Signs It’s Time to Update Your Office Furniture

Does the look of your office date back to a time when workers wore shoulder pads and pagers? Maybe it’s time to update that old, tired office furniture and bring in new, innovative cubicle designs, ergonomic chairs and sit-stand desks that will launch your office into the 2020s. We’re going to look at some telltale signs that it’s time to replace your office furniture and walk through some of the things you’ll want to consider if it’s time for a change.

When to Upgrade Office Furniture

There are many reasons to replace office furniture, but when you’ve gotten so used to your existing furniture, you may not notice the signs it’s time for something new. Here are five indicators that can help you know when to update office furniture.

1. It’s Worn Out

One apparent reason to upgrade your office furniture is that it’s showing signs of wear or, in the worst cases, is completely falling apart. In some cases, you may have gotten many years of use out of your furniture, and it’s time to finally retire it. In other cases, you may have outfitted your office with cheaply made furniture designed for short-term use only, and now it’s time to invest in some higher-quality furniture.

You may be able to tighten screws on parts that are coming loose or fix other minor issues with your furniture, but in most cases, it’s better to upgrade. If you’ve gotten used to the sight of duct tape patches, chips or scratches on your office furniture, it’s time to throw away your broken-down tables and chairs and bring in new, high-quality office furniture.

2. It Looks Outdated

Another reason it may be time to upgrade your office furniture is that your office looks like a vestige from the past. That’s fine if you’re going for a retro look like mid-century modern. But, if your furniture looks tired and dated, like its design dates back to a couple of decades ago, it’s time to step into the current era. This advice is especially relevant if you want your company to look innovative and forward-thinking.

When your office needs a design facelift, choose the very best modern office furniture has to offer. Don’t settle for the same old cubicle designs some companies still sell. Options today, like Sunline office cubicles, are not only attractive, but are also far easier to put together than traditional cubicles. Sleek, modern office furniture will feel like a breath of fresh air if you’re used to clunky, outdated office equipment.

3. It Doesn’t Make the Right Impression

You want everyone who steps into your office for the first time to form an excellent first impression of your business. Just as your home is likely a reflection of your style and tastes, your workplace should reflect your business’ brand identity. Ideally, you’ll impress clients, partners, new hires and anyone else who comes to your office.

Even if you have new office furniture, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will make the right impression. Consider, for example, a future-oriented tech company whose traditional office furniture looks more like it belongs in a bank. If visitors to your office see outdated or worn-out office furniture or furniture that doesn’t seem to match your industry or branding, it’s time to pick out new pieces that will help you make the right impression.

4. It Doesn’t Accommodate Your Work Style

One of the clear signs to update office furniture is if your current furniture is getting in the way of your team’s productivity instead of helping you succeed. For example, maybe your company gets a lot done through collaboration, but your current cubicle setup is too closed off, making it difficult for workers to stay connected. Perhaps you need furniture designed for an open layout.

The opposite could also be the case. What if your employees don’t have the level of privacy they need to focus and be productive? The right cubicle system can give your employees the exact level of quiet they need to get the job done distraction-free. You can still include collaborative spaces in your office for meetings and brainstorming sessions.

5. It Isn’t Ergonomic

When you think about professions where people might risk their health and safety on the job, first responders and factory workers might be the first thing to come to mind, but office workers experience unique issues as well. Sitting at a desk and working at a computer for hours at a time can lead to health problems like back pain, eye strain, carpal tunnel syndrome and more. Fortunately, in recent years, a major trend in the office furniture industry has been to create ergonomically designed workstations for employee comfort.

Part of this innovation is about developing adaptable furniture, so each new worker to use a chair or desk can adjust it correctly to help them maintain excellent postural alignment and avoid any strain. If your employees are groaning every time they stand up from their desks, it may be time to try some new, more ergonomically designed chairs, or even standing desks. If you can improve your employees’ health and avoid workers’ comp claims by switching out furniture, that’s a no-brainer.

6. You’re Moving or Expanding

Another smart reason to consider new furniture is if change is already on the horizon for your company. Maybe you’re moving to a new location. Does it make sense to pay to pack up all your old furniture and move it? If you’ve grown tired of your current furniture, a move is an ideal time to sell or donate your existing pieces and get some new furniture you love for your new office space.

Another exciting scenario is that your company is growing. As you add more employees, you’ll need more workstations and may need to completely reconfigure your current setup. If your existing furniture is old, you may not even be able to find matching pieces to add for new employees. Why not start fresh with all-new, coordinating cubicles, desks and chairs?

How Long Should Office Furniture Last?

We mentioned one of the reasons you may want to upgrade your office furniture is that your current furniture has reached the end of its lifespan and is worn out. You may be wondering, though, how long should a cubicle last? What about desks, chairs and tables?

There is no one-size-fits-all answer, since it depends on the quality of the furniture and how much use something gets. We can provide some insight, though, into the average life of office furniture. We’ll break it down by types of furniture, including cubicles, desks, chairs and tables.


Fortunately, well-made office cubicles can last a long time. Manufacturers should offer a warranty on their cubicles, but this is not an indicator of how long you can expect the cubicle to last. Cubicles’ lifespan should well exceed the warranty.

Over time, however, fabric panels and hard surfaces may begin to show wear, signaling it’s time for an upgrade. When it comes to the Sunline sliding cubicle desk system, even if you have to replace a panel or you want to add to what you already have, you don’t need to buy a whole new cubicle. Instead, you can purchase only the panels and parts you need. With such innovative cubicle options on the market, you may want to replace your old cubicles, even if they’re still in decent shape.


Some antique desks have been around for hundreds of years. Desks made from hardwood can last nearly indefinitely. However, unless you’re buying a desk you intend to pass down as an heirloom, most desks today will probably last closer to around 15 years. This estimate is only general, of course. Some desks may last well beyond that point.

You should replace a desk if drawers aren’t opening and closing correctly, if legs feel wobbly or if there are visible chips and worn areas on the finish. In many cases, though, companies choose to replace their desks not because they have worn out, but because they don’t implement the latest design technology. For example, many offices are replacing conventional desks with standing desks because of the advantages they offer.


Out of all the furniture in your office, chairs likely experience the most wear. Especially if you’re sitting in your chair for roughly 40 hours every week, it’s easy to see why office chairs usually need replacing after seven to 10 years. That figure, of course, will change depending on how well-made the chair is and how careful your employees are to avoid rips, tears, coffee spills and other mishaps that can affect upholstered chairs, especially.

As with desks, office chairs have come a long way in their design in recent years. If you’re wondering when to replace your office chairs, and your employees are complaining of lower back pain or can’t maintain good posture in their chairs, wonder no longer. It’s time for an upgrade to more ergonomic office chairs.


Tables come in such a wide range of quality levels that it’s difficult to pinpoint an average lifespan. It all depends on what type of table or tables you have in your office. A solid mahogany conference table could last for generations, while that pressed wood table with the white veneer is likely to start showing wear quickly.

You may not care as much what the tables in the break room look like, but when it comes to your conference table, you want to make sure you’re making the right impression. You should upgrade to a new table if your current one is showing evident signs of wear, doesn’t fit the right aesthetic or if it’s not accommodating your meetings the way you want it to.

Buying New Office Furniture vs. Updating Existing Office Furniture

In some cases, you may wonder if you can put some time and materials into repairing or freshening up your current furniture, rather than getting rid of it and buying new. You may be able to find tutorials online for how to update existing furniture. For example, you could reupholster stained or ripped office chairs, sand down and restain or paint solid wood furniture or find creative ways to fix or replace broken parts. There are two primary advantages to propping up your current furniture with some repairs and updates.

  • It’s cheaper: Some companies choose to save money by updating their furniture instead of replacing it. Buying new furniture is an investment you may not want to make right now if you’re operating within a tight budget.
  • It’s sustainable: If your company’s focus is on environmental sustainability, you may like the idea of upcycling your furniture rather than sending it to a landfill and buying new. However, you can responsibly dispose of old furniture by donating or recycling it.

While there are some reasons to consider updating your current furniture, there are also some downsides to going this route.

  • It’s temporary: Giving your current furniture a refresh may improve its function and appearance for a while, but especially if the furniture is reaching the end of its lifespan, this is a temporary solution at best. Soon, you’ll be facing the need to buy new furniture, which means you may end up spending more in the long run.
  • It has limitations: Another shortcoming of updating your existing equipment is that, sometimes, this solution falls short of addressing the problem. If you’re trying to work with outdated office furniture, you probably need new, modern furniture, not a refinished version of the same old equipment.

There are typically more reasons to buy new office furniture, rather than updating the furniture you have.

  • It’s a long-term solution: First, buying new furniture is a long-lasting solution, especially if you choose high-quality furniture. Think of it as an investment that will keep you from having to pay to repair and replace your furniture every few years. That doesn’t mean you need to spend a fortune. Find quality furniture at a reasonable price.
  • It can help employees: With the advancements in cubicles, office chairs and more, you can offer a more comfortable, healthier and more productive work environment by providing employees with the latest and greatest office furniture.
  • It comes with a warranty: When you buy new furniture, you get a warranty that can cover broken parts or problems you would otherwise be covering yourself. When you’re looking at furniture options, find out how long the warranty lasts and what it includes.
  • It’s tax-deductible: If you’re a small business owner or executive who is worried about your budget, it’s helpful to consider that office furniture is tax-deductible, which can help offset the cost. You can choose to deduct all or part of your furniture the year you purchase it, or have it depreciated over many years.

The bottom line is that, in most cases, it makes more sense to buy new office furniture that perfectly meets your needs, rather than trying to limp along with equipment that is falling apart, outdated or isn’t working for you.

Trust Arnold’s Office Furniture to Upgrade Your Office Furniture

Arnold’s Office Furniture has been a trusted source for the very best in office furniture for over 90 years. Some of the country’s largest Fortune 500 companies get their innovative office equipment from Arnold’s. We can set you up with Sunline cubicles, which have changed the cubicle game for businesses, along with desks, chairs and more that can help your employees get the job done in a comfortable and attractive environment. Browse through our selection of office furniture online and request a quote from us today to learn more.

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