Office Furniture Costs
Are you recruiting staff, and need to add more desks for your growing team? Perhaps your people are reluctant to come back into the office, and you’re trying to tempt them back? You could even be looking to budget for a larger project, like an office relocation. If any of these situations sound like you, you’re probably wondering “What does office furniture cost?”
As always, it depends. However, in this article, we’ll walk you through furniture cost ranges per sq/ft and per employee, broken down by furniture category. We’ll also explain the key factors that impact the cost of office furniture. By the end of the article, you’ll understand what your office furniture is likely to cost and what affects that. You’ll be in a much better position to get initial budget signoff or a detailed quote.
Office Furniture Cost Per Sq/Ft
The easiest way to set a budget for your office furniture is to calculate the cost per square foot. This is far from perfect, as it can vary a lot depending on the design style and density level of your office. Furniture packages generally cost between £12 and £25 per square foot. This depends on the size of the space and the specification level of the furniture. You will also need to consider the density of staff within your space. A high-density layout will increase your furniture costs per sq/ft by 10-20% but will generate savings in other areas.
A basic specification furniture package would cost around £12 per sq/ft. This includes basic breakout furniture such as bar stools and breakout chairs with feature basic designs and synthetic finishes. For a mid-level specification package, the cost would be around £18 per sq/ft. This would include higher-quality synthetic finishes as well as furniture features like collaborative soft seating and pods. A high-level specification package would have natural materials such as wool, leather, and wooden finishes. It would also include statement furniture pieces. This would cost at least £25 per sq/ft.
Office Furniture Cost Per Person
A better way to set a budget is to allocate a cost per staff member. We recommend that companies allow £1400-£5,000 per person for office furniture. For context, you should have between 120 and 400 sq/ft of office space per person. Again, the furniture cost per person will depend on the specification level of the furniture and the types of furniture you have in your office.
Collaboration spaces are now the most important environment in almost every office. Exactly how much collaboration furniture you need hinges on whether your offer hybrid working. In-office working requires a lower percentage of the office to be set aside for collaboration. The amount of collaboration space you need also depends on the way your staff use the office, and how much space is taken up by private offices and meeting rooms.
Collaboration spaces have an even wider cost range than other office furniture categories. This is because there are many different kinds of collaboration furniture, from simple soft seating to collaboration office pods and even modular zoning furniture. We recommend you allow 40-55% of your budget for collaboration furniture. This works out at £560-£2750 per person.
Your focussed furniture costs per employee will be much lower if you offer hybrid working. In-office staff will likely need their own workstation, including a desk, task chair, and potentially personal storage. This may take up about 50% of your office space. Workstation furniture tends to be cheaper per sq/ft than other types of furniture, so we recommend you allocate 40% of your budget, from £560 to £2000.
If you are operating a hybrid working model, then the amount of your space devoted to workstations should decrease. With your people using the office mainly for collaboration, you should only use about 30% of your office for desks. This decreases the per-person cost to between £400 and £1500.
There are also other focussed furniture pieces, such as phone booths and personal work pods. These tend to cost from £4000 to £15000. Most offices only include a few pods, so they shouldn’t be included in the per-head cost calculations.
Private Office Furniture
Private offices vary in importance. In sectors such as technology, they take up less than 5% of the office, if there are any at all. In more traditional industries such as law, private offices can account for 20%-60% of office space. Private offices also tend to have higher quality furniture and be more spacious than open-plan layouts. As a result, the furniture often costs £5000 to £10000 per office.
Meeting Room Furniture
Private meeting rooms also vary a lot depending on the design style of your office, as well as your industry. Some companies have few meeting rooms, prioritising open collaboration space. Other companies in sectors such as law or wealth management need confidential meeting rooms. Depending on your design, meeting rooms should take up 5-10% of your office space. Especially for boardrooms or front-of-house meeting rooms used by clients, the specification is often higher than the rest of your office. As a result, you should allow for 10-15% of your total furniture budget to be spent on meeting rooms. This works out at £120-£750 per head.
Breakout spaces are often confused with collaboration spaces, but they serve two very different purposes and should be separate within your workspace. While collaboration is work-focussed, breakout spaces are places for your people to unwind and relax. They normally include a teapoint area, dining facilities, and some soft seating. Breakout spaces often comprise 5-15% of your office. We recommend you allocate 10-15% of your furniture budget to office furniture, at a per-person cost of £120-£750.
What Impacts the Cost of Office Furniture?
Office furniture can vary in cost hugely. For example, a task chair can cost anything from £150 to £10,000. We normally specify chairs from £250 to £600. At this point, you may be thinking “So what causes these huge variations in the price?” There are 3 key factors that impact the cost of all office furniture: design, quality, and finishes. Here, we’ll explain each one.
Design is more than the research and development costs required to design each piece in your furniture package. The better and more unique a design is, the more it will cost. Office chairs and desks are all quite similar in design, so there is less variation in price. Collaboration furniture on the other hand is very varied, and there are a lot more unique and innovative designs available. This increased differentiation leads to increased costs.
The base build quality of your office furniture package will also have a big impact on the cost of your office furniture. High-specification furniture will have higher-quality frames using more material. They will also use more advanced components in their mechanisms. This creates a more durable piece of furniture, which tends to prove a good investment over time. Higher-quality furniture also tends to have better ergonomics, which is essential for user wellbeing.
The final element that has a significant impact on furniture costs is the finish level. Nearly all commercial furniture is made to order, with a large range of finishes available, from expensive natural materials to cheaper synthetic imitations. Finishes can increase the cost of your furniture by as much as 50%.
Your Office Furniture
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what your office furniture will cost, as well as what might affect that. You’re now in a much better position to reach out to potential design & build companies or furniture distributors, knowing what your furniture package should cost.
Furniture is just one design aspect of your workspace. While it is one of the most important and visible, other factors such as layout, utilities, life systems, and finishes are also very important.
To learn more about what a full office fit out might cost, download our office fit out costs guide. You’ll get the full breakdown of office fit out costs, including impacting factors, how to choose your specification, why some companies are more expensive, and costs per sq/ft. Download it here.
To learn more about office furniture, check out the knowledge hub of our sister company, Fluid Furniture. There you’ll find advice on the best furniture, comparisons, and price guides for different types of office furniture.