Commercial Furniture Vs Domestic Furniture

Furniture is furniture right? Is there really any difference? YES THERE IS! The old Adage “You get what you pay for” is as relevant to furniture as anything else in business, however unfortunately many businesses don’t figure that out until it all goes wrong. So what is the difference between commercial furniture and furniture that is made for the domestic market? And how can i tell if what people claim to be commercial furniture actually is? Well there are plenty of differences, but we will start with the one that effects you the most…Price.


Yes, commercial furniture is often more expensive that what you might find in the “Amart’s or IKEA’s of the furniture world, however there is a pretty obvious reason for this. Alot of furniture is designed for the domestic or home market. In fact a quick google search of “IKEA” brings up “IKEA | Affordable Swedish Home Furniture – IKEA” So what is the difference?

Strength and Longevity

Ever bought a toaster from Kmart? They are super cheap and cost just a few dollars. Not bad right? Well have a look at the reviews and make your own decision. To sum it up, there is everything from “It only toasts 3/4 of the toast” to “I used it for 3 seconds before it tripped my safety switch.” Now i won’t make judgements, but would you use the Kmart toaster in your Venue or restaurant? Probably not. In the same way, domestic furniture is designed for being used at home. It might get used once a night for your family dinner, which occasionally cousin Bob and his wife come over.

Now the problem you have when you put this furniture into a commercial venue is you have no control over who uses it, or how it is used. The chairs are now being used 30 times a day by everyone from the Wallabies rugby team to that one child who is obnoxiously loud and jumping on those lovely upholstered chairs. You desperately want to intervene, however his mother is as obnoxious and you want to avoid an argument. It Happens!

Now I’m not saying that commercial furniture is Child/idiot proof, however it will put up one heck of a fight compared to the domestic rubbish. Commercial furniture is generally designed with heavier load ratings, commercial high rub rate fabrics and upholstery, better materials and greater strength. To sum it up, domestic furniture is made as cheap as possible for the most profit and easy selling. Commercial furniture is made tougher, stronger, and more durable knowing that it will be used all the time. Now sure, you might think your product has a 3 year warranty, so if it breaks you will get it replace. Sorry folks, read into the fine print, and you will find something along the lines of ”

Your Furniture Providers” liability under this Quality Guarantee does not extend to:

  1. damage caused in circumstances where the Product has been used commercially or in a manner which is greater than, or exceptional to normal domestic use

More simply, “Up shit creek….”

Apples & Oranges

Plenty of times i see product that has a caption like “Suitable for Outdoor Use” “UV resistant” “Weather Resistant” etc etc. However these terms don’t really mention to what level. The picture for this article is of the Rita Chair, and another product. Both are UV resistant, and suitable for outdoor use, both are 6 months old,  however one is a commercial product, and the other is for domestic use. The difference is fairly clear (The one on the right is for domestic use if there are any doubts.) Nobody want’s to pay more than they have to, but at the end of the day, spending a little more to get quality product will save you in the long run, the short run, the 100m sprint, and the ultra marathon. So don’t waste your time, stick with commercial furniture for your venue!