Your first time ordering conference furniture can seem overwhelming. Here’s what our furniture consultants think about when planning a conference room – all the considerations, pitfalls, and solutions. 

Flat-Pack, Partially Assembled, or Pre-Assembled

When to go with flat-pack or partially assembled: Your building could preclude you from buying fully pre-assembled furniture. Doors, windows, elevators and staircases are often too narrow for large pre-assembled furniture. When you get flat-pack furniture, you’ll need to think ahead to the assembly process and hire contractors if necessary.

When to go with pre-assembled: If a piece of pre-assembled furniture is on your short list, you need to get serious with a measuring tape and make sure it will fit through every entryway it needs to pass through. Pre-assembled can be beneficial if the furniture changeout has to happen very rapidly for some reason or another.

If you aren’t sure about this step, get in touch with our space planning and furniture consultants.

Space Measurement & Planning for Conference Rooms 

Table Sizing vs. Capacity  

The rule of thumb is one person per foot of table. Given that two or more people are seated at the end, and the table has two sides, that’s a bit over 2 feet of space per person.  

General Layout  

Presentational focus: The focal point of the room will be the presenter.   

Videoconferencing focus: The focal point of the room will be a large monitor or TV set, and there are a few popular layouts. One is a table pushed up against the wall on one side to form a half-circle around the video monitor and webcam. Another is a boat-shaped or rectangular table with one end pushed against the wall, so that the video monitor sits at one head of the table.  

In either case, try to position the focal point of the room away from the door. People should be able to move in and out of the room without disrupting the meeting.  


A good conference room is at least partially sound-isolated from its surroundings. If distracting noise can easily make its way into or out of the conference room, nobody will want to use it. Soundproofing panels are an obvious solution, but even some soft furniture can somewhat dampen an echo. 

Setting Expectations for the Furniture Purchase & Delivery 

If the theme of this guide is avoiding surprises, this is where you extend that courtesy to everyone else in the office. 

Buy-in from relevant staff 

Always remember to consult the people who will be affected by a furniture change. This is especially true if you’re changing personal furniture like chairs and desks, but this should still be a consideration for conference furniture. 

  • At the very least, people like to have input into their own environment. 

  • The current furniture could be serving an important workflow in a way you’ll need to replicate. 

  • The current furniture could even be accommodating a disability unknown to you! 


Work interruptions  

Make sure to schedule the furniture delivery and changeout in the least obtrusive way you can. A long warning is vital here – allow people to move critical meetings away from that timeframe. 

IT considerations  

Your IT staff will often need to be involved. New tables, computer storage and shelving could mean rewiring power and data cables. Some organizations even set their computers to lock after power interruptions, and the IT staff could be required to unlock the machine used for presentation. 

Choosing Tables, Chairs, & Other Furniture  

Selecting a Conference Table 

Table materials: Laminate is the most popular material by a fairly wide margin. Wood grain laminates (or wood veneer) can feel either warm and residential or impressive and traditional, depending on the rest of the space’s aesthetic. Speckled laminate can range from modern/industrial to very serious and formal. Solid wood is much more expensive than laminate or wood veneer, but it can be easier to repair certain types of damage. 

Table shape: Rectangular tables tend to look formal. Racetrack tables, which have straight sides and semicircular ends, have a more modern aesthetic. Boat-shaped tables, with straight ends and slightly rounded sides, are very popular for videoconference-focused rooms. 

Edge profile: In general, a rounded edge will withstand wear and tear better than a sharper edge. Rounded edges are thicker, and depending on the material they can be better suited to sanding and touching up. 

Power grommets and wiring: The last thing you want is a mess of power cords hanging between the conference table and the wall. It’s inconvenient, it looks bad, and it’s a major trip hazard. Your conference table needs some kind of power solution such as grommet holes or integrated power strips. 

Selecting Conference Chairs 

Chairs are the most important part of a conference room. We even recommend that if you’re on a tight budget, the chairs are most likely the first thing you should update. 

Arms or Armless: Conference chairs are usually better with arms. That said, the material matters. Upholstered arms can look great, but if you’re planning on pushing chairs under a table, you might want to go with unupholstered arms. Over time, the table edge will wear down more delicate materials and make your chairs look shabby. Plastic and metal tend to hold up better. 

Adjustability: Conference chairs need basic adjustability like height and maybe tilt. Other chair controls can be nice, but you sacrifice long term durability for a chair that isn’t meant to be sat in for very long periods.  

Get Help if You Need It! 

If that seems like a lot (it is), you should get help from a furniture consultant who navigates this process every day. The article covers all the essentials, but there are all kinds of little nice-to-haves that an experienced space planner can help you with. You can get in touch with one of our furniture experts to make sure everything’s in perfect order.


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