Which is Best for Waiting Room Chairs?


When it comes to office waiting room chairs, you essentially have two choices: wood or steel frame models. Sure, there are plastics and other composite materials on the market, but the vast majority of seating options will be constructed using a wood or steel frame. Before you make your final choice, be sure to weigh the various advantages and disadvantages of both materials and choose the option the best suits your needs.

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  1. Cost
  2. Aesthetics
  3. Durability
  4. Cleaning
  5. Flexible Design
  6. Sustainability
  7. Bottom Line

In this category, there is no clear winner. Both wood and steel options are available at a variety of price points, so as a general rule, you should be able to find options from both categories that fit your budget.

From a manufacturing standpoint, wood is typically easier to work with, which means that furniture companies don’t have to invest as much money in tools and equipment. That savings can be passed on to the consumer.

However, the price of raw materials for wood furniture tends to be higher. If the furniture frame will be covered in foam and upholstery, manufacturers can rely on cheaper woods, but more desirable woods, such as teak, tend to come at a price. Essentially, you are paying for the aesthetic qualities and rarity of the wood.

Historically, steel furniture has been more difficult to manufacture, but advances in technology are beginning to change that. Metallurgists have found creative ways to recycle and work with steel so that it offers an attractive price that may be more budget friendly than solid wood counterparts.

This all comes down to personal taste. Most people probably associate steel with a cold and sterile look that might not create the most welcoming reception area. However, steel is an incredibly dynamic material that can be shaped and finished in unique ways. While steel framed furniture certainly does offer a more contemporary look, that doesn’t mean that it can’t also be warm and comfortable.

The aesthetic qualities of wood are perhaps its biggest selling feature. There is just no way to replicate the look and feel of natural wood grain. It can convey a message of warmth, richness and luxury. Wood office reception furniture may be the only option that creates the right look and feel that you want your building to have.

Wood and steel frames offer an impressive level of durability, making both options a sound investment. Wood is naturally strong although durability can vary to some degree depending on which type of wood is used. While wood can break and splinter, joints are the most common area where damage occurs. At the same time, centuries of woodworking and construction methods have gone into creating joints that can withstand frequent use and a variety of different stressors.

One benefit of steel frames is that they don’t offer the same potential for weaknesses where pieces have been joined together. In addition, steel is an incredibly strong material that is a popular choice for constant use, high traffic areas. Ultimately, if durability is your top priority, then steel is your best choice. You won’t have to worry about replacing your steel framed furniture any time soon.

While both wood and steel frames are easy to clean and simply need to be wiped down, steel tends to be more resistant to bacteria, pests and other contagions that have the tendency to accumulate in high traffic areas. In addition, you have to be careful about what kind of cleaners you use on wood. The wrong product can not only ruin the finish, but damage the wood below.

Ultimately, steel is the most low-maintenance option that will help keep your employees and visitors healthy. You can use practically any type of cleaner and wipe down the furniture on a daily basis without worry about damaging the finish.

Steel offers practically limitless design options. You can invest in custom pieces that can be manufactured in any size and shape. If you are looking to create a truly stunning reception area, steel may be the right material to showcase creativity and make a statement.

The flexibility of wood should not be underestimated. While there are some inherent design limitations that are a part of working with wood, you may also be surprised to see how far certain furniture companies are able to take wood.

Technically, wood is considered a sustainable material. You can plant more trees and replace the ones that were used in the manufacturing process. However, not all companies practice sustainable harvesting practices. If you are interested in wood furniture and conscientious shopping, then you will want to do your research and make sure that you are partnering with the right companies.

One can also argue that wood has the advantage of being completely biodegradable and it can be reused and recycled into other products. Again, this all depends on the manufacturer and their commitment to producing green products.

On the same hand, steel is also highly recyclable. It can easily be melted down and reshaped into any variety of products. However, consumers should also be aware of the potential for VOC emissions. Any manufactured product will emit certain chemicals into the air, which can affect the overall air quality. Large buildings, such as hospitals, that welcome patients who may already have a weakened immune system or breathing problems could be affected by a large concentration of reception and waiting room furniture.

The good news is that many products come with low-emission certifications. Greenguard is just one organization that promotes environmental health and sustainability through their certification programs. Look for the Greenguard label and you can shop with confidence and know that you are protecting your employees and visitors.

While proponents of steel or wood may not agree, both waiting room chair frame options offer a range of benefits and no real disadvantages. If anything, you may be able to find more affordable steel options, but that isn’t true across the board. It is up to you to find the right balance of features that fits your needs. Whether you choose wood or steel, you can create a beautiful and durable reception area that serves the needs of your guests.

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