What’s The Difference Between Residential and Commercial Furniture?

cross-back-metal-bentwood-chairOne of the questions that we’re often asked by our customers is what is the difference between residential and commercial furniture? After all, surely a chair is a chair and a table is…..well….. a table, whether you happen to purchase it from a retail outlet or a commercial dealer. Unfortunately, it’s not quite as cut and dried as that.

When you consider the amount of times that you sit on your dining chairs at home, it’s probably less than an hour per day, if that. Now compare that to a cafe, restaurant, or other hospitality industry, and the furniture is more likely to be in use for up to 12 hours a day, for probably 6 days a week. As you can imagine, getting up to 12 times or even more usage than a typical dining chair in your home, means that commercial style furniture is subject to far more stress which can quickly weaken a chair that isn’t fit for purpose. Also, the chairs in your home are used mostly by your family members whereas those in a cafe are used by people of all shapes and sizes. In actual fact most commercial chairs are tested up hold up to around 300 lb and some, even more.

It’s more than looks

Although residential furniture is often considered more attractive, in reality the difference between commercial and residential furniture is not about looks but instead it’s all about construction. As we’ve already discussed, commercial furniture needs to be able to withstand the daily rigours of a bustling establishment as well as abuse at the hands of both customers and staff. For this reason it’s manufactured from heavier, stronger materials. Commercial manufacturers usually use a thicker gauge steel than retail manufacturers, typically 16-18 as opposed to 22-24. Commercial grade wood furniture is typically made from hardwood such as beechwood whereas residential wood furniture is often made from soft wood such as pine. In addition, any fabrics need to be resistant to punctures, stains, and tears which usually means vinyl instead of leather and acrylic instead of cotton. Finally, since commercial furniture has to be able to withstand customers of all weights, it usually involves mortise and tenon joinery.

Commercial furniture is often more expensive to buy than residential but when you consider the amount of use it receives and the cost per use, it works out considerably cheaper. So, when you consider that commercial furniture can get easily used 12 times more than residential furniture yet only costs on average 2 to 3 times more than residential furniture, it’s an extremely cost effective choice for bars, cafes, and restaurants.

Here at Cafe Furniture Melbourne we stock a wide range of commercial furniture of all styles, shapes, materials, and colours, so you’re sure to find just what you’re looking for. We’re constantly adding to our inventory, too, so it’s always worth checking back on a regular basis. Why not browse our online store and get inspired, or if you happen to be passing our Campbellfield showroom, then please drop in and see the products for yourself. We’re holding a timber sale for the whole of November too, so it’s a good chance to grab yourself a bargain. If you need any further information on any of our products, please call us on (03) 9357 9688 and we’ll do all we to assist you.