Where is the furniture manufactured?
Will shipping the furniture to your location be costly?
Is the manufacturer reputable; do they have a reliable history?
Is there a guarantee on the furniture? (Don’t worry—you’ll get a lifetime guarantee through NBF!)
How are the parts of the furniture held together? If joins and joints loosen, will you be able to fix them?
Does the manufacturer use wood or veneer from sustainably grown forests?
How thick is the veneer? Can it be easily sanded and retouched, if necessary?
If it’s a laminate, how is it produced and with what materials? Is the result durable?
Does your manufacturer supply a retouching kit or instructions on repairing any scratches or dents to your laminate?
Real Wood vs. Wood Veneer vs. Laminate: What’s the Difference?
Years ago, in a much different environment than I work in now, a coworker said, "We spend more time with each other at work than we do with our families—I'm glad I like you guys." How true, I thought. I still think so today in my corporate office environment. Unless you work with your spouse or teach in your children's school, you likely spend more waking hours in close contact with coworkers than with your family.
The same goes for your office furniture. Even if you sit in the same spot on the couch at home to put your socks on in the morning and watch a show before the news at night, you still can't top the number of hours you sit in your office chair or use your desk or filing cabinet.
If you’re a decision-maker or influencer concerning office purchases at your workplace, there’s a lot to consider when you make the leap to new furniture. You'll be using it every day for years, so it needs to be aesthetically pleasing and functional for the long haul—not to mention durable. Even the graceful among us occasionally slam a drawer or roll their chair into the edge of their desk.
Most of your choices for wood desks come in veneers or laminates. You would be hard-pressed to find a solid wood desk (at a price most any of us could afford) these days. Despite its beauty, solid wood can warp or crack more easily than its veneered counterparts. Here are some facts about veneers and laminates that might help you choose between these 2 viable options. If you have already been desk shopping, you’ll know that veneers tend to be more expensive than laminates. Here’s why.
What Is Veneer?
Wood veneers are thin slices of hardwood bonded to a less expensive wood like birch or a wood composite like plywood, particle board, or medium-density fiberboard. Manufacturers can do marvelous things with veneers that give a beautiful appearance to furniture.
What Is Laminate?
Laminates are printed surfaces often made to look like wood. Laminate is produced on tough paper, plastic, or foil and bonded to a composite base. High-pressure laminates are molded and cured at 1,200–2,000 pounds per square foot, resulting in a very smooth and durable surface.
Choosing Between Veneer and Laminate
Knowing the differences between furniture materials won’t necessarily help you choose between them. Some thin veneers will curl away from their core while good laminates stay firmly in place for years. There is a range of design, material quality, and craftsmanship within each of the material types.
It can really pay off to look around, see what you like, and then investigate options in your personal range of design, craftsmanship, and price. Ask yourself the following questions before making your decision.
If you’re still having trouble choosing between wood veneer and laminate, consider turning to a professional for help—NBF offers free space planning and design services. You can also check out our guides to learn how to clean laminate and how to clean wood veneer.
Seat Material Guide
When it comes to seating materials, you have quite a lot of options. So how do you know what material is best for you and your working needs? This furniture guide will help you determine just that.
How to Select the Right Color Wood
Color is everything when you’re furnishing an office and want a specific look. The color of the wood finish on your furniture can mean the difference between a light, airy office that channels a homelike atmosphere and a rich, traditional office that embodies professionalism and corporate class.
Below are our most popular wood finishes, but please be aware that shades can vary between manufacturers: What one manufacturer calls cherry or oak may not be the same shade as what another calls cherry or oak. When matching office furniture from different collections, first order wood samples from NBF’s complimentary swatch program to compare and contrast what the colors will look like together.
Cherry and Mahogany
Cherry and mahogany wood veneer and laminate are ideal for offices that want traditional elegance in their décor. Cherry has the look of wood with a red tint, giving it a vibrant appearance that works well when paired with neutral colors such as black, white, and gray. Cherry is available in a variety of shades from light to dark, while mahogany is typically a darker shade. Both finishes are often complemented by traditional furniture details like crown molding, picture frame paneling, and more.
Oak and Walnut
If you prefer a lighter, homier appearance in your office, then oak or walnut may just be the perfect option. These 2 colors also come in varying shades and can create a more rustic look via the visible wood grains they exhibit. This gives your office a cabin vibe. You may also find that because your oak or walnut office has more of an at-home tone, employees, coworkers, and guests may feel more welcome due to its warm, familiar feel.
Espresso and Mocha
If your office boasts more of a modern or contemporary style, you may benefit from adding espresso or mocha-colored furnishings. The deep brown coloration of espresso and mocha desks, filing cabinets, and bookcases are often paired with shining metal hardware, lending striking contrast to the dark finish. To get the most out of this richly colored furniture, combine it with lighter elements in your office, such as light-colored walls and colorful wall art so that you don’t end up with an office that is too dark.
Of course, this is only a small sampling of the vast array of colors that we have to offer. No matter if you’re looking to create an office that exudes traditional charm or you want to achieve a sleek, modern look, be sure to consider the color of your new furniture before making your final selection.