Those old shampoo commercials were right: You never get a second chance to make a first impression. When it comes to your business, that first impression comes from your offices, where decorating choices, color schemes, and yes, even the office furniture itself can give clients and other visitors their very first idea of what your company is all about.
Here are a few of the most popular styles of used office furniture, and what they say about you.
A lot of offices favor contemporary furniture styles, which are clean, unfussy, and minimalist. On the positive side, this style conveys a sense of simplicity and clarity of purpose; on the negative, it can seem slightly cold and remote, so it’s probably not a good choice for businesses that need to make people feel comfortable. (We’re pretty sure Rachael Ray’s offices are not done in a contemporary design, for example.)
Like “Mad Men”? You’ll love mid-century modern. This period of furniture design had its heyday between the 1930s and 1960s, and focuses on then-new materials like plastics and organic, functional shapes. Much of our modern office furniture evokes the ideals and aesthetic of mid-century modern. (E.g., Herman Miller’s famous desk chairs.)
Traditional furniture can actually be one of a number of styles, including Old World and Early American. What they have in common is a lot of ornamentation, luxe finishes, and a general sense of fanciness. This is great furniture choice for businesses that need to convey a sense of solidness and connection to the past, like banks or other financial institutions.
Transitional style blends traditional and contemporary for a timeless, sophisticated design. This is a great style for anyone who prefers simplicity and clean lines. Color schemes tend to be neutral, with occasional dark brown balancing out lighter beige, tan, and taupe. Transitional furniture blends straight lines with curves, and is supposed to evoke a blend of masculine and feminine.
Not so much a furniture style as a blend of various aesthetics, the eclectic style is also known is “whatever we had in the storeroom” or “early American Ground Round.” Eclectic can be everything from a mix of retro styles and modern, from folding tables and extension cords. You’ll recognize the latter version of this style from any startup you’ve ever visited. It’s not great for impressing clients, but it does give the impression that you’re working too hard to care about things like matching lamps and carefully-placed orchids.