, color can be used play up contemporary elements of the buildings design or conversely can be used to tone down more dated elements. Warm colors complement traditional designs and cool colors tend to highlight contemporary design. Mixing colors within a single room setting can add drama and can improve the overall look of a room compared to a single, repeating color. When mixing colors, look for colors that harmonize rather than contrast to create more of a designer look. Be careful not to choose colors that are too light. Whites and light earth tones are very “in” right now for residential design but tend not to perform well in contract facilities even when treated with soli and stain resistance. Instead, look at deeper solid earth tones with texture.  The textures add an additional natural element without compromising the dirt-hiding properties of darker tones.
 
  • Pattern is probably the most intimidating selection for many contract buyers.   Patterns do not always age well.  What is hip and trendy today might quickly end up looking like yesterday’s news.  Big, graphic patterns can be the riskiest patterns choices but the right selection can really add drama when the building design lacks character. The scale of the pattern should be in balance with the size of the room so large, bold patterns would not be an ideal match for a small room with small-scale furniture. Large, open spaces can accommodate more pattern. A designer trick for using large pattern in a room is to find a color that is present in small quantities in the patterned fabric and select a solid color fabric in that color. Use the large, bolder pattern on chairs and loveseats and use the solid color on the larger pieces like sofas to create a high-end look.
 
Durable furniture fabric is essential in any contract environment. Some qualities to look for include thread count, double rub results and fiber type:

  • The higher the thread count, the more durable the fabric since the weave of the material is denser and therefore more durable. Additionally, consider whether the pattern is woven into the fabric or whether it is printed on top of a solid color fabric. Woven patterns will wear far better than printed patterns.
  • Double rub results measure the number of times fabric can withstand being rubbed together under standardized, laboratory testing. The higher the double rub results the more durable the fabric. Results from 15,000 double rubs on up indicate better performance for heavy-use environments.  Results as high as 100,000 and above are commonly available from contract furniture suppliers.
  • Fibers can be mad made or natural. Man made fibers like acrylic, nylon, olefin and vinyl offer a higher degree of durability and stain and soil resistance than natural fibers. In addition to their inherent stain and soil resistance, many fabric treatments are available through contract suppliers that offer an additional measure of dependability. Crypton is far and away the most common fabric treatment for contract facilities. Crypton is a process that is applied on top, bottom and within the weave of the fabric resulting in a fluid and soil barrier that keeps fabric clean as well as hygienic.

When considering choices for your next furniture project, always contact a reputable contract furniture supplier who understands the needs of your facility.

upholsteredfurntiure   Free Ebook on Tips on How to Get started on Buying Contract Furniture   Need Pricing? Click to Get it!
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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Commercial Lounge Furniture, Contract Furniture, Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

Get Rid of Ugly Furniture Once and For All

Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Feb 07, 2013 @ 01:38 PM

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, durable furniture, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice, CAL 133, Contract Furniture & Fabric: Making it Last

Do You Make These Common Furniture Buying Mistakes?

Posted by Janet Voigt on Tue, Feb 05, 2013 @ 08:51 AM

Buying furniture is not quite everybody’s “cup of tea.” 

Often, professionals whose primary

responsibilities are patient care or administration face the task of buying furniture for their facility because their organization does not have a professional buyer. 

While the task is a daunting one, the good news is that there are many good resources available!


There are companieswho specialize in providing furniture to group living,health & human service,

dormitory and other specialized environments. Furniture Concepts is a twenty-plus-year-provider of furniture solutions for all types of heavy use and special needs environments.

 Let Us Do the Design Work

Having served thousands of “accidental” furniture buyers, the expert team at Furniture Concepts has put together a top 10 list of mistakes that can get in the way for new buyers:

  1. No clear budget. It is important to have a clear budget ahead of initiating a furniture purchase. There are many options and finishes available in the contact furniture market and like anything else, the sky’s the limit.  Know what your budget is in advance to eliminate wasting time with unrealistic proposals that will inevitably break the bank. Knowing your budget will help keep your project on-track.
  2. Inaccurate understanding of the buying cycle. Furniture for a patient care or other group living facility is typically budgeted to be replaced every 2 – 5 years.  Knowing the expectations for your facility is important because the longer the buying cycle the more important it may be to avoid trending styles and popular color combinations in favor of more neutral or traditional styling.  Today’s hottest trends might not look quite as appealing five years from now but might be perfectly well-suited for a two year replacement cycle.
  3. Getting distracted by upholstery options. Just about everyone appreciates pretty furniture with attractive upholstery fabrics. However, picking an upholstery fabric is like going to the shopping mall - you can choose to shop for quality at fair prices or you can choose to spend a fortune buying high-end, designer options. Upholstery is really no different.  Fabric designers endorse certain fabric mills and their designs which means high per yard price tags to the buyer without substantial gains in quality. With literally ten of thousands of upholsteries to choose from it is very easy to get bogged down in the choices. Sometimes keeping it simple yields the most satisfying results. Trust your furniture provider to recommend collections that take the guess work out of combining colors and patters. And, remember sometimes less is more - don’t be afraid to choose a monochrome color scheme because single-color seating pieces are a no-fail classic.
  4. Buying Retail. While a sofa at a retail furniture store might look the same at first glance as a sofa from a contract furniture provider, the truth is that they are very different pieces. Retail furniture is made for families who will use the pieces for 4 – 6 hours a day in low-energy activities like reading or watching TV. The components, construction and fabrics are designed for single-family use in a home. Contract furniture, on the other hand, is designed and manufactured for heavy-use environments. From the frame to the foam to the fabric, all the pieces are made to standards that allow for heavy use. Contract furniture has a durability that retail furniture does not. Solid wood frames, heavy-duty upholstery with fluid and stain resistant features, and designs for all sorts of special needs – including limited mobility, incontinence, bariatric, behavioral issues and more. The local furniture store cannot offer furniture that is made to the standards of contract furniture.
  5. Trying to please too many people. Getting a group to agree on furniture style is a difficult proposition. Of course you want at least one other person to validate your recommendations, but if you try to choose by a committee of more than three people it can be a never-ending battle of stylistic opinions. If you have to obtain the consent of a group, present no more than three choices for review and approval. That way you can show a few favored styles without getting too caught up in individual tastes.
  6. Not getting the final decision maker involved with the vendor. If final sign off for the furniture purchase lies with a director or administrator who is not closely involved with the proposal process, it is crucial that all the details be clearly communicated to that decision-maker. Often, the features and benefits of a particular product are disclosed in conversation with the vendor. What gets captured on paper, and subsequently passed on to decision-makers, might only be a generic product overview and pricing. It is important to show in writing the construction methods, specifications and warranty so that comparisons can be apple to apple.
  7. Not weighing in “value. Value is more than price – it is the sum total of all price, quality, function, durability and features as well as the service reputation of the company offering the product. Formal quotations are typically evaluated on price. It is important to understand more than just the costs. Also, see #6.
  8. Expecting a point-and-click experience. While consumer product buying has become a point-and-click experience, buying furniture for a facility requires a little conversation. Certainly, you can expect to be able to communicate with your contract furniture vendor on your terms – email or phone – but communicating in some way is essential. The right contract provider will need to know about the consumers you serve, your current frustrations, your space planning needs, budget, receiving capabilities, etc. So while you can look at styles and finishes online, it is important to have a rapport with the vendor you are buying from to ensure the right recommendations for your particular furniture needs.
  9. Not fully understanding delivery options.  When you buy furniture for your home, you expect a delivery guy to bring the furniture in and put it in the room you purchased it for. Contract furniture works a little differently. As a business to business provider, most contract furniture providers work with a shipping network that serves the entire country. The plus side is low, commercial freight rates that do not get buried in product costs.  The down side is that most commercial carriers do not provide services that include carrying the furniture into buildings. Inside delivery or full-service installation is often available but the rates can be a deterrent. When working within a budget the extra costs for inside delivery options can be difficult to swallow. Contract furniture providers tend to work on low margins and do not artificially inflate product costs to hide the shipping expenses.  As a result, you can compare rates for delivery services. The most budget-friendly option is to have staff remove furniture from a truck and carry the pieces into the building.
  10. Expecting high price tags. While contract furniture certainly offers far more solutions for varied consumer and patient needs, it does not necessarily mean that you will experience sticker shock. Quite the contrary, contract furniture is often lower cost than retail furniture despite the fact that it has superior construction, parts and warranty. How is that possible?  Well contract furniture providers do not have showrooms or stores that cost extra money. As a business to business provider, contract furniture providers represent factories directly which allows lower cost of production and fewer overhead expenses.  Truly, it is a better product at a better price. Who knew?
 
If you are ever faced with an unexpected furniture buying project, take your time to understand the need of your consumers, their families and your staff. Always engage a contract furniture expert who has experience with furnishing facilities like yours. Consider your options and remember there is more to furniture buying then finding the best price. The right value offers far more than price.

Free Ebook on Tips on How to Get started on Buying Contract Furniture      Need Pricing? Click to Get it!

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice, Shipping Furniture

2013 Contract Furniture Trends

Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 @ 03:21 PM
Healthcare, group living and housing experts have returned to the proverbial drawing board after putting last year to bed.  2012 was packed with conferences and industry gatherings for professional buyers, architects and planners. Now that the New Year is firmly underway, these experts have started letting the industry know about what they expect to see in terms of contract furniture trends for the upcoming year.
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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Commercial Lounge Furniture, Contract Furniture, Fabric/Upholstered Furniture for Contract

Making Group Living Spaces Livable

Posted by Janet Voigt on Thu, Sep 06, 2012 @ 12:22 PM

Any time you have more than one person sharing a living space the lines of functional spaces are bound to start blurring – living rooms can become a place for abandoned shoes and jackets; dining tables can end up collecting mail and magazines; and the bedrooms?  Well they just end up collecting everything else! 

So how do you rein in on residents, staff and all their stuff? 

Here are some suggestions from group home administrators around the country:

  1. In order to keep functional spaces functional, invest in accessories like a coat rack or hooks near the door to encourage proper placement of outdoor gear. Sometimes something as simple as attaching baskets or canvas totes to the wall in a row, each labeled with residents’ names, can be a great way to consolidate all those small items that no one knows where to put when residents walk in the door after an outing.
  2. When buying furniture, keep scale in mind. Scale can be an overwhelming concept for those of us not born with well-tuned spatial perception. The idea is to add enough furniture to make the space useful and comfortable without going overboard with so much furniture that walking through a room because a challenge.
  3. Contract furniture providers often offer space planning as part of their services without any additional charge. Having a plan on paper takes the possibility of mistakes out of the project and ensures that your furniture investment will be 100% functional for your group.
  4.  Make sure your contract furniture provider asks the “right questions” like whether or not you serve residents in wheelchairs or other mobility devices, behavioral concerns, suicide risks or any other special needs.
  5. Make sure that you have adequate storage in all community living areas, dining areas and bedrooms. Storage furniture gives a place to everything that might otherwise end up as clutter in communal spaces. When closets just aren’t enough (or just don’t exist) storage furniture like wardrobes, tall cabinets, dresser and chests are durable and functional. Wood and metal options offer extra space with long-lasting finishes and construction. When security is an issue, locks can easily be added to most storage furniture to make sure items stay where they belong. Many tall storage cabinets, wardrobes and armoires can be configured to include storage shelves, hanging rods and cubbies in any combination to accommodate storing just about anything.
  6. Always add occasional tables, coffee tables and / or oversized ottomans to shared living spaces where residents, families and staff gather regularly. These are excellent ad hoc spaces that can be used to play board games, catch reading materials, gather group therapy material or to just be a place for people to put their feet up. Add these types of pieces in to your space planning on paper (see step #2) to ensure that they do not interfere with traffic patterns.
  7. In order to make resident feel the sense of home that allows them to settle in to therapeutic living spaces, it is a best practice to offer enough personal space for every resident to feel secure about leaving their special items. This can be tricky with limited or shared sleeping spaces. Dressers and chests with even numbers of drawers can be evenly divided in shared spaces to allow each resident their own storage. Underbed storage options like wheeled storage trays and underbed chests maximize use of space without sacrificing valuable floor space. Small desks that allow residents to draw, write, place electronics, etc. encourage productive private time and keep each persons’ personal items out of public use spaces.
 
Whether your group living facility accommodates short or long stays, it is important to keep interior spaces clean and free of clutter that can be hazardous and just plain unattractive.

Keeping spaces mess free eliminates stress and encourages residents and staff to settle in.  Industry experts like contract furniture providers can make the right recommendations that will enable your facility to be functional and comfortable for all.
Learn How to Build Your own Table   upholsteredfurntiure   Created on 01/03/12 at 17:14:03

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Contract Furniture, Group Furniture Buying Advice

Best of Lounge Seating for 2012

Posted by Janet Voigt on Mon, Jun 04, 2012 @ 04:41 PM

How to Combine Style, Functionality and Cost for Lounge Seating.

Recent budget cutbacks have reminded purchasers that there is still truth in the “you get what you pay for” adage.

Buying quality furniture creates a longer buying cycle thereby minimizing the need for cash for future furniture projects – especially those needed to satisfy state and local codes and health standards.

When trying to combine style, functionality and cost, what are you real options?

Here are our top 5 picks for best lounge seating styles for health care environment for 2012

1. Fully upholstered seating pieces with contemporary styling. Fully upholstered seating is a winner for providing comfort and ensuring that acute care facilities provide a home-like therapeutic environment. Contemporary styling blends well with almost any color scheme.  Its straight lines, lower profile, and lower loft foam makes it a natural fit for limited mobility concerns.
2. Versatile, metal framed seating with bariatric and standard options. Combining either free standing or ganging seat options can create an expansive seating area well-suited to all sizes of people. Metal frame options with upholstery and wood accents are slim and ultra stylish but durable enough to hold up to 750 pounds (bariatric versions).
3.     Crate-style seating with replaceable upholstered cushions. Now updated with a catalyzed lacquer, crate-style no longer looks rustic. Well finished stains on solid wood frames are super-durable and stylishly satisfying. The best part is that upholstered cushions can be made in any upholstery fabric from the most basic to the most design-forward to go with any décor. Cushions can even be traded out seasonally to keep a fresh look that compliments the time of year.
4.     Upholstered seating with pop-out seats. As strange as it may sound, removable seats have become a popular new trend in seating for health care environments. Wood-based seat decks completely finished with springs, foam and upholstery can be removed as a whole unit from the furniture frame allowing a completely open, seatless frame. With this feature, care givers can easily clean spills and fluid from both the seat and floor. The seat design aids in pooling fluids towards the floor so that once removed, a mop can easily be used to clean the floor without having to move the entire seating piece.
5.     Sectional seating. A timeless favorite for maximizing comfort and functionality, sectional seating is popular again in health care environments. Chaise lounge sections combined with standard sofa sections is a popular configuration that creates an inviting environment. Patients and clients can relax and fully engage in therapy and activities when comfortably positioned with their feet up.

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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities, Commercial Lounge Furniture

INTERIOR DESIGN IDEAS for Your Group Environment Facility!

Posted by Janet Voigt on Tue, Aug 23, 2011 @ 08:43 AM
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Topics: Interior Design Advice of Group Living Facilities

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For 20+ years, Furniture Concepts has remained committed to providing furniture Solutions for any type of group living environment. We sell only Business to Business in U.S.A. and Canada. Furniture Concepts is known for: Durability. Pricing. Deadlines. Customer Service... Learn More about us!

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