When it comes to choosing office furniture, many businesses are unsure of whether to opt for a classic traditional or modern contemporary style.
What is traditional?
Traditional furniture generally refers to furniture styles from the 19th century or earlier. Typical styles include dark, heavy wood for desks and cabinets. These wooden pieces are usually large in size and often ornately carved, embellished or otherwise decorated. Luxury and richness are common traits among more traditional furniture items.
Traditional seats are also usually large, comfortable and upholstered in a rich leather or luxurious fabric. The traditional office interior would also feature lush carpeting, heavy curtains or patterned blinds, and tasteful accent pieces and decorations. Darker colours are favoured and it would not be unusual to find elegant artwork decorating the walls.
What is modern?
In contrast, modern office furniture moves away from the luxurious and ornate and brings in smooth, crisp and simple designs instead. The heavy wood is replaced with man-made materials such as resin, metal and PVC. When wood is used, lighter tones are more popular in the modern office, and can be wooden laminate or more affordable wood instead of the traditional oaks and mahoganies of the past. Colours grow lighter and bolder, ranging from bright and vibrant to pastel and soothing. Among the colours can be found a higher prevalence of patterns and designs that give texture, colour and form to surfaces.
Many modern styles encompass a minimalist or simpler style that promotes productivity and space optimisation. Practicality replaces luxury and modern designers are creating office furniture that has multitasking features. The styles reflect modern developments like urbanisation and smaller office spaces.
The type of furniture in an office can reflect upon the image of a business. It is one of the first things that clients subconsciously notice and can make a lasting impression. It is useful to weigh up the options carefully before choosing between traditional or modern office furniture.
Pros of traditional furniture
Traditional office furniture can indicate that your business is mature, professional and dependable. It has a more serious and responsible tone, reflecting experience and expertise. Clients are likely to perceive a traditional office as trustworthy, competent, wealthy and steadfast.
As well as this very positive image, traditional office furniture has the benefit of being:
- Durable and high quality
- Timeless and classic
Of course, some younger clients may perceive a traditional office style as old-fashioned and out of date, or boring and overused, or the atmosphere of a traditional office could even be intimidating. The key to designing an impressive yet welcoming traditional office lies in choice features that offer more timeless class than vintage kitsch, that offer flair and personality as well as style.
Another disadvantage of choosing traditional furniture for the office is the cost. Large, solid wood furniture is pricey, and if you are aiming to include some vintage or antique features you can expect to add even more to the bill. However, the additional elegance and comfort can be worth the price tag.
Pros of choosing modern furniture
Modern office furniture communicates to clients and visitors that here is a space that knows what’s fresh and current in the world.
In addition, modern furniture can:
- Improve morale and productivity for employees through motivating colours and décor
- Offer a more diverse range of styles and options
- Be found at more affordable prices
- Offer new and improved features for comfort, health, and productivity
- Better meet the demands of a modern office dynamic
Which suits you best?
If you feel less confident about a particular style, why not consult an expert interior designer to help find office furniture that looks professional and stylish, or an ergonomics expert for furniture that best suits the physical needs of your employees?
In the end, the style you choose should reflect your business image. Businesses dealing in modern or trendy products or services, such as web designers, interior decorators, and marketing specialists, may want an office design that features more modern styles to match the nature of their business, while bankers, accountants and attorneys may opt for a timeless traditional style. Whichever you choose, make the style your own and give it personality with items or colours matching your business image.
Remember, there is nothing stopping you from merging both traditional and modern elements for a truly unique style!