What is Contract Furniture?

When searching for furniture, you may have come across the term ‘contract furniture’. But what exactly is it, and how does it relate to furniture use and furniture design?

The simplest definition of contract furniture is furniture that is used for commercial purposes. Typically, contract furniture is used by landlords and letting agents, university halls for student accommodation, hotels, B&Bs, guest houses, offices, bars, restaurants and leisure facilities. The furniture itself can range from contract bed frames, mattresses, sofas, chairs, lighting, desks, bedroom furniture, dining facilities, upholstery and linens. The list is almost endless!

The term ‘contract’ itself refers to the written agreement between the seller and buyer when the goods are bought. And when furniture is sold for commercial use in the UK, it has to meet a strict set of criteria to meet a number of British Standards.

Contract Furniture and Crib 5

The legislation ensures that any upholstered furniture sold has been rigorously checked and meets safety standards (BS7177 ignition source 5/Crib 5). Furniture for contract use must meet minimum standard of Crib 5. The regulations apply to everyone in a business chain, from manufacturers and suppliers through to landlords, upholsters, second hand furniture suppliers and letting agents.

In what way is contract furniture different to ‘normal furniture?

In essence, apart from the applicable regulations, furniture for contract use doesn’t appear to be different from furniture intended for residential domestic use. In fact, there’s no reason why contract furniture can’t be used in this way.

However, because contract furniture is intended for heavier commercial use, it needs to be durable. For this reason, if you’re buying for commercial use, you should look for a product guarantee of a minimum of 5 years, to ensure durability.

Items such as contract bed frames and mattresses need to be able to withstand heavy use, so must be particularly strong and robust – the more superior quality you can afford, the better return on investment you’ll get. For instance, if you’re buying contract bed frames, try and opt for solid steel and always make sure that the bed frames meet British Standard Safety Regulations.