First, is the frame of the furniture. How well is it put together? How much weight will it support without straining? As our society becomes heavier, the old standards are being tested and not all manufacturers assemble their pieces to guarantee rigidity and longevity.
Second, is the finish. Is the finish colorfast? How well will it resist scuffs, moisture, and chips? Again, not all manufacturers guarantee their products. For the abuse that a waiting room receives, choosing a manufacturer that offers a life time guarantee is a sound investment.
Lastly, but certainly not the least, is the fabric itself. The Association for Contract Textiles (ACT) has set standards for measuring the performance of textiles used in commercial settings. These measure flammability, wet & dry crocking (measures a fabric's colorfastness), ultra-violet light resistance (measures a fabric's resistance to fading), physical properties (measures a fabric's resistance to pilling, seam slippage, and tearing), and abrasion (a fabric's resistance to wear from rubbing). Fabrics used in commercial furniture typically exceed all minimum standards set by ACT. Those used in residential furniture may or may not.
So, after running the length of the field in planning and executing your new dental office design, don't stop short of the goal line by deciding to save a few bucks with residential or office supply discount furniture. Protect the investment you've made in your office design, branding image, and the furniture itself by choosing commercial furniture with a lifetime guarantee.
James is a regular lecturer and writer on dental office design, green design, and interior branding and also serves as an Adjunct Instructor in the interior design department at The Art Institute of Indianapolis. With offices in Dallas, Indianapolis, New York, and Wisconsin, James is on the road regularly meeting with clients and speaking with dentists about their design needs. His work has been featured in Building Excellence in Design and Construction, Indianapolis Woman, Metropolis, Metropolitan Home, Home Decor Buyer, Elle Decor, Indianapolis Monthly, Indianapolis Home, Shelter, and The Columbian.