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Commercial vs Residential Furniture: What’s the Difference?

Learn the differences between commercial and residential furniture. Read on to find out why commercial furniture is important to your office design.

When shopping for furniture for your office space or dining venue, it is prudent to differentiate between commercial design and residential furnishings. Unlike residential furniture, commercial furniture, popularly known as contract furniture, is designed to handle potential tear and wear from heavy regular traffic. The basic parameters that will help you differentiate the two are:

1. Durability

Although commercial and residential furniture may look similar, there are considerable differences in the durability of the materials used. For commercial design furniture (both tables and seats) the manufacturers consider the fact that the contract grade furniture is subject to constant use by different people.

As a result, they are made of tougher wood, and some are finished using polyurethane coatings to protect the woods from high levels of tear, wear, and constant cleaning. Commercial furniture also tends to use thicker materials to endure heavier weights. In this case, the live edge standing desk is 1.89 inch thick on its surface and can withstand up to 220lb of weight.

The metal frames can be powder coated and baked to increase their resistance to flaking and rusting. The powder coating also creates a thick finish which a relatively smooth surface to prevent dust accumulation.

The commercial furnishing seats can also be covered in foam padding of different densities, fire resistance, and firmness. Unlike residential furniture, commercial furniture may come with stringent safety codes such as CAL 133 at an additional small fee. Finishing foams have different levels of firmness and density. Although firmer foams have larger weight and density, last longer, and are more comfortable, they are relatively expensive.

2. Practicability and Ease of Use

Practicability and ease of use are crucial components for residential design and commercial furniture. However, commercial premises require extremely reliable furniture. They should be aesthetically pleasing to visually represent the brand, particularly if your retail space is open to the target consumers.

In a nutshell, commercial office furniture needs to be practical and provide flexibility and functionality. Their beauty should also tune with the respective commercial activity.

3. Warranty

On average, commercial office furniture offers a three-year warranty for wood furniture and a lifetime guarantee for metal chairs. Residential pieces have a one-year guarantee and 1-6 months for metallic chairs.

4. Custom Pieces

Most offices, shops, and restaurants may require custom furniture types to address their specific needs directly. For instance, a radio station or a recording studio may require customized tables and seats to accommodate the associated rack gear. Shops may call for personalized displays for the merchandise, while law firms may require customized seats and tables for regular meetings.

Customized furniture is common in professional establishments as opposed to residential settings. If you find custom furniture in residential places, they are considered luxury appointments. Most homeowners are comfortable with consumer-grade furniture, which suits most home needs and is more affordable.

5. Strength

For most residential bar stools and wood chairs, the average weight is about 250 Ibs, while most commercial space bar stools and wooden chairs have a weight capacity of about 350 Ibs. This commercial furniture is made of mortise and tenon joints and is strengthened using screws, glue, and H or D stretches for additional strength.

Metal commercial grade furniture has a gauge between 16 and 18, while residential furniture is often made using 22-24 steel frame gauges.

6. Build Materials

The building materials for the residential and commercial furniture vary depending on the customer's budget. Ideally, there is no difference in build material for both usages. The difference becomes more prevalent with upscale offerings and higher-tier products that last longer but cost more.

7. Testing and Accreditation

Commercial grade furniture passes strict testing by third parties. The most common testing third parties are ASTM, ANSI/UL, and BIFMA. Some of the quality tests they carry are:

  • Leg strength tests
  • Drop test
  • Stability tests
  • Backrest strength tests

8. Cost

The overall cost of furniture may vary significantly depending on the desire and needs of the buyer. Commercial tables and seats tend to be relatively more expensive than the average cost of home furnishing, basically because most offices and shops require customization.

Setting up a shop or office's interior may be costly, but essential for most commercial activities.

If you are a homeowner, you can do away with much expenditure because there are many price tiers for the two categories. For example, many homeowners spare less or no expenses when furnishing their dream homes, while many shops can get shop-fitting at reasonable prices.


Commercial furniture is often relatively more expensive than residential furniture, but can withstand high tear and wear from increased traffic. Starting and running businesses has never been easy.

Most businesses require customized furniture to suit specific activities.

But do you know you can minimize digging deep into your pocket for the furnishing? All you need is a reliable company with high-quality furniture that can stand the test of time. The resilience of both residential and commercial furniture is the key to reducing numerous replacements and purchases.

At Juniper Office, we offer unique, high-quality furniture products for successful companies. Contact us today to get the best business solutions, products, and professional services that guarantee a high return on your investment.