The economy may have improved since the recession of 2008: unemployment is down, the budget deficit has been reduced, and the commercial real estate picture is looking brighter than it has in a while. Still, decision makers are still eager to reduce their bottom line on facilities. One way they’re using furniture to do this is by reducing price per square foot in a variety of ways.
From a furniture perspective, reducing price per square foot is nothing new. Purchasers and facilities managers have been doing it for years, by opting for budget-friendly lines and squeezing more discount points from the manufacturers. A few trends, though, have really helped customers reduce their cost per square foot while creating the best solution for their needs.
Design Trends: Minimalism and Laminate
One thing that’s helping to reduce prices is a return to a minimalist aesthetic. Sure, we’re still selling those giant wood office suites for high-powered CEOs, but more and more, we’re seeing clients opt for a more streamlined private office for their executives, with a simple work-wall and a not-too-excessive amount of storage (as seen in the picture above). Beautiful and highly functional task chairs are the affordable norm, and execs are choosing these over the giant leather set-pieces of the Gordon Gecko years.
Another way the aesthetic is helping to reduce cost is the trend for laminates, either on their own, or in conjunction with wood. CFI designer Lexi Pratz says she loves using “pops of veneer in a mostly laminate workspace. It keeps that executive feel but without breaking the bank.”
Saving on Storage
We haven’t really seen the paperless office become a reality yet, but our digital revolution has seen a reduction in paper, if not its total demise. When deciding what to purchase, furniture decision makers are thinking twice about the excessive storage of the past. Why pay for a lateral file that sits empty now that so much is exchanged by email and kept on servers instead of in manilla folders? CFI Sales Rep Susan Louderback often recommends a tower that provides a similar storage capacity to a pedestal and an overhead panel-mounted cabinet combined, but will allow for a lower panel horizon with an overall cost savings.
Quality + Cost Savings = Pre-owned
Finally, the improved economy has seen an increase in the volume of furniture sales, which has lead to greater choices in the pre-owned furniture market. Companies like Boomerang, our sister company in New Jersey, specialize in high-end pre-owned furniture inventories, which have become more available in recent years.
So, what do you think? Have you and your company reduced cost per square foot in other ways that are interesting? Are you a designer that’s hit on a great formula? We’d love to hear your story.