Guide to Office Design and Furniture – Small business information, insight and resources | Thu, 14 Feb 2019 18:32:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 157446745 3 Reasons to Hire a Commercial Interior Designer For Your Next Office Move Tue, 27 Jun 2017 10:00:47 +0000

If your company plans to move into new office space in the future, here is some advice you should strongly consider: Hire a professional to help you design and plan your space. Hiring a designer is something you may think is an expense you can avoid, but having someone who plans offices for a living can save you time, hassle and money in the long-run. And in some cases, it may help you avoid wrongheaded decisions you’ll be regretting for years. 

3 ways a commercial designer will likely save you time, money and hassle

1 | Balance competing needs or desires

Whether it’s deciding on a color palette or laying out a budget and timeline for the project, there will be a constant parade of decisions that will likely include the question, “Do you want this or that, because you can’t have both?” Just a few of the topics that will likely need the help of a professional in the decision making process:

  • Space
  • Budget
  • Color
  • Style
  • Work Processes
  • Culture
  • Privacy
  • Noise
  • Technology
  • Lighting
  • And more…

2 | Take care of the basics

There are some big-picture decisions you’ll have to make, but like most things in life, “the devil is in the details.” A professional commercial designer should be an expert in the details. He or she will help you through a long list of considerations that you’ve never considered. Here are just a few of the topics–each with  hundreds of associated details:

  • Furniture
  • Panel systems
  • Conference rooms
  • Seating
  • Wall systems
  • Power and Phone systems
  • Data systems and networks
  • Security
  • HVAC
  • Regulatory requirements
  • And more…

3 |Answer lots of questions and hold lots of hands

A professional designer will ask you lots of questions. But more than likely, you will ask even more. Often, the questions will involve money and start with the word, “Why?”

Advice before starting the planning process

  • If you purchase all your furniture from one supplier, they may offer to provide a designer as a free service. While this may be a good option for some, consider hiring a fee-based, independent designer who has no financial incentives to recommend one manufacturer over another.
  • Appoint a committee of people on your staff to serve as a sounding board for the designer. Make sure the designer has the opportunity to ask everyone about the ways they work and any ideas they may have.
The What’s, Why’s and Hows of Ergonomic Office Chairs Mon, 22 Aug 2016 16:54:17 +0000

A chair becomes ergonomic only when it specifically suits a worker’s size (body dimensions), his or her particular workstation, and the tasks that must be performed there. From the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, here are the basics of ergonomic chairs.

Why is having the right chair so important?

Today, in industrialized countries, many people sit for most of the time that they are awake. Although sitting requires less physical effort than standing or walking it puts a lot of stress on lumbar area. Combined effects of a sedentary lifestyle and a job that requires sitting can lead to many health problems.

Key things to consider when purchasing an ergonomic chair

One chair does not fit everyone | The users’ body dimensions must be used when selecting a chair so that it does not strain one part of the body while fitting another.

Collect data about the user’s body height | The optimal seat height is about one quarter of the body height. But this is only a rule of thumb since the torso-to-leg ratio can vary widely.

There is no chair suitable for every activity | For example, dentists require a different chair than industrial workers or computer operators

Consider maintenance and repair costs | Check with the manufacturer for items to inspect and when to inspect them.

Features of a good chair (checklist)


Adjustability | Check to see that seat height is adjustable.
Seat height range | Check whether the seat height can be adjusted to the height recommended for the worker(s) who will use it. Other chairs may have to be selected for very short or tall workers.
Backrest | Check to see that the backrest is adjustable both vertically and in the frontward and backward direction and has a firm lumbar support.
Seat depth | Select the seats that suit the tallest and the shortest users.
Stability | Check for the stability of the chair; a five-point base is recommended.

Additional considerations

  • Armrests with adjustable heights are good for computer operators.
  • Wider or narrower armrests may also be required depending on the worker’s dimensions and tasks they do.
  • If chairs with casters are needed, choose ones that match the type of flooring you have

Who should pick out the chair?

Personal preference is essential to the process of selecting a chair. But after some suitable chairs have been identified, allow the person who will use the chair most to try it out in a real work situation. It is especially useful to obtain several sample chairs for a trial comparison by those who will be using them. Make sure that the chair meets the needs of the workers and their jobs before any final selection is made.

Even a great chair can’t solve all of the ergonomic problems of working in a sitting position

A chair is only one of the components to be considered in workstation design. All the elements such as the chair, footrest (if needed), work surface, document holders, task lighting and so on need to have flexibility and adjustability to be “designed in.”


Also on

Small Business Office Furniture Glossary for the First Time Buyer

VIA | Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety

Photo | H. Michael Karshis via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Workstation Enhancements That Organize, Charge And Secure Workers’ Digital Devices Mon, 15 Aug 2016 16:36:51 +0000

At, we’re fans of anything that helps organize and store the wires, cables and blocks of plastic that have taken over our lives. Here’s proof: We even have a Pinterest board devoted to the topic. So yes, we were impressed recently when we learned about the Slyde Charging Solution, a family of products that provide lockable workstation spaces where a worker can charge, store and secure valuables and electronic devices—while hiding the wire-nests that have become a fixture on most open-space desks.

Slyde is the brainchild of Scott Lesizza, one of the owners of the New York-based furniture dealer Workwell Partners. Frustrated with the sameness of open-office designs and workstations with too few plugs, Lesizza began working on a solution that evolved into the products that are now a part of Slyde.

The Slyde Divyde

A great example of the Slyde concept is its Divyde Desktop Charging Station. Like traditional dividers in an open-space office design, Divydes help establish territory for workers and provide accessories like racks for hanging folders and family photos.


But the Divyde also provides the worker a convenient area in which to charge their cell phone and mount and charge their iPad.

3_Divyde Charging Station 2.0_Bradley Imaging

It also has a lockable cabinet (key or combination) and two side baskets that provide additional storage for electronic devices and office supplies.


Inside the lockable cabinet, there are electrical outlets and USB 2.0 ports so up to five devices can be charged simultaneously.

Slyde Charging Drawer


The Slyde Charging Drawer takes electronic devices off the desktop and houses them in a lockable charging drawer beneath the work surface. It comes with plugs for charging up to three devices, enough space for iPads and other tablets, notebooks and phones, and two USB ports for syncing multiple devices to your computer. It is also lockable, providing workers a secure place to house devices.

Slyde Charging Drawer Insert

For use with existing drawers, the Slyde Charging Drawer Insert houses devices in an underutilized area of storage pedestals and cabinets.

Slyde Ped


As more and more paper records stored inside hanging folders are being replaced by digital files, workstation pedestals have become less and less “file drawers.” Now, much of their function is for storage.

In addition to having space for filing, electronics, and personal items, the Slyde Ped also has charging receptacles, and docking stations—and even some room for a few remaining hanging folders.

Pricing and ordering information available from Slyde:

Photos via Slyde Charging Solutions

Awesome Small Business Offices From Around the U.S.A. Mon, 18 Jul 2016 11:38:50 +0000

Need inspiration or ideas for new office space? A great place on the web to see the latest in office design for companies, large and small, is the website Office Snapshots. Here are some designs they’ve curated recently from California to New York City; Austin to the Chicago suburbs. One thing they all have in common: lots of space for collaboration and plenty of Wow! factor.

Favor | Austin, Texas

New HQ Photos

New HQ Photos

New HQ Photos

Favor is an on-demand delivery service with headquarters in Austin. Its new headquarters has a 12,000-square-foot office space fore its 120 Austin employees. The new offices were designed by Favor’s creative team, who wanted employees to feel as if they were working “inside” the Favor brand. The new office also features a rooftop deck with views of the Austin Capitol and UT Stadium.

Web |
Design | In-house
via | Office Snapshots

Charles Vincent George Architects | Napierville, Ill.



The completely open office plan encourages collaboration between designers, while the designed millwork and ceiling panels (‘butterflies’) still give each of the four sections of the office a sense of place. Collaboration between designers and clients is encouraged with an open and flexible Materials Library. Clients are able to select finishes off the sliding shelves while architects and designers can post drawings and sketches to the rolling steel doors, using magnets.

Web |
Design | Charles Vincent George Architects
Photography | Tony Soluri|
via | Office Snapshots

Achieve Internet | San Diego



The office was designed to reflect what Office Snapshot calls, “the growing web development company’s ultra-modern, geek-chic vibe.” A gray-toned color scheme is accented with splashes of Achieve’s signature orange. Giant glass walls, a custom mural, local custom-made glass tables, and of course the signature moss wall are all design choices that helped open up the space and make it as modern and stylish as possible.

Web |
Design | In-house team from Achieve Internet
via | Office Snapshots

Primary | New York City



Primary is a new coworking space in New York that includes a 600 square-foot fitness studio and 30+ classes per week (yoga, meditation, functional fitness). There are 66 offices and 108 co-working seats with capacity to accommodate 324 people. With a focus on nearby makers and food vendors, the space features original furniture pieces, bespoke light fixtures from Etsy vendors, a Brooklyn millworker and one of Primary’s co-founders. The space also includes a full-service cafe with espresso service, juices and catered lunches — all from nearby vendors.

Web |
Design | Danny Orenstein
via | Office Snapshots

How to Create Some Private, Quiet Space in an Open Office Fri, 22 Apr 2016 22:17:55 +0000

Open office design is a popular trend these days. To cope with ambient noise, workers have invested in headphones with noise reduction technology built in—or earbuds with the volume cranked up. But what about those times when a chat among co-workers is needed (and Slack isn’t the answer)? Some clever designers are coming up with ideas to baffle the noise, using techniques first developed for recording studios. Here are just a few examples of how acoustic furniture and other sound abatement approaches are entering the workspace. Note: Most of these examples are not available for sale in the U.S. 

Elite Furniture Retreat Double Booth


This “Retreat Booth” offers face-to-face collaboration which encourages creative and spontaneous meeting’s between colleagues. Privacy can be maintained via the acoustic benefits of the design incorporating a connecting panel with an integrated roof panel.

Aden chair & sofa

This approach offers an uncomplicated acoustic space. Available as a single seater or sofa with metal sled frame (not shown) or wooden legs (shown).

The V1 chair by ODESD2


According to the manufacturer, the V1 chair’s acoustic atmosphere “allows you to concentrate on your own thoughts and feelings.”

Whisperwave Ceiling Cloud

This sculptured foam accent product allows you to use cloud computing under the clouds. The idea is that the foam clouds absorb the sound. Sounds angelic.

BuzziShade Ground Lamp


BuzziShade is a sound-absorbing floor lamp. According to its manufacturer, the lamp creates an intimate space and ensures a pleasant area of light

Industrial Telephone Hoods

From many different makers (google “acoustic hood for telephones“), these hoods have been in factory-settings for decades. For today’s open offices, many hoods no longer have phones mounted — they are places people use with mobile phones.

Small Business Gadget: Oristand, The Best Industrial Cardboard Stand Up Desk Ever Fri, 15 Jan 2016 18:09:50 +0000

The board below, devoted to examples of standing desks, should convince you that we’re obsessed fascinated with the merits and long, proud history of standing desks. We’re always seeking the better mousetraps of stand up desks—especially those that come up with a new twist to the preferred desk of great thinkers and writers like Jefferson and Hemingway. Also, it’s great if the new idea makes having a standing desk more affordable and easy to store.

Follow’s board Standing Desks / Stand Up Desks on Pinterest.

We think we’ve now seen the most creative, affordable and easy to transport-and-store-away standing desk idea ever, the Oristand.

According to, Ryan Holmes, the founder of Hootsuite, created the Oristand with Steve Suchy and Nathan Martell. Holmes decided to create an inexpensive, simple option after experiencing back pain.

Features and specifications


Material | made from industrial-weight cardboard
2 lbs. | Total weight
Sturdy | Can support weight of laptop and keyboard
5′ to 6′ | Works for people between five and six feet tall
Easy Assembly | Easy to set up or take down
Portable | Made to move around
Inexpensive | One for $25, 5 for $100)

“Many companies want to provide stand up desks as an option to enhance the work environment and promote the overall health and well-being of employees, however cost is a big barrier. The investment is simply not feasible for many small-to-medium sized businesses. We wanted to create a product that would solve this problem for both companies and employees.” –
 Ryan Holmes

Suggestion: To understand the clever design of the Oristand, watch this short video.

Oristand on Vimeo.

via: VancityBuzz

(Images via

Cool, Clever and Idea-Inspiring Small Business and Home Office Workspaces Tue, 22 Dec 2015 16:11:33 +0000

Each week, the website LifeHacker features photos of workspaces they believe are cool or inspiring. Each workspace reflects the personality and approach to work of the men and women who spend a big portion of their days in these spackes. Here are some of our favorites from Lifehacker’s collection of 2015 workspaces. Each has a link to the LifeHacker article (click on the headline) which typically has a few photos of the space.

The Rustic Reclaimed Wood Workspace


A large L-shaped desk, propped up by what looks to be a massive tree branch. It’s a perfectly natural, rustic-looking workspace for two. (…)

Also on | IRS Resources for Home Office Tax Deduction

The Colorfully Organized Office of Container Store CEO Kip Tindell


Kip Tindell, founder and CEO of The Container Store, has a workspace that unsurprisingly features lots of organization products, from shelving systems to colorful wall corkboards to matching file and magazine boxes. (…)

Getting Things Done Guru David Allen’s Productive Workspace


Getting Things Done (GTD) guru David Allen knows a thing or two about working efficiently and productively. That’s why we can’t help peeking at his workspace setup, which has a refreshing mix of analog and digital tools. (…)

Glass Globes and Gorgeous Desk Accessories: The Ugmonk Studio Workspace


Ugmonk, a family-based business started by designer Jeff Sheldon, creates things like leather mousepads, typographic prints, and graphic t-shirts. So as you might expect, Sheldon’s home studio is visually pleasing. (…)

The Sun-Lit Hallway Workspace

A hallway can be a great spot for a workspace, as long as it’s wide and bright enough, as today’s featured workspace definitely is. (…)

The Woodworker’s Pink Workspace


This workspace is a wood shop which manages to combine a “girly” pink accent wall color with sharp-looking, powerful tools. (…)

The Pallet Wall Workspace for Two


Planks of wood from pallets and a solid 10-foot wide desk make this home office unique without ruining the minimalist vibe. (…)

The Reclaimed Wood Workspace


This workspace has walls lined with reclaimed wood that Flickr user getthef.ckup collected, dried and sanded, painted, oiled, and sanded again. The walls are like art in themselves that way. (…)

The Wall-to-Wall, Triple Monitor Workspace

wall2wallMany homes—especially older ones—have awkwardly narrow rooms. Often these are prime places to put your workspace, even if it takes up the entire width of the room, like in the photo above. (…)

Photos via:


Buy, Finance or Lease? A Quick Overview of Office Furniture Options Mon, 09 Nov 2015 15:16:34 +0000

Some businesses view moving into a new office space as an opportunity to start fresh with brand new furniture. It makes sense, as new furniture can set a new tone or support a new work process. Others prefer to keep the furniture they acquired at an auction a decade ago. If new furniture is the route you choose, there’s another choice to make: Buying, leasing or financing your furniture acquisition. Here are some factors to consider.


  • Good: If you have the available cash, you will avoid debt.
  • Good: There are immediate tax benefits (depending on circumstances you must discuss with your tax advisor).
  • Bad: Many businesses don’t have the cash on hand to make a big purchase.


  • Good: If structured flexibly, it can help meet temporary needs.
  • Good: It doesn’t tie up capital or create a long-term commitment.
  • Bad: It can become the most expensive option over a course of time.


  • Good: As with other capital investments in equipment, office furniture can be financed through a loan.
  • Good: While financing will include interest expenses, the overall cost will be far less than leasing.
  • Bad: Availability and cost of financing can determine whether or not this is an option.

Every situation is unique: Seek advice.

Every situation is unique. Your overall financial situation must be considered when making any major investment for your business. Seek advice from your accountant, banker or other trusted financial advisor.

Photo: bfi Business Furniture Inc. via Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

How to Hide Wires and Routers Behind a Framed Panel Thu, 25 Jun 2015 22:04:27 +0000 At, we’re always looking for wire organizing ideas to add to our Pinterest board on the topic.

Thanks to Instructables user ghochman, here’s a way to organize and hide not only wires, but routers hardware and more.

hiding wires

Using some pegboard, some basic hardware, and some wood for framing, the front panel can be a painting, a blown-up photo or perhaps your company logo. Everything attaches to the pegboard, and the top is completely open to help with ventilation.

But don’t follow ghochman’s decorating style

While we like the idea, there a two things on which he obviously needs help. Why organize the routers if you are going to leave exposed all those dangling wires? Find a piece of furniture or wire track to hide those cords, dude!

Second thing: No offense, but the artwork on that case looks worse than a bird’s nest of wires.

Try these two hints to complete the job:


Source: Discreet Electronics Organizer on


More Cord & Cable Organizing Ideas at

Check out more how-to ideas for handling wires and cables (and lots more) at our Pinterest outpost, See a clever cord idea that we’ve missed? Email us at on pinterest

Small Business Office Furniture Glossary for the First Time Buyer Fri, 04 Apr 2014 21:09:19 +0000 As your small business grows, one day you eventually will be faced with one of those “no one ever told me I’d have to do this one day” challenges called, “moving to a bigger office.” When that day comes, you’ll discover that you don’t purchase “furniture,” you purchase “systems.” And you’ll learn all about the relative merits of “open systems” or “closed systems.” Soon, you’ll do what most people like you do when their company has the good fortune to grow: Find someone to hire temporarily as a project manager to  handle everything related to the move. But before you do, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with some of their language and review a checklist of items you’ll be discussing for the first time. To give you some help, we’ve developed the following guide to office furniture lingo.

Panel systems

No one likes cubicles, but they’re a way of life in an office. Give your employees some private space to conduct business, or at least watch YouTube videos in peace, with a cool panel system. These are adaptable to any need you might have, and can be re-arranged to aid in productivity.


office chair fun

(Photo: Richard Waldie via Flickr)

There are no such things as “chairs” in the world of office furniture. There is seating. Desk seating. Tables seating. Seating systems. Seeing as your employees are going to be spending a majority of their lives sitting down, it’s a good idea to give them the best comfort you can afford. Hence, quality seating should be your next priority. Also bear in mind that you’ll be needing conference seating, casual seating, stackable seating,  guest seating and occasionally, you’ll even need something called  occasional seating.

Private offices

lego worker
(Photo: Herval via Flickr)

Private offices are the places where you find people who aren’t working in panel systems. Furniture for private offices is typically reserved for people who talk loudly on the phone, do anything with bookkeeping or ever have to lay-off employees.

Conference room

Conceived as a space for group meetings that will impress clients and others who visit your offices, the conference room furniture usually costs a lot, but the room is  terribly under utilized. Typically, it becomes the hidden office of someone who works in a panel system.  In the conference room, you’ll need visual boards (fancy whiteboards), modular tables, and comfortable seating. You also need  an HDTV with a wifi device that allows you to display anything on your iPad or computer: something like the Google Chromebox or Apple TV.

Huddle, meeting, training, kitchen, break rooms

These variously-sized rooms all have one thing in common: tables and chairs (seating systems). You’ll need whiteboards and a big monitor in each one of these. Also, they, like the conference room, will become secret offices of people who work in panel systems.

Reception area

Like the conference room, the reception area should tell the story of your company. Focus, here, is less on function and more on style. This is where clients get their first (and hopefully irresistible) taste of what they’re buying into. If you should have an HDTV monitor in the reception area, don’t call it an HDTV monitor; call it “Digital Signage.”

Filing and storage

tallest-file-cabinet(Photo: Samuel Yates’ Untitled (Minuet in MG) via

Probably not the most flashy element of putting together an office, but perhaps the most important. Where and how are you going to store documents? Standalones? Filing islands? Wall units? These are essential things to consider

Other terms you’ll hear when planning an office move or expansion

Floor-to-ceiling wall solutions. Accessories (i.e. clocks, trash receptacles, keyboard trays, footrests, lumbar supports, etc.). Artwork. Acoustic baffles. (And many, many more.)

(Featured Photo: Jonathan Boeke via Flickr)