Providing and adding extra seating to an office is an important consideration during the initial design or during a later remodel. The seating should be comfortable and plentiful and allow the customer a spot that makes them feel at ease and relaxed. Don’t forget about your staff during breaks and social opportunities, as comfort isn’t just important at their desk. Plus, cleverly designed seating can give an office additional and clever storage.
- Window seating may be created from a strong book case turned on its side. The seat will still serve as a shelf. Simply stack the books flat instead of setting them on their bottom edge. Baskets can be slid onto the shelves to create drawer-like storage. Or, make the window seat a more traditional bench style with storage below the lid/seat. This is a good place to store office files. This style of seating provides extra seating and extra storage.
- Sofas and coaches may be used in offices that are providing services for people who are part of a team, such as couples and parents with their children. If a sofa is appropriate, it may double as a napping spot for those whose office hours never seem to end.
- Chairs or ottomans set below a console table can accommodate children. If the business revolves around children, such as organizations to help teach or support children’s needs, remember to provide child sized seats.
Think Outside the Box
As an office is designed, it is a good idea to make a list of all the reasons that additional seating is needed, how often it’s needed, and who it will serve. If the office needs additional seating to accommodate long weekly, biweekly, or monthly meetings, the additional seating should store easily. A cube with square box stools that slide beneath it should work well. Or, for a casual office setting, a table with a box below to store folding chairs. If the seating is for children, make it size appropriate. If it is for the elderly, make it comfortable but steer clear of large overstuffed chairs that the user sinks into. Sofas may work for couples but not for ones involved in disputes. If the seating is for clients, choose ones that are comfortable and promote a feeling of ease. Once you’ve chosen a style you can explore different materials and fabrics for the seating. Bright colors will brighten moods and help employees stay focused. Darker colors, especially blue, provide a sense of peace. Reds and yellows, when used as the dominate color, can make individuals feel ill at ease or angry. Black and white can be too stark when used extensively. The furniture in an office is often some of the largest expense an office has. Choose good quality, durable, and sturdy furniture. In an office full of antiques, make certain the seating is in good shape. Remember to provide seating that will accommodate your clients various weights so they will be comfortable. Make a list before you start and search according to your budget. The end result will be an office that suits your needs and is pleasing to your staff and customers.