What is Contract Furniture

We’ve been operating in the interior design sector for 20 years and one of the most frequent questions we are asked is: “what is contract furniture, and why do I need it?”

Put simply, it is commercial furniture designed for frequent and heavy use. Built to a different specification to the items used in our houses, contract furniture is more robust thanks to characteristics like being screwed and dowelled at major joints, where its domestic counterparts are typically just glued.

Contract furniture solutions are suitable for all public and business spaces including pubs, restaurants, hotels and offices. There is a huge range of products on offer that can be tweaked and adapted to suit individual brand styles and take into consideration the particular challenges and usage requirements faced in different venues. For example, boutique hotel furniture will be very different to pub furniture!

In addition to its sturdiness, this type of furniture is also rigorously tested for quality and must conform with more stringent health and safety requirements by law. These include British Standards for flammability (Crib 5 FR) and passing the Martindale fabric abrasion test, in which material is subjected to a minimum of 40,000 rubs to prove its durability.

But from a creative perspective, one of the most important things that designers look for in contract furniture manufacturers, is being able to create bespoke products.

Here at Hill Cross, we work with a trusted selection of experienced and qualified manufacturing professionals who are contract furniture specialists. We specialise in bespoke projects and creating prestigious pieces designed by our in-house CAD team and our procurement team have the capability to source fabrics, materials and designs from a trusted list of suppliers. So when an interior designer or project manager comes to us with a specific space, contour or tricky angle to work with, we can deliver.

Bespoke contract furniture can mean many things, from foams and fillings to the type of material used to cover dining chairs, to table pedestal colours and chair leg stain. This level of control over the look and feel over fixed and loose furniture means that the interior of the venue can be kept in line with the overall brand identity of the business – something that matters more than many people might realise.

We’re all familiar with the rustic wood and earthy coloured interior of Nandos, the purple of Premier Inn and the red and white of Santander bank. Just a few different examples of a brand being continued into decor – when you walk into any establishment owned by these companies, you know exactly where you are and this breeds trust. You know what sort of service and experience you will be getting.

High end restaurant furniture is never cheap and plastic-y, a vegan cafe wouldn’t use leather chairs, McDonalds doesn’t furnish its restaurants with crushed velvet sofas – it’s all about brand identity and what the target audience expects. This is the importance of bespoke design and ensuring that the furniture selected for a project is the right fit in terms of size, material, colour and style.

Our team is on hand to help with any aspect of contract furniture and we have developed a specific process of working with our customers to ensure that everything runs smoothly from initial enquiry through to delivery and installation.

If you have a query relating to any aspect of contract furniture, contact Hill Cross Furniture’s expert team and we’ll be more than happy to assist.

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