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What is Contract Furniture?

Contract Furniture is a term used in the furniture industry for products that are designed, tested, and manufactured to specific quality standards so that they can be used for commercial applications. By meeting these standards the end user will have the assurance that the furniture has been designed and manufactured with the appropriate consideration to health, safety and sustainability. Furniture that meets these criteria is likely to be more durable, support better productivity and result in less work-related injuries and accidents.

Conforming to strict legislation

Contract furniture literally covers any furniture that a commercial business may require so this cuts across restaurants, bars, cafes, hotels, offices, schools, universities and a whole lot more. When purchasing contract furniture, as well as the aesthetic appearance of the pieces, close attention needs to be taken to ensure that the furniture:

  • Conforms to fire regulations and standards ( FSC and/or PEFC certified)
  • Can withstand high levels of usage
  • Provides good resistance to scratches, hot objects and liquids
  • Upholstery has resistance to abrasion, pilling and soiling as well as good seam strength

There is strict legislation in place to ensure that contract furniture meets certain standards. For example:

  • Restaurant chairs must meet ‘Strength & Stability’ BS 4875 – 1:2001 test level 4 or 5
  • Sofas and Armchairs must meet ‘Strength & Stability BS 4875 – 1:2001 test level 3 or 4 (rough treatment)
  • Upholstered furniture must meet with Fire Safety BS7176:2007 medium hazard

Any contract furniture that is sold for commercial use is required by law to meet standard Crib 5 as a minimum. This is a legislation that ensures that any upholstered contract furniture meets strict safety standards and has been checked extensively.

When choosing contract furniture it is important that it reaches the abovementioned high standards so you can be assured of its durability and fitness for purpose.

Selection criteria for choosing contract furniture

A critical aspect of contract furniture is that it should be manufactured and designed for long term commercial use. To that end, it therefore needs to be more durable and hardwearing than furniture which is bought for the home because it will have to deal with considerably more footfall and wear and tear.

When choosing contract furniture it is recommended that you look for guarantees that last for at least 5 years and because contract furniture is normally bought in bulk, careful consideration will need to be given to the space available and how the furniture intends to be used. The criteria for selecting contract furniture will typically fall into the following areas:

  • Available budget
  • Contract Terms
  • Design, style and colour
  • Durability and quality
  • Adherence to safety standards
  • Maintenance requirements
  • Length of guarantees
  • Quantity requirements
  • Space available
  • Delivery requirements


In summary, the construction of contract furniture has to be to a very high standard using durable, long lasting materials and be compliant with safety regulations.

Purchasing contract furniture enables businesses to acquire legally compliant furniture which demonstrates not only a commitment to their staff but could be absolutely vital in the event of a fire. Businesses that buy legally compliant furniture are less likely to face prosecution in the event of a fire.

With contract furniture there is also more choice than standard furniture when it comes to aspects of design, colour and configuration. Bespoke contract furniture can be designed for specific spaces and to align with company branding so that it represents a particular image and creates a strong sense of identity.

To find out more about contract furniture please contact us now and speak to one of our specialist team.

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