Budget, Commercial, Heirloom: Black Office Collections

Don’t you just love the way black office furniture seems to bridge the gap between traditional and contemporary, between warm and cool and between professional and homey? So do we! Black goes with nearly everything, which is why it has become such a popular choice in offices around the world, but not every black furniture set is created equal. Before taking the plunge into purchasing one of these tall, dark and handsome office sets, be sure to consider how much you want to spend, how much you want to assemble and how long you want your furniture to last. Here’s a quick snapshot of three of our most popular black lines here at NBF:

The Budget Option: The Sauder Edge Water Collection is an attractive and functional group of furniture that you’ll be able to enjoy in your office while saving a good chunk of cash. Members of this collection have a beautiful Estate Black finish and are constructed of laminate and engineered wood. The backs of most items are unfinished, meaning they must be placed up against a wall. Furthermore, every piece in this selection ships to you ready to assemble, so be sure to keep your tool belt handy!

The Pros: Beautiful, functional, affordable

The Cons: Does not ship assembled, not designed for heavy use

edge water

The Commercial Option: The Kathy Ireland & Martin Tribeca Loft Black Collection was designed to provide long-lasting beauty and reliability for corporate and home offices alike. From desks and cabinets to bookcases and hutches, every member of this set is artfully constructed using genuine hardwoods and veneers to ensure durability that you can trust. You’ll be able to enjoy using this group of office furniture for years to come, and striking features such as glass door storage spaces on executive desks give it a unique edge.

The Pros: Beautiful, functional, ships fully assembled, will last for years

The Cons: More expensive, wood veneer may dent or scratch easily

tribeca loft black

The Heirloom Option: The Hooker Telluride Collection is a grouping of statement pieces that you’ll be able to pass on to your children and they’ll be able to pass on to their children. Like Tribeca Loft Black, members of this grouping are constructed of hardwood solids and wood veneers, but these pieces take fine furniture to a more artistic level. Crown molding and picture frame details create a truly elegant appearance, while genuine leather inlays on desk tops are both beautiful and functional, preventing the top from getting scratched while you write. The bookshelves and hutches in this collection even feature interior lights so that you can proudly display your best décor.

The Pros: Beautiful, functional, ships fully assembled, will last for years, intricate and unique details, leather desk top won’t dent or chip

The Cons: Most expensive


Brand Spotlight: DMI Furniture

DMI Furniture, Inc. was first founded in 1911 in Huntingburg, Indiana, and was originally called the Huntingburg Furniture Company. Even in the very beginning, the brand focused on quality and customer value; in fact, DMI believes and is guided by the philosophy that “Design Changes Everything”. Those values remain strong today, making DMI Office Furniture one of NBF’s top brands. Here are a few of our favorite DMI Collections:

Causeway Collection

DMI Causeway Collection

The Causeway Collection from DMI offers modular furniture at its finest and most stylish. These pieces may be used in many different configurations so as to address the needs and size constraints of many different businesses, including both small companies and large corporations. This collection also offers a more modern look, with clean lines, glass panels and fresh color contrasts, including honey maple with white, mocha with white and mahogany and white. The laminate construction ensures durability in highly trafficked areas, and the design promises high style and functionality in any working environment. Best of all, this collection overs flexibility; a growing company can easily move furniture and rearrange to create the ideal set up for whatever their current needs may be.

Antigua Collection

DMI Antigua Collection

This collection features high sophistication and elegance, with traditional details and embellishments. The West Indies Cherry finish provides a warm, distinct look. The desks and tables in the Antigua Collection also feature a smooth parquet top, adding visual interest. The antique appearance of these pieces is sure to delight many with more traditional tastes.

Rue De Lyon Collection

Rue De Lyon Collection from DMI Furniture

This collection is highly traditional in style with rich color and elegant curves. The Rue De Lyon Collection is ideal for work environments where professionalism is valued, such as an attorney’s office. This truly attractive collection features crown and base moldings, picture frame doors, classic arch details and is constructed out of maples solids and cherry veneers. The finish, Ruby Cabernet, is distinct and offers warmth to any surrounding.

A Brief History of NBF: 1995 – 2005


It’s time for the third installment of our 40th anniversary mini-series—A Brief History of NBF! This month, we’ll touch on a few of the milestones that National Business Furniture accomplished between the years of 1995 through 2005.

The New Headquarters. NBF’s team of furniture experts continued to grow, and more space was needed to hold them all. That’s why the company relocated to the City Center at historic 735 North Water Street where its headquarters remain to this day. Executive suites line the entire fourth floor of the building and are used as miniature working showrooms for outside sales representatives to show to their customers who are curious about a certain line of furniture. Plus, employees get a pretty nice view of the Milwaukee River from up there.

The Online Catalogs. Due to the fast rise of the internet, NBF launched its very first website in the year 2000. The new online catalog provided 24 hour service and allowed customers to shop for a much wider range of products than the NBF catalog could display.

NBF Catalog 2000

The Olympics Broadcast Commercial. In 2004, National Business Furniture tried out a new marketing experiment by broadcasting a 30 second long commercial during the summer Olympics.

The Hardcover Catalog. Soon after, NBF introduced its special-edition hardcover catalog for a select list of loyal customers. This eye-catching catalog provided a more durable source of reference that would more easily stand up to frequent handling.  The hardcover NBF catalog is still sent to our top customers today.

The Outside Sales Team. Unlike most other catalog companies and online retailers, we know how important it is to receive live assistance from a real expert in the field. That’s why in the early to mid-2000s we put a major focus on increasing and improving the NBF outside sales team. No matter if you’re outfitting an enormous space with furniture or you just need some design help, our outside sales representative are available in most areas across the United States to assist you with your furniture needs.

Thanks for reading this segment of A Brief History of NBF! Stay tuned next month when we’ll be doing our final segment: 2005 to the present day!

Meeting Culture: What It Is and How to Improve It

conference etiquette

According to a survey released by Clarizen and Harris Poll, the average American office employee spends more than nine hours each week prepping for or attending meetings. It’s a huge fraction of time for workers; unfortunately, it might not be productively spent. While everyone can agree that sometimes meetings aren’t their favorite past-time, they do serve a purpose. They provide an environment in which employees can gather, share ideas and collaborate on projects, campaigns and strategy. All that said, many experts argue that it isn’t meetings themselves, but instead the meeting culture.

Is your meeting culture lacking?  Here are some signs that it might not be as great as you want it to be:

  1. Meeting attendants are clearly disengaged. This may take the form of blatant cell phone use.
  2. Meeting attendants are clearly uncomfortable. Maybe they are rubbing their neck or constantly adjusting their position, trying to get comfortable in their chair.
  3. Workers complain about how long meetings are. If your meetings are going over an hour, it may be time to reevaluate if that time frame is absolutely necessary
  4. Your meetings end without clear action points for each member to now perform on their own or in smaller teams.

If you think you’re in need of improving your meeting culture, it’s vital to consider meeting time frames and meeting attendants. Ensure that the time needed is appropriate and that every participant is necessary. If meetings are too long and individuals see no benefit to being in the meeting, they are sure to disengage very quickly, which is not only distracting to others, but also puts a damper on productivity if, instead of working, the unneeded employee is stuck in a meeting.

Another necessary component of positive meeting culture is to ensure that each meeting is useful for all. Creating informed action items for each attendant from the meeting discussion can help make meetings more valuable for employees and for the company as a whole. Lastly, outfitting any meeting or conference room with comfortable seating is essential, especially if you consistently hold longer meetings.

Our Five Favorite Virtual Visit Collections

In early 2014, we rolled out our live video chat platform, known as Virtual Visit, to help our customers feel more confident when shopping for furniture online. Need a little help before you call our furniture experts for a demo? Check out our five favorite Virtual Visit desk collections that we love to show off:

At Work by NBF Signature Series: This sleek, modern collection of office furniture is one of our best-selling lines due to its sharp looks and convenient versatility. The large grouping includes desks, tables, storage units and filing cabinets—everything you need to work productively. Want a closer look at the brushed metal framework or espresso laminate work surfaces? Our Virtual Visit advisors are standing by to help!

at work office furniture

Fulton by Kathy Ireland & Martin Furniture: If you’re looking for something with a little more substance, then give the Fulton Collection a try. This grouping is an artful blend of traditional and contemporary, which means it will look great in offices of nearly any style. Plus, this collection was designed by none other than renowned former super model Kathy Ireland, so you know it will bring a bold, beautiful look to your office space. Special features include convertible keyboard trays, full extension drawers and a deep, dark espresso finish that’s almost black. You can get a live demo of any of these features; all you have to do is ask the Virtual Visit team.

fulton office furniture

Via by Sauder Office Furniture: Two-tone furniture is in, and the Via Collection by Sauder is your ticket to a trendy office. Classic cherry surfaces with soft black accents make these furnishings really stand out, and a high-gloss Eversheen top coat on the desk tops lends a truly unique look. Call in today to find out how this collection will look in your workspace.


sauder office furniture

Antigua by DMI Furniture: For those who love rich, traditional style, the Antigua Collection by DMI is a solid and reliable choice. The West Indies Cherry finish is soft and welcoming, while the bun feet and fluted pilasters will make your office look regal and refined. Don’t forget to ask our showroom advisors for a close up of the unique parquet desk top designs.


antigua office furniture

Contemporary by NBF Signature Series: Another one of our exclusive furniture lines, the Contemporary Collection comes in warm finishes with metal hardware that will soften the look of your space, helping you to feel a little more at home even when you’re hard at work. Login to Virtual Visit so that or advisors can show you just how much storage space this grouping has to offer!

contemporary office furniture

Whether you have a very specific feature that you want our advisors to demonstrate or you just want us to show you some of our favorite desks, you’ll have all of your questions answered when you call in to Virtual Visit!

How and Why You Should Add a Coffee Bar to Your Workplace

Coffee Bars in the Workplace

A coffee or café bar can prove to be a wonderful addition to any office. Not only do these areas provide a designated location for workers to fuel up throughout the day, they also encourage workers to take a break to mingle with other employees who they may not see very often. These chance encounters, referred to as “collisions”, have been shown to drastically improve the performance of knowledge workers.

Coffee bars in the workplace are a continuously growing trend. They can easily be incorporated into a break room using extra counter space or an additional table, in an office corridor or even in a reception area. A coffee bar doesn’t have to be fancy; instead, it just needs to be an area that is functional, easy to use and large enough to accommodate more than one person. The essentials include:

Ample Surface Space


The Standing Height Mobile Folding Buffet Table and the Fixed Leg Utility Table with Lower Shelf will be great additions to any break room.

Fixings for a Great Cup of Coffee

Coffee Supplies

Did you know that NBF offers all of these products? It’s true. Find 12 Coffee Cup Filters, Vanilla Caramel Coffee Creamer, Hazelnut Coffee Creamer and Regular Classic Roast Coffee, all at NBF.com.

Tables and Chairs to Support Employees

Break room chairs and tables sets

Both the Square Breakroom Table and Chair Set and the Cafe au Lait Oversized Chairs and Round Standard Table Set are sure to support employees looking to take a break.

Some Type of Coffee Maker

Coffee Maker

Coffee makers, like this Two Station Commercial Coffee Brewer, can help keep employees happy in the mornings.

So many of us enjoy a good cup of coffee, and many workers are bound to be thrilled at the mere thought of free cup of it. It’s important to note, though, that the focus doesn’t have to be on just coffee; adding tea and maybe even soda and snacks are also great options. A coffee or café bar encourages movement and productivity in the office space.

Office Besties: The Importance of Friendships in the Workplace


If you’re one of those people who feels guilty for chatting it up with your cubicle neighbor for a few minutes each day, then stop what you’re doing! So long as you aren’t spending an exuberant amount of time away from your work, there’s no reason to feel bad about taking a break from time to time to form friendships with your co-workers. Take a look at a few of the benefits of having an office bestie or two:

Increased Engagement. Whether you come into work early to beat rush hour or you go shopping on your lunch breaks, all of us do little things in an attempt to achieve a better work-life balance. But what about finding that balance right there in the office? What many employers fail to realize is that the greatest employee engagement stems not from a promotion or paycheck, but from the everyday interactions that go on behind the scenes. People who form strong bonds with their co-workers often report feeling more connected to the company as a whole, many even saying that they would turn down a higher paying position if it meant they would not get along with their co-workers. According to a recent article by Ragan, most employees believe that having friends at work is the most crucial element toward achieving a happy work life, and many adults have even met at least one of their best friends while on the job.

Increased Productivity. Think about it: most of us full-time employees spend more time with our co-workers than with our best friends outside of work, or even our own families. Due to the amount of time spent at the office, the social connections that are made between co-workers are an enormous factor when it comes to the overall health and wellbeing of the individual not only at work, but outside of the office as well. Whether co-workers are venting to one another about their workload or shooting the breeze about what their weekend plans are, casual conversations between office besties help to significantly relieve stress, leading to more productive employees and a more effective business as a whole. Although we may need to spend more time working than we might like, having a comrade to share that time with makes it a little less daunting and a little more fun.

Increased Anniversaries. If more employee engagement leads to more employee productivity, then you can bet that more productivity leads to longer work anniversaries. That’s right, the happier employees are, the longer they will want to continue working for your company. Good co-workers can make our jobs less stressful and more enjoyable, which can make going into the office day after day a lot easier. No matter if your job is high stress or completely boring, office besties can help relieve those negative feelings by giving you breaks from your workload throughout each day. Because employers see the value in keeping long-term employees, there has been an influx of collaboration-sprouting trends, including the increasingly popular open office layout complete with casual meeting spaces and lounge areas. It’s this focus on wellbeing and mental health that keeps employees staying with companies for five, ten or more years.