Archive for July, 2012

Customer Raves About Arnolds Furniture

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Here at Arnolds, nothing makes us happier than to see a company really enjoying the office furniture that we’ve lovingly refurbished and, in many cases, helped them to select. So we were delighted to hear from one of our clients, Kevin J. Kaminski, Sr. Vice President Alternative Energy Solutions Energi, Inc., a year after his purchase of used office cubicles, conference tables, and other assorted furniture. It was so great to hear how happy Mr. Kaminski was with his purchase, especially after having really settled in to the new furniture:


We have now purchased furniture from Arnolds for three locations, and every time it has been the same. Everything we have purchased to date could have been passed off for new, cubicles, conference room tables, and offices. When we started looking for furniture we were looking at middle-of-the-road type stuff with laminate work surfaces and plain panels and we were still shocked by the overall cost.

The first office we outfitted was 22,000 square feet at our Peabody location, we ended up with top of the line cubicles, desks, and conference rooms for less than half of what the middle of the road furniture was going to cost us new. We have had that furniture for a year now and have no complaints. I have attached a few pictures of what our furniture looks today, almost a year after the initial install (just taken today.)



We’re often shocked, too, at how much other companies charge for new and used furniture that’s neither built to last nor, let’s be honest, particularly attractive in the short period of time you can actually use it. For what you’d pay for a laminate conference table from somewhere else, you can get a real wood beauty, like our clients did:


Finally, if you need a hand figuring out how to design your new office space, we offer planning services. There’s no need to guess what will work best in your office. We can help you find furniture that fits like it was made for your work space, looks brand-new, and costs less than many lower quality pieces.

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Ethospace Cubicles: Getting the Best Cubicles for the Best Price

Developed by famed office furniture maker Herman Miller in 1984, the Ethospace line was created to “express in interior architecture what you or your organization is all about.”

Designers Bill Stumpf and Jack Kelley wanted to create both a positive workspace that employees looked forward to working in, as well as a space that would accommodate the increasing demands of technology.

The resulting line features workstations that are architecturally interesting – with different colors, textures, scale, ergonomic considerations and natural light – as well as adept at managing power and cable.

The line is also easy on the environment – 100 percent of the steel frame is recyclable, while the remaining components are 78 percent recyclable. Components are made from 35 percent recycled content, and are also nontoxic and renewable.

The innovative frame-and-tile structure allows companies to easily adapt the workspaces as demands evolve. And Herman Miller has continued to add new components and capabilities to the line as business strategies, workplace processes and designer needs have changed.


Features of Ethospace include:

  • 90-, 120-, and 135-degree connectors that allow you to create individual workspaces, private offices, and collaborative spaces that flow together or stay separate as needed.
  • Components that can be repositioned wherever needed so the work areas can be easily be expanded or contracted.
  • First-of-its-kind steel frames that are the foundation for hang-on components and house wiring and cable.
  • Tiles in a variety of materials and styles (everything from glass to solid and perforated to rail) that can be mixed and matched to create a unique workspace that’s also budget-friendly.

On its website, Herman Miller included a case study of Hanna Andersson, a children’s clothing company based in Portland, Oregon that purchased Ethospace workstations just as business was starting to grow in the late 80s and early 90s.

“We still have the original Ethospace furniture throughout the facility,” Robert Nesbitt, facilities manager told Herman Miller. “Its quality and flexibility fit with the character of this company.”

When the company took over a five-story building a few years ago, they were able to refresh the Ethospace stations with new, bright red and glass accent tiles. And they were able to integrate new furniture from the Passage line seamlessly with the Ethospace furniture using a smilier color story.

ethospace resize2Currently, Arnolds has several like-new Ethospace cubicles in stock, complete with storage tower, fixed curved work surface, overhead storage, a power source above the work surface, and built-in whiteboard. The multicolored fabrics that were used in this system help create both a positive and modern-looking work environment. Similar styles retail at Herman Miller for $18,000 per cubicle, but you can find them for just $1,850 at Arnolds.

The 5 Coolest Hand-Held Office Toys

Technology has given us many wonderful things: the internet, phones that are basically tiny computers, a way to play solitaire at any time and place, without a card to be found. But technology takes as well as gives: if conference calling didn’t exist, we’d only have to have those regularly scheduled meetings in the actual office. Someone owes us big time for all those boring hours spent half-listening to the boss drone on and on.

But here’s where tech gives back to us once again: The invention of hand-held office toys means that we don’t have to while away those conference calls with only our imaginations to keep us amused. These toys are a few of our favorites.

1. Buckybars


Make log cabins, geodesic domes, or a bunch of other desk-top sculptures with this awesome toy. Only $25, Buckybars are for sale at tchotchke shop Pylones in New York.

2. Classic Etch-a-Sketch


100 million Etch-a-Sketches have been sold since their invention in 1960. You’ve probably owned two or three over the course of your life, but you might not have thought of it as the perfect fidget toy for those long, boring meetings. Which it is, as long as you can keep from cursing on an open line when sketches go wrong. $15.95 from Fat Brain Toys.

3. Acrobots


The only thing better than the toys on ThinkGeek are the descriptions that go along with them. For example: “Get a bunch! They love to play together and they’ll stay happier longer. You want your Acrobots to be happy don’t you? Oh, and never forget that no matter what happens — YOU are always their King.” It sounds bananas, until you realize that half the reason you need something to play with is that you’re not exactly in control of your time. So, yay, Acrobots! $7.99 on ThinkGeek.

4. Spyro Gyro Pen


Tired of the usual doodling? Try this pen from Fat Brain Toys. At $10.95, it’s a cheap, portable version of that old favorite game Spirograph. And it’s always nice to make something pretty while you’re passing the time.

5. Smart Mass Thinking Putty


Basically Silly Putty for grownups, Thinking Putty ($9.99 from ThinkGeek) is everything you’d expect. You can make it into a rubber ball, use it to lift comics, or just pummel it quietly while you watch the minutes tick by. It’s pretty much the perfect stress reduction toy. Just don’t drop the tin while you’re talking on the phone.

5 Small Office Design Changes to Increase Employee Productivity

Office design experts go back and forth about which is the most productive plan. Do open plan offices make employees more productive than office cubicles, or vice versa? Should we re-invest in private offices? Let everyone work at home, or on a flexible schedule? There are as many opinions as there are options.

The one thing all these plans have in common, however, is that they take a fair amount of cash to implement if you’re starting from scratch. What’s a frugal, productivity-minded organization to do?

The good news is that a few small design changes can yield big results, on the cheap. Here are five of our favorites:

1. Slap on a New Coat of Paint


Are you still making do with the bland, white walls the landlord painted before your company set up shop? You might be contributing to eye strain and bad-tempered employees. Paint is relatively cheap, and a change of color can make a big difference in productivity. Theories vary on which colors inspire folks the best, but blue is almost universally regarded as calming, while oranges and reds are thought to inspire energy and creativity.

2. Create Private Spaces


Even people who love open office spaces need a little privacy now and then. If your workers are complaining that they don’t have enough personal space, create some. Screens are always a good option, or you could go with these neat desk hoods by Sophie Kirkpatrick. These options can also be helpful for cubicle workers whose work areas are relatively open.

3. Add Plants


Another super-cheap way to perk up the office, plants are more than just a greener way to decorate. Plants make the office environment seem less sterile and can even clean the air. A study by Chichester College found that one plant per 100 square feet of office space is ideal for cleaning the air of chemicals like ammonia and formaldehyde.

4. Install Sound Masking


Noise is a problem in most offices these days, in that there’s either too much of it or too little. Either can be distracting. (Anyone who doesn’t think a totally quiet office can’t be distracting has never tried to power through a report in an office where the only sound is a few dozen coworkers clack-clack-clacking away on their keyboards.) Sound masking is a relatively inexpensive way to cope with the problem. White noise is pumped in via speakers, obscuring all those small noises that can seem so loud when you’re trying to get things done.

5. Turn on Some Lights


Of course, the best light of all is natural light, but if you can’t provide that for all employees, add task lighting to make sure they can see what they’re doing. (And avoid nodding off.) When it comes to the type of light provided, most experts agree that full-spectrum bulbs are superior to standard fluorescents for boosting productivity and mood.

Images: 1., 2., 3., 4., 5.
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Office Furniture: Should You Rent or Buy?

Forget the Lipstick Index or the Hemline Bellwether: The new sign of tough economic times might just be the Office Furniture Indicator. Business is slowing for Berkshire Hathaway’s Cort Business Services, the largest furniture rental company in the world, and Bloomberg Businessweek writer Noah Buhayar says the economy might be to blame.

Demand is “simmering compared to where it was at the beginning of the year, when it looked like the recovery, at least from our perspective, would have been pretty robust,” says CEO Jeff Pederson “It’s not flatlining, by any stretch of the imagination, but it has slowed down.”

It’s understandable that companies want to spend less money when they’re less confident about their own financial future. But assuming that employees still need a place to sit, type, and talk to each other, office furniture will always be a necessity. What’s a spending-conscious company to do?

The answer might be to skip renting office furniture, and buy used. Let’s look at the advantages and disadvantages of each:

Cons of Renting Office Furniture:


  • If you break it, you buy it. Anyone who’s ever worked in an office knows that some people are tough on furniture. People put their feet up on the table, spill coffee everywhere that coffee can be spilled, break chairs and filing cabinet locks, and so on. There’s nothing worse than renting furniture to save money only to have to forfeit some of your deposit and/or buy out the broken furniture.


  • You’re not making an investment. When the rental term is up, it’s up. You can’t resell the furniture or donate it for a tax break.

    Pros of Renting Office Furniture:


  • It saves money. You can get a lot more furniture for your buck if you rent instead of buy — at least if you’re comparing renting vs. buying brand-new.



  • You can redecorate more often. Once the term of the rental is up, you can swap out any furniture you no longer love and get something new.

    Cons of Buying Used Office Furniture:


  • It could be less flexible. If you only need the furniture for a short period of time, or experience buyer’s remorse after using your furniture for a while, it’s harder to swap out. (Although using professional space planning services like the one we offer at Arnolds can make this less likely.)



  • Not all used furniture companies are made alike. Arnolds carefully refurbishes all its used furniture back to like-new condition, and sells it for a fraction of the price of brand-new pieces. But not all companies have the same commitment. Make sure you’re dealing with a reputable dealer before you buy.

    Pros of Buying Used Office Furniture:


  • It’s yours! Once you buy the furniture, you can do anything you want with it: Modify it, re-sell it, break it, rearrange it. It’s up to you.



  • You save A LOT of money. Brand-name used office furniture sells for as little as 50 percent of the price of new furniture. Plus, you can make money on the other end of the transaction, selling your furniture when you’re ready for something new.


Images: Leehaywood/Flickr, Insideview Blog, IWS, Arnolds Office Furniture

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Allsteel Cubicles: Getting the Best Cubicles for the Best Price

Founded in 1912 as the All-Steel-Equip Co., Allsteel started out building metal enclosures used by electrical contractors. But the company’s lockers and steel cabinets proved to be so popular in offices that by the end of the Great Depression, the company expanded its line to include vertical files.

As steel became more available following World War II, Allsteel began producing steel desks that could be custom configured to meet a variety of individual or workplace needs.

But what really put the Muscatine, Iowa-based company on the map in the world of office design was the creation of the lateral file in 1967, which became a more space-efficient storage solution compared with the conventional vertical file.

Today, Allsteel strives to bring innovative and easy-to-use functionality to furniture design. Materials are tested to for their durability, recyclability and ability to look good through the furniture’s lifespan. And while there are a number of styles to choose from, Allsteel focuses on an overall classic look that they hope stands the test of time.

According to Allsteel, their furniture “is made to improve productivity, make offices more efficient, increase comfort, and make day-to-day tasks that much easier.”

The company produces a variety of furniture styles to meet your office design needs including panel-based work stations, private offices and more open-concept options.

Current lines include:

Stride (available in panels, design, benching and storage): This line offers flexibility with everything from panel-based workstations to private office spaces — it can be changed to suit your offices needs anytime. Other features include ergonomically-friendly, sit-to-stand work surfaces; rail-based, off-modular panels that can be easily adjusted to change office configurations; footed panels that improve airflow; and low-profile spanning glass to increase the amount of natural light. New: $9,000-$18,000

Terrace DNA: This line offers flexible workspace design solutions with a variety of product choices, as well as fabric and finishing options. Create light and open collaborative workstations or more private, closed-off areas. Design details include footed panels, glass screens, segmented tiles, a variety of storage options, power and cable management, and sit-to-stand work surfaces. New: $6,000-$9,000

Concensys: With it’s all-metal construction, this line is built to last. Slimmer panels and a variety of widths allow for easier planning, specification and installation, and a full selection of storage options can be easily integrated into each workstation. There’s also a quick-ship delivery option available. New: $3,000-$10,000

Involve: This line’s modular design can accommodate everything from private offices to open plans. Involve integrates well with both Stride and Terrace panel systems, and it offers other features like open-end support for a lighter aesthetic, a variety of privacy panels, and soft-seating to encourage spontaneous collaboration. New: $5,000-$25,000

If you like the design quality and durability that Allsteel offers, but don’t want to pay full price for new furniture, visit Arnold’s. Current inventory includes:

  • An L-shaped workstation with glass, pedestals and neutral color that’s only three years old. Retail price is $5,500, but at Arnold’s it’s just $1,249.
  • A high-tech workstation with glass-topped, perfect height panels, storage wardrobe tower, lateral file and maple interior and exterior. Retail is more than $10,000, but at Arnold’s it’s just $1, rx diflucan

$48,000 on Office Chairs? They Should Have Bought Used!


How much money is too much money to spend on office furniture? It’s hard to set an exact price, but according to taxpayers in Santa Fe, New Mexico, $48,000 is definitely over the line. That’s how much money the governor’s office spent on 185 new office chairs, including 58 high-back desk chairs, and 127 standard chairs with arm rests.

“The previous chairs in the Cabinet room had been there for two decades. Nearly all were badly worn and several were not fully functional,” said Scott Darnell, spokesman for Gov. Susana Martinez.

Unfortunately, the purchase comes on the heels of the governor’s veto of $1.4 million in funding for the refurbishment of the 1st Judicial District courthouse. Martinez argues that the county should pick up the tab. Some lawmakers disagree.

“It certainly seems unfortunate that if she is spending money on herself then it’s worth it, but if she’s going to spend money on the court and the judges, she thinks it’s not worth it,” said Democratic Rep. Brian Egolf.

Although $48,000 seems like a lot of money, if you divide it by 185, it works out to be about $260 a chair, which isn’t actually terrible for brand-new furniture. (The governor’s office says that the they got about a 65 percent discount.) Maybe a better solution would have been to buy used furniture.

Arnolds offers a wide variety of office and guest chairs, most for well under $200. They’ve all been lovingly refurbished by our team of furniture restoration experts and are indistinguishable from brand-new office equipment, except for that low taxpayer-friendly price tag.

Take, for example, those 58 desk chairs, which are described as being “high-back, black desk chairs with casters.” Now look at our black leather executive chair, currently on sale for $149:


See? Good as new, and a hundred dollars less. That saves you over $5000 right there! Hope you’re listening, New Mexico…

Images:, Arnolds Office Furniture
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Steelcase Cubicles: Getting the Best Cubicles for the Best Price

Celebrating 100 years of building quality office furniture, Steelcase is one of the most well-known names in the business.

The Grand Rapids, Michigan-based company — whose first patent was for a steel wastebasket in 1914 — now focuses on three main elements: interior architecture, furniture and technology while promoting social, economic and environmental sustainability.

With the growing popularity of open-space offices, Steelcase offers several lines to accommodate increased collaboration. Its workspaces fall into the following main styles:

1. Panel: More traditional office workspaces now use low, medium and high panels to define individual work areas.
Steelcase lines available in panel: Montage, Answer, Kick, Avenir, ap40 and Series 9000

2. Benching: Workspaces designed around teams rather than individuals. Benching solutions often start with a long table that’s been partitioned into small, individual workspaces.
Steelcase lines available in benching: FrameOne, Elective Elements 6 and Bivi

3. Desking: These workspaces use desks and storage spaces to differentiate workstations, rather than panels.
Steelcase lines available in desking: c:scape, Elective Elements 6, Topo Desking, Tour, U-Free, Bivi, Kick, Ellipse, and Context

Following are Steelcase’s lines for open-plan workstations. Prices for new and used models listed when available.

Answer – Designed to be flexible and interconnective, this panel-based system provides users with a balance of privacy and collaboration while supporting mobility and technology. Available in open bench styles to more private seating. Used: $775

Ap40 – A quick and simple furniture solution with 40 different configurations that “allows customers of all budgets to experience Steelcase quality.” This line focuses on five variables to provide a range of office solutions: privacy, collaboration, storage, mobility, and real estate.

Avenir – This line has a range of storage solutions and workspace options, including panels; work surfaces; desks; service modules; tables; lighting; and fixed and mobile pedestals, credenzas, bins and shelves – all that can be tailored to your needs. Used: $699

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Bivi – Designed with small-company culture in mind, this line was designed to be a blank canvas for businesses to express their company culture. The system is simple, quick to install, and easy to reconfigure.

Context – This line provides a great balance between collaboration and privacy, while maximizing space and offering easy installation.

c:scape – With a simple set of components — low- and mid-storage, beam, desk, and work tools and screens — c:scape improves collaboration while maximizing smaller spaces.

Elective Elements 6 – This freestanding desk system was designed to meet the changes in private and open-plan office environments. It offers a variety of materials including laminate, wood, glass, metal paint, and fabrics, plus plenty of storage options. Used: $925

Ellipse – A solid marriage between technology and functionality, this line works well in both private offices and training rooms. It can also be easily reconfigured without disrupting other workstations.

FrameOne – This benching option is more customizable and mobile than other options, offering easy access to lighting and power, a light aesthetic and a flexible design.

Kick – Perfect for offices where real estate is at a premium, this system “offers simplicity through form, function and price.” Can be used in both panel-based and open-plan environments with low and full-glass panels for more collaborative spaces to tall panels, stackers and sliding doors for private spaces. Used: $695

Montage Office – A highly customizable panel system that offers a variety of surface material options. Stackable and destackable frames allow you to vary wall height according to privacy needs and can be paired with frameless glass dividers. Extended top caps, hinged or pocket doors available. Features doors, glass panels, drawer pedestals, overhead cabinets and bullet-top desk with credenza all in a neutral fabric. Used: $3,950


Series 9000 – One of Steelcase’s most popular lines, it can be configured in a variety of ways and it integrates well with other Steelcase lines. Used: $650

Topo Desking – From open plans to private offices, this line offers space division and display walls, desktops and desk loops, sliding window screens, roller screens, modesty screens and overhead towers.

Tour – This line is simple to install and rearrange to quickly meet the needs of your changing office. Storage is “slide-able, flip-able and rotate-able” and has a clean design that allows it to fit into any office environment.

U-Free – The ultimate line for flexible design, U-Free allows you to create custom workspace configurations from a variety of universal worksurface and storage options. Pieces are unadorned, durable and timeless.

Find at Arnolds Office Furniture.

You're Not Imagining It. You DO Have Less Space at Work

When you’re at work, do you ever feel like the walls of your office cubicle are closing in on you? The good news is, you’re not losing your mind. The average space allotted to an office worker is shrinking … and has been since the beginning of time. (Which, for the work world, is either the beginning of the Industrial Revolution in 1750 or the invention of the cubicle by Robert Propst in 1967, depending on who you ask.)

Here’s what your work space would look like at various points in time:



Unless you were the boss, you’d probably be in a typing pool, which means that you’d have just as much space as your typewriter and desk allowed. Depending on how your employers set things up, you could have been working in a very cramped situation. Certainly, you’d have very little in the way of privacy or a sense of ownership over your work space.

1967 – 1997:


If you worked in an office cubicle in the ’90s, you had about 115 square feet to call your own. This might not seem like a lot, especially compared to the 246 square feet allotted to senior management. However, it still beats the work space of average call center worker: they had about 52 square feet to call their very own.



By 2010, those 115 square feet seemed positively expansive. Work spaces shrank to 96 square feet, on average, in part due to a bad economy (more workers, in less space = more money) and in part due to improved mobile technology (more workers, working at home = more money.)

>The future:


Eventually, we may be looking at zero square feet of work space. That’s because companies are increasingly scrapping the idea of personal space altogether, in favor of collaborative areas and expanded telecommuting policies. In an open plan office, where everyone from the CEO to the summer intern sits and works in the same area, it’s hard to say where one worker’s area begins and another ends. Whether this is good news or bad news depends largely on how you feel about group projects, privacy … and your old, ever-shrinking office cubicle.

Images:, ,, dexamethasone

The Paperless Office … and Why It Failed!

It’s one of those office design trends that pops up every few years, and then mercifully fades away again: the Paperless Office. In theory, it should save money, space, heck, even the planet. In reality, it saved a lot of employees the need to go looking for things to complain about. That’s because no matter how advanced mobile technology gets, it’s really, really hard to go entirely paper-free. Here’s why.

1. You Can’t Force People to Change Their Habits


We don’t blame the company in this story for wanting to be anonymous. Their attempt to achieve a paperless office was particularly poignant, because they tried to force the issue via their choice in office furniture. It seems like a plan that might work, too: If you don’t want people to use paper, why not build an office entirely without filing cabinets? After all, if people have no place to put paper, what are they going to do? I mean, it’s not like they’ll just stack it up all over the office, right?

Wrong. That’s exactly what they did.

2. The Jevons Paradox


Not, as you might think, an episode of “Star Trek,” the Jevons Paradox states that as a resource becomes more efficient, it becomes cheaper, which then inspires people to use it more. (Sort of like how fuel-efficient cars inspire people to drive more, not less.)

It might seem like this would make people more willing to give the paperless office a try. After all, it’s cheaper not to use paper, right? But in this case, the factor to look at is increased computer memory. It’s cheap to create lots and lots of documents, which then beg to be printed out.

3. Sometimes, Paper Really Is Necessary


Social scientists Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper wrote the book on the failure of the paperless office — literally. “The Myth of Paperless Office” begins with an anecdote from their time at the International Monetary Fund in Washington, D.C. Their work there, which was largely writing economic reports, should have been perfectly suited for a digital-only environment. Instead, as Malcolm Gladwell puts it, they found an office “awash in paper.” Why? Because it turns out that writing reports is collaborative, and paper made it easier to trade opinions and revisions among coworkers.

Sellen and Harper concluded, “The paperless office is a myth not because people fail to achieve their goals, but because they know too well that their goals cannot be achieved without paper. This held true over thirty years ago when the idea of the paperless office first gained some prominence, and it holds true today at the start of the twenty-first century.”