Wood Veneer Vs. Laminate

What are the differences between wood veneer and laminate? It’s a question that pops up a lot when shopping for office furniture, as both options are popular furniture finishes, especially when it comes to office desks.

Are you currently debating about which option to go with for your new office furniture? Here are some distinguishing features of each to make it easier for you to choose which one is best for you and your working needs.

Laminate

Laminate

Laminate is a man-made product. This means that it is stronger and that it tends to be heat and scratch resistant, making it easier to care for than real veneer. Due to this, you don’t need to be as careful with laminates like you do with veneers. It’s also much easier to produce laminate products and, as a result, the prices of laminate products are usually very economical, making them a more budget-friendly choice in comparison. A downfall of laminate material is that, since it’s a manufactured surface, you will not get the natural variations and true wood grains that you see with real wood veneer. However, the color possibilities are endless.

Laminate color possibilities

Wood Veneer

Wood Veneer - Natural Look

Wood veneer, on the other hand, is a thin layer of real wood that’s applied to the surface. Because it’s a natural material, wood veneer has a richer and more varied look. Since more effort goes into crafting a veneer top, they are usually priced a bit higher than laminate alternatives. Wood veneer is softer and more susceptible to scratches and dings when compared to laminate, so we recommend using desk pads and coasters to protect your surface.

Choosing between laminate and veneer really comes down to durability and consistency versus natural beauty and variation. Consider which of these benefits is more important to you to help make your decision.

How to Set Up a Reception Room

The Purpose of a Reception Room

A reception room, also referred to as a waiting room, welcomes guests, clients, patients and other visitors to your office or facility. Typically the very first room that visitors encounter, reception areas are the rooms responsible for shaping any individual’s first impression of an office’s space and culture, thereby making them quite important in the grand scheme of things. After all, most research seems to conclude that first impressions last.

Front Desk and Receptionist Seating2-20 blog image 2

Front desks serve the dual purpose of not only welcoming guests, but also serving as a workstation for a receptionist or administrative assistant. So how do you go about finding the right one?  Firstly, the impression that the desk makes should be at the forefront of your mind. Is it a welcoming design? Will it be easy for guests to see anyone who is seated behind it?

It’s also essential for this front desk to adequately meet all of your receptionists’ needs in an efficient way. Is there enough storage? Is there enough room for only one receptionist, or can two easily be accommodated? Make sure that the size of the front desk will adequately fit your space and that your receptionist/administrative assistant is provided with an ergonomic chair for support throughout the workday.

Reception and Guest Seating

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As reception chairs are placed in areas that see high foot traffic, durability and quality are hugely important. It’s also critical to factor in the comfort and ease of your guests. Even though they may not be waiting too long, depending on the circumstance of course, it is still best to seat them comfortably, as waiting is not anyone’s favorite activity – a plush guest chair is sure to make it more bearable. You will also want to ensure that your reception seating can be easily cleaned. Vinyl is therefore a great option for your waiting room seating, as it is not only comfortable and durable, but also incredibly easy to clean.

Occasional Tables

Steel Frame Reception Furniture

  1. End tables – these tables, also referred to as side tables, are typically placed at the sides of furniture pieces, such as guest chairs or sofas, in effort to provide those seating with surface space for resting drinks, reading materials and other such items.
  2. Coffee tables – these tables are usually arranged to be the center of any lounge or reception area. They act both as a functional surface space for storing or setting things and as a decorative piece adding visual interest to the room. These tables are typically round or rectangular and are designed to have a low height in order to accommodate those who are seated.
  3. Sofa/console tables – These tables certainly add a decorative and storage element to a waiting room area. These may be placed anywhere, but most tend to be set nicely against a wall around the parameter of the room.

Entertainment

TV Stand for reception rooms

As stated before, no one loves to wait. Providing some sort of entertainment is certainly necessary in a waiting area so as to keep your guests content.

  1. Media centers – These pieces act as both a storage and display unit for various pieces of media equipment. Media centers may also act as a TV stand.
  2. TV Stands – Adding a TV to your waiting room set up is made an easy process with a TV stand. Most TV stands also include storage so that you can store DVDs, remote controls and reading materials nearby. TV stands are offered in a great range of styles so that you can find one to easily match the rest of your reception room furniture.
  3. Magazine holders – Adding a magazine holder to your waiting room makes it simple to provide and store easily accessible reading materials for guests.

Are you perhaps shopping for a healthcare facility?  Be sure to peruse our blog post covering the topic of healthcare waiting room considerations.

Resources

Sometimes it can also be difficult to envision just what your reception room will look like even when you have all of the pieces purchased. National Business Furniture Design Services uses software that gives an accurate 3-D rendering of what your conference room could look like, and there are many similar programs available. Using such software, of course, helps to ensure that your project will turn out how you envisioned it.

The Benefits of Memory Foam

collageformemoryfoam

Trying to decide between an office chair with a fabricated foam seat and one with a memory foam seat? Although fabricated foam is the most common types of seat support found in desk chairs today, investing in a chair with a memory foam seat could do you a world of good, especially if you are prone to chronic back pain. Take a look at just a few of the benefits that memory foam has to offer.

Body-hugging support: The first and most renowned benefit that memory foam office chair seats have to offer is their ability to relieve pressure on the back by providing body-hugging support. Memory foam was originally developed by NASA in the 1960s to be used as safety precautions for aircrafts. When used in office chairs, the seat cushions support the spine and vertebrate, decreasing pressure on the back while you sit. Memory foam is a smart choice for people who sit in their chairs for hours a day, and it is especially beneficial for those who have bad backs. Although we recommend switching between sitting and standing throughout your work day, many employees do not have access to standing height desks in their office and, as a result, are forced to sit for many hours a day, every day. If you’re required to be seated for more than a couple of hours per day at work, then selecting a chair with a memory foam seat is a great way to relieve some of the pressure that a standard chair can cause.

Temperature regulation: Do you get cold easily at work? A memory foam seat can help with that! Memory foam is made up of polyurethane with certain additives that allow the seat to adjust to your body temperature.  As a result, chairs that have memory foam seats retain more heat than others and can mold their shape to conform with the user as they shift in their seat. With a seat that hugs your body while you sit, you’re sure to stay cozy and warm throughout those cold winter months!

Hypoallergenic properties: If you’re easily irritated by dust and debris, then a memory foam seat can help with that too. Chairs with these seats are often considered to be hypoallergenic, as the memory foam makes them resistant to dust mites and other allergens unlike other seat materials that can trap them in.

Not only does memory foam provide all of these great benefits, but the cost of memory foam has also gone down since it was first introduced as a commercial product decades ago, so upgrading to a chair with a memory foam seat won’t cost you much more than purchasing one with a standard fabricated foam seat. Best of all, memory foam is known to last for several years, so you’ll be able to benefit from it for years to come.

Types of Office Chairs

Office chairs at NBF

Office Chairs

24 Hour Chairs: These chairs are ideal for constant use, as seen in working environments like call centers. They are specified by the manufacturer as being able to withstand this kind of use and are usually designed with extra durable frames, thickly padded seats and backs and a few ergonomic adjustments.

Big and Tall Chairs: Standard chair sizes do not fit all. These chairs, which are rated for over 250 lbs., provide an extra roomy build for those who need more space. Big and tall chairs also include heavy-duty construction to ensure long-lasting use and safe support throughout the work day.

Computer Chairs: These chairs, also called task chairs, are designed specifically to be paired with computer desks. These chairs often feature a few ergonomic adjustments to ensure the customizable comfort of any user. They also have a five star base, typically with rolling casters to ensure smooth movement in an office setting.

Conference Chairs: These chairs are designed to be slightly forward leaning so as to keep users engaged in meetings and discussions. These seating options also usually have very minimal adjustments, as individuals tend not to be seated in them for long periods of time.

Drafting Chairs and Stools: These chairs are designed to be paired with drafting tables, standing height desks and counter-height meeting tables. Many of these stools feature a foot ring to support the user’s feet and a height adjustment in order to best fit the desired working surface.

Ergonomic Chairs: These chairs are complete with numerous adjustments so as to fully support many unique individuals. Some of these important adjustments are seat depth, knee tilt, seat height, back height and lumbar support.

Executive Chairs: These chairs are designed to look impressive, usually with high backs and ample cushion.

Kneel Chairs: Chairs that position the user’s thighs at a 60 to 70 degree angle rather than the normal 90 degree angle of a standard office chair. Kneel chairs are designed to reduce lower back strain by dividing the weight between the seat and knee cushions.

Petite Chairs: As stated earlier, standard chairs simply do not work for everyone. These chairs are designed specifically with petite individuals in mind so as to best address their ergonomic needs in the workplace.

Waiting Room Seating

Beam Seating: One or multiple chairs that are attached to a horizontal metal bar beneath the seat. These chairs may also be referred to collectively as “tandem seating”.

Loveseats: Small sofas or couches that typically seat only two people at a time.

Ottomans: Low seat or footstools without a back or arms. Storage ottomans feature a removable top that reveals a storage compartment within.

Reception Area Chairs: Single person chairs that are typically stationary. Also called guest chairs or side chairs, these seating options can have a four-leg base, sled base or cantilever base.

Sofas: Long, upholstered seating designed for two or more people to sit in at a time. Sofas are also known as couches.

Tablet Arm Chairs: Any variety of chair that has a writing surface attached to one or both of the arms. The tablet may be fixed or may have a swiveling feature.

Other Chair Types

Armless Chairs: Any type of chair that has a back, but does not have arms.

Benches: Whether in a lobby or in a park, benches offer durable seating and a unique looking. Benches typically accommodate more than one individual.

Folding Chairs:  Mostly used for banquets or events, folding chairs are great options for temporary, portable seating. These chairs are easy to set up, take down and store for future occasions.

Stacking Chairs: Stacking chairs bring space-saving design, as they easily stack together when not being used. These options are also portable and usually lightweight, making them an ideal option for wedding seating, fundraiser seating and extra seating for office guests.

The Dos and Don’ts of Buying an Office Chair

buying an office chair

No matter if you’ve just moved into a new office space or you’re looking to replace your old chair, selecting an office chair is a big decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Remember, you’ll be sitting in the chair you choose for hours a day nearly every day. Take a look at our list of DOs and DON’Ts before you take the plunge!

DO – consider the ergonomics of the chair or how adjustable it is. When it comes to your office seating, you’ll want all the right adjustments in all the right places. Chair adjustments might seem unnecessary, but they can completely change how comfortable, how well supported and how productive you are while you work. For a more detailed look into which ergonomic adjustments perform which functions, check out our comprehensive article on the topic.

DON’T – compare apples to oranges. There are a lot of factors that go into determining the price of a chair. Often times, the material and the number of adjustments greatly impact the price. A chair that is priced at $99 and a chair that is priced at $500 may look very similar, but there are bound to be crucial differences that may make the $500 chair a better option for your working needs. However, if you only use your chair or stool sporadically throughout the day, then a less expensive seating option may be just fine for your purposes.

DO – pay special attention to the type of material a chair offers. From mesh and fabric to leather and vinyl, office chairs come in a huge variety of upholsteries and other materials. Check out our breakdown of different types of chair options for a closer look at what type of upholstery might be best for you.

DON’T – go in blindly. Have a budget planned beforehand so you know how much you can spend. You’ll also want to know the specific needs of your workplace. For example, call centers will need chairs that are durable and designed for 24 hour use, while healthcare facilities will need chairs that are not only easy to clean but also able to withstand constant daily use by multiple users.

As there is no one-chair-fits-all solution to office seating, picking the perfect chair can be tough. Be sure to listen to what your body needs and what your office environment calls for when selecting the right chair for you.

Chair Ergonomics

ergonomic infographic

Ergonomics is the study of people’s efficiency in their working environment. A huge portion of any workplace environment is its furniture. Today, many furniture manufacturers and designers understand that they simply cannot have a one-size-fits-all approach to creating furniture, especially when it comes to office chairs. Because of that, many office chairs include ergonomic adjustments, like that of seat height and back height, in order to provide support to numerous individuals despite different body shapes.

Minimum Suggested Ergonomic Adjustments

There are a few recommended ergonomic adjustments to look for when selecting an office chair. These adjustments, when made to suit your unique body, can keep you supported throughout the day, keeping distracting aches and pains away.

  • Adjustable Seat Height: With adjustable seat height, shorter users are able to avoid the discomfort of feet dangling above the ground and taller users do not have to worry about their knees being raised in an uncomfortably high position. This adjustment should be used so that each individual can comfortably rest his or her feet on the ground.
  • Adjustable Seat Depth: Taller individuals need more space in a seat, and the seat depth adjustment will address this issue. Without enough room or enough support, a tall individual is sure to feel undesirable pressure under his or her thighs. On the contrast, shorter individuals require a smaller seat. If the seat is too large, a shorter user will feel pressure behind the knees. Typically, most chairs include 2″ to 3” of seat depth adjustability in order to accommodate most users.
  • Adjustable Synchro-Tilt: Synchro-tilt mechanisms allow the back and seat of a chair to move together in a 2:1 ratio. This is helpful when it comes to maintaining the proper posture while reclining. When seated, all users should have their feet placed flat on the ground. With the synchro-tilt feature, a user can recline while still comfortably resting their feet flat on the ground.
  • Adjustable Arm Height:Individuals will want to keep their arms parallel to the ground and in a position where they are resting comfortably and naturally on the armrests. You will want to avoid shrugging or straining your shoulder, a problem seen when the armrests are too high, and you will want to ensure that elbows are not stressed, which is a result felt when arm rests are too low.
  • Adjustable Back Height: The back of your chair has the very important role of supporting your spine throughout the work day. As the shape of the spine varies from one person to the next, ergonomic seating should include an adjustment for back height. This adjustment slides up and down – it should be adjusted so that the chair’s lumbar curve fits into and supports the user’s lower back curve.
  • Adjustable Lumbar Support: Typically, you can find this adjustment via a ratcheting column on the back of the chair. This column can be moved up or down to suit the individual user.

Additional Ergonomic Adjustments

These additional adjustments can further help to keep you supported as you work.

  • Knee Tilt: A knee tilt mechanism allows the user’s feet to remain flat on the ground. To achieve this action, the pivot point for a knee tilt mechanism is at the front of the chair rather than in the middle of the seat like most office chairs. Because the user can keep his or her feet flat on the ground, there is no pressure exerted on the back of the legs in the process, thus reducing fatigue.
  • Adjustable Headrest: A headrest gives the user a place to rest their head, thereby helping to reduce the weight that the neck must support during recline. If you are experiencing constant neck pain, a chair with a headrest may be a great choice for you.
  • Flip Arms:This adjustment makes it possible to flip the arms up and down or to the side. This feature allows for easier movement, whether for the individual who wants to easily move out of the chair or for the individual who wants to get close to their working surface without the chair arms getting in the way.
  • Adjustable Arm Width:Arms should be resting comfortably, not too close or too far away from the body. This adjustment ensures that individuals won’t feel discomfort from their sides pushing up against the arms of the chair. Likewise, this adjustment also ensures that people won’t need to strain to get their arms to reach the rests.
  • Adjustable Arm Depth: Adjustable arm depth affects the forward and backward motion of the arms. Remember, the arms of your chair should support your elbows, not your wrists. Chairs with this feature are also less likely to bump into the user’s desk throughout the day.
  • Adjustable Arm Pivot: A pivoting action expands on addressing the same issues that adjustable arm depth and width aim to solve. Pivoting arms can accommodate specific tasks, making it so that the arms of your chair won’t get in your way if you are working on a task or project that requires more space.
  • Adjustable Arm Pad Depth: Some users prefer to have their arms resting in plush comfort, while others require less padding. This adjustment lets you go with either option so that your arms are resting exactly as you desire.
  • Adjustable Arm Pad Pivot: Like adjustable arm pad depth, adjustable arm pad pivot adds an extra level of cushioned comfort so that you can work on your projects with ease.
  • Adjustable Foot Ring Height: A foot ring offers a place for users to rest their feet when sitting on a stool. It is an especially important feature when the stool height cannot be adjusted or when the user is sitting at counter height, as the user will be unable to rest his or her feet on the ground. With an adjustable foot ring, all individuals may be accommodated with a place to rest their feet.
  • Adjustable Tilt Tension: This adjustment gives the user the power to determine how much force is needed to tilt or recline in the chair. Some users may prefer little to no force, making it extremely easy to recline, while others prefer the opposite.
  • Tilt Lock: A tilt lock control makes it possible for any individual to lock his or her chair in place during recline so that they won’t need to apply any pressure to the chair to get it to stay in the desired position.

Chairs Around the Office – The ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair

This month, we interviewed one of our Virtual Visit showroom advisors, Nicole Sedivy, about her office chair—the ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair. Of the dozens of chairs in our showroom, what makes this one Nicole’s favorite? Find out below!

mesh chair

Q: What is your favorite thing about your chair?

A: My favorite part about my ProLine Pro Grid High Back Chair is its adjustability and comfort. With all its ergonomic adjustments, I can truly make the seat my own. The thick cushioned seat is extremely soft, and I am comfortable all day long!

Q: Do you use the ergonomic adjustments? Which ones do you use and why?

A:  My favorite ergonomic adjustment is the tilt lock, which I can lock into any position. I really enjoy leaning far back, and this chair has the ability to tilt further than other chairs I have sat in. However, when I need to type at my computer, I can easily adjust the seat back to an upright position. Since I prefer to lean back in my chair, the synchro-tilt keeps the front of my seat closer to the floor, allowing me to keep my feet flat. This increases circulation while relieving pressure on the back of my legs. As a shorter person, I use the seat slider and seat height adjustment to accommodate my smaller legs.

mesh office chair

Q: What do you think about the mesh back and fabric seat? Is it comfortable?

A: The mesh back is very supportive and breathable. The mesh flexes with my back as I move throughout the day. The seat back also curves toward the bottom to provide extra comfort and support near my lower back. I love the fabric seat on this chair! The cushion is really comfortable and definitely my favorite feature of the chair.

Q: What do you think about the look of the chair?

A:  I really like the modern look of the chair. I appreciate the all-black mesh and fabric, as well as the black base. With other fabric color and pattern options to choose from, it is a great choice to match a variety of offices!