What Is Contract Grade Furniture

When furnishing an office or a commercial space, the furniture grade can significantly affect functionality and aesthetic appeal. Therefore, choosing the appropriate furniture for the intended use is essential, as the demands of a commercial space differ considerably from those of a residential area.

There are two main types of furniture to consider: contract-grade furniture (also called commercial furniture or office furniture) and residential-grade furniture. This article will discuss the advantages of contract-grade furniture and why it is worth the extra investment.

The Durability of commercial grade furniture

The primary difference between commercial and residential furniture is their construction. People will use furniture in commercial environments more frequently than in residential settings. Additionally, the users may care for and respect the furniture differently than if it was in their home. Contract-grade furniture must be durable and made to withstand the wear and tear of frequent everyday use by many people. Contract-grade furniture uses high-quality materials to withstand heavy use and wear and tear over time. As a result, the furniture is less likely to break, chip, or wear out quickly, which can save money in the long run by reducing the need for frequent replacement.

In contrast, residential furniture is designed with comfort, style, and cost in mind, so it may not be as durable as contract furniture. In addition, trends are constantly changing, with people updating their homes more frequently than a workspace. As residential furniture has become more disposable and single-use, the days of passing a piece of furniture from one generation to the next are long gone. Therefore, to save money, the quality of workmanship in residential furniture is not the same as in commercial furniture.

What materials are used in contract-grade furniture construction?

Here are some of the common materials used in the construction of contract-grade furniture:

  1. Steel: Steel is a strong and durable material commonly used to construct contract-grade furniture. Often the frame of chairs, tables, and other pieces of furniture that require structural support is made with steel.
  2. Solid Wood: Solid wood, such as oak or walnut, is commonly used to construct contract-grade furniture. It is durable and can withstand heavy use over time, perfect for furniture that requires stability.
  3. High-Density Foam: The cushions of contract-grade furniture often use High-density foam. It provides users comfort and support while retaining its shape over time.
  4. Plywood: Plywood is a strong and durable material commonly used to construct contract-grade furniture. It is often used for the backs and sides of chairs and bookcase shelves.
  5. Fabric: Fabrics used in contract-grade furniture are durable and easy to clean. They are often made of synthetic polyester or nylon and can withstand regular use without showing signs of wear and tear.
  6. Leather: Leather is a durable and luxurious material commonly used to construct high-end contract-grade furniture. Chairs, sofas, and other furniture that require high comfort and durability may use leather fabrics.

Overall, the materials used in the construction of contract-grade furniture are durable and long-lasting while also providing comfort and style. In addition, using high-quality materials ensures that the furniture can withstand heavy use over time and reduces the need for frequent replacements.


Another difference between the two types of furniture is their aesthetic appeal. Contract-grade furniture design is stylish and aesthetically pleasing while still functional and durable. The furniture design enhances a commercial space’s overall look and feel and creates a positive impression on customers and guests.

Commercial-grade furniture usually has various products with a large selection of finishes & fabric options. Unless it’s considered “quick-ship”, commercial furniture is almost always made to order. Made-to-order furniture is specified and manufactured to fit a particular space, match a certain aesthetic, or meet specific functional requirements.

Alternatively, residential furniture is typically manufactured in lots, stored locally, and has few options. Manufacturing residential furniture in large volumes for retail stores has lower costs due to high volume economies of scale.


When designing a workspace, you want more options to match the overall office aesthetics. Therefore, designers can often customize contract-grade furniture to meet a commercial space’s needs and requirements. Choices of finishes, fabric colors & grades, layouts, and sizes are typically available when selecting commercial-grade furniture.

Safety of Contract-Grade Furniture

Contract-grade furniture is subject to more rigorous safety standards than residential furniture, which is especially important in public spaces. These safety standards ensure that the furniture’s design reduces the risk of injury or accidents, such as tripping, tipping over, or collapsing. In addition, contract furniture accommodates a large swath of everyday users, whereas residential furniture may serve only a specific subset of users and only on special occasions.

Warranty and Support

Residential furniture usually comes with a short-term warranty, such as 60 days after purchase, and covers manufacturing defects. However, commercial-grade furniture often has a multi-year warranty and covers user-related issues under normal use. When purchasing furniture from a commercial dealer, the dealer typically handles all warranty concerns rather than directing you to work directly with the manufacturer.

Furniture Buying Process

Since contract-grade furniture is often customized to meet a commercial space’s specific needs and requirements, a furniture dealer is usually used to help determine the many finishes and fabrics available with contract-grade furniture. In addition, since commercial grade furniture is built-to-order, the lead time for delivery can be in the weeks, or even months, from placement of the order, and delivery often needs to be coordinated with the construction of the office. Finally, installing the furniture, determining the power and data access, and meeting all local codes and regulations are usually beyond the typical office manager or facilities personnel’s scope.

Dealers like us source our products from high-end manufacturers and help you from the beginning of floor layout through to the final installation. We guarantee that the furniture meets the space’s specific needs, is of high quality, and is correctly installed.

Buying residential-grade furniture, on the other hand, is much simpler. You purchase residential furniture from retail box stores that stock the furniture at the store or in a nearby warehouse. A trade-off of this convenience is that the options are limited to the most popular colors and fabrics.

Cost of Contract-grade Furniture

Contract-grade furniture is generally more expensive than residential furniture because the design will withstand heavy use, is more rigorously tested, has a better warranty, is more customizable, and is often made from higher-quality materials. On the other hand, residential furniture is designed for personal use, uses a lower-cost range of materials, has limited styles, and is mass-produced, making it more affordable.

When choosing between contract and residential furniture, it’s essential to consider the specific needs of your space. For example, if you’re furnishing a commercial room with heavy use, contract-grade furniture is the better choice as it will withstand the rigors of daily use. However, if you’re looking to furnish a home or apartment, residential furniture may be a better choice as it is more readily available and is generally more affordable.


In conclusion, contract-grade furniture is better suited for commercial spaces due to its durability, safety, customization options, warranty, and support. While it may be more expensive than residential furniture, it is a worthwhile investment in the long run, as it will withstand heavy use and reduce the need for frequent replacements.

Choosing the right furniture for your space is an important decision. We recommend you work with a furniture dealer or expert to ensure you get the best quality and value for your investment. Then, you can create a functional and stylish space with the right furniture that meets all your needs.

The first step is to contact a commercial-grade furniture dealer to discuss your needs and see if contract-grade furniture is right for your project.