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5 Tips For Office Interior Design On A Budget


Everyone wants the perfect office space, but no one wants to pay an exorbitant price tag to get it. But for businesses owners, finding the furniture of their dreams can be as simple as some creative product sourcing and strategically deciding where to splurge. 

When EthoSource Vice President Bryon Kauffman sits downs with clients, he presents them with their dream office. He shows them what the optimal design could look like without any financial restrictions. Then he gets practical. 

“Budgets come into play, and you have to decide and make decisions about where you are going to put your dollars,” Kauffman said.

Blindly picking out collections from a catalog can be inefficient and expensive. Kauffman offers five ways to be smart when sourcing office furniture. 

1. Mix-And-Match Manufacturers

Picking out a complete series of furniture items from one manufacturer could be more expensive than spreading products across multiple sources. Furniture dealerships, like their automobile counterparts, often strike a deal with one manufacturer, Kauffman said. Clients will often receive furniture from one source, making the option to mix-and-match high-end and low-end pieces challenging.

EthoSource does not maintain exclusive deals or contractual obligations with manufacturers, giving the dealer the flexibility to spread out its product sources and find the best price for its clients.  

2. Explore Different Materials

The road to an over-budget office renovation is paved with granite countertops and wooden conference tables. Office managers now have more options, and surfaces can imitate the look of high-quality materials without the high cost. Laminate, once a staple of 1980s dorm rooms and hospitals, can now imitate realistic wood or stone patterns. Kauffman has sold fewer wood products as cheaper alternatives have grown in popularity. 

“It is hard now to distinguish wood from laminate,” Kauffman said. “So it is not just different manufacturers, but different materials that can be used in parts of the office.” 


3. Prioritize The Spaces That Need A 'Wow' Factor

Not all spaces are created equal, and furniture should reflect the intended purpose. High-end chairs and tables will go unseen in a back office break room. Clients need to know where to invest in upscale items. 

“In many cases, clients are putting products in places where high-end furniture is not necessary,” Kauffman said. "It is either overengineered or aesthetically more than what is needed."

Kauffman works with EthoSource clients to identify the spaces that need to impress guests or potential customers versus ones that can make do with cheaper, yet well-arranged, interior design.  

EthoSource will often incorporate pre-owned, refurbished furniture into these back areas, keeping in line with a tight budget. Kauffman looks for the right niche product for the specific area of the office across multiple manufacturers, and with good design work and planning, all the pieces blend together.  

4. Use Multiple Manufacturers For One Furniture Product

To cut costs further, EthoSource will source products from multiple manufacturers for a single furniture item. In the case of sourcing a conference table, Kauffman said that his team searches for its top at a good price and buys legs somewhere else. The strategy results in a better price point than buying the piece in its entirety. 

5. Test Out Space Before Adding Accessories  

When designing an office space on a budget, Kauffman said that testing out a space with the essentials before filling it with additional products can prevent wasteful purchases. Clients might want keyboard trays and desks with adjustable heights, but it is not until they have worked in the office for one to three months that managers can assess what employees need. 

Following office trends without forethought can lead to poor investment in furniture. While small breakout rooms for informal meetings have grown in popularity, the idea might not match what a staff needs every day and can lead to problems like noise complaints.

EthoSource works with customers to identify the furniture and tools they can hold off buying until they have spent time in the space and can determine what would improve the office environment.

“You shouldn’t just buy something you don’t end up using because you didn’t anticipate how you would act in your new environment,” Kauffman said. “Why spend money on a tool that you are not going to utilize?’

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