Design Cost Savings – Reconfiguration of Existing Furniture

Annually, IDO saves our clients a significant amount of money by repurposing or reusing existing furniture they have on hand. We are often tasked with reconfiguring existing furniture or building new furniture layouts for groups. However, instead of buying everything new, we try to reutilize what is available to us first and as much as we can.

Larger clients often have different lines of furniture and hundreds, if not thousands of components that are associated with the furniture lines they have onsite. A client may have extra parts and pieces of furniture stored in a warehouse or housed on unused floors. It is imperative to have an up-to-date inventory of all of the parts and pieces available from various furniture lines before the IDO team begins reconfiguration or developing new furniture layouts for our clients. We use that list to design a space that will fit the furniture needs of the department inhabiting the proposed space.

It is also very important for the designer to have intimate knowledge about how all of the components connect and work together. This is critical information needed to build out furniture into workstations that are conducive and supportive to the department or clients’ needs.

In the commercial setting, the clients we serve generally cover a vast amount of real estate also known as a campus. This includes multiple buildings and different types of worker groups. Departments across the campuses may work slightly differently from one group to the next. So it is important to collect information from a department leader about how their group interfaces with one another, before starting a design layout.

First, when faced with a request to change the furniture in a certain area, it is important to establish a connection with a main point of contact and ask that person a few key questions. A designer will need to establish who they are reconfiguring furniture for. What kind of group or individuals will the new furniture layout be serving? If it’s for a team of people, do these people tend to work in a constant open teaming environment, or do they mainly do their work individually and only occasionally come together as a team for meetings? One must first understand how the group works so that proper spaces can be designed to support the work type.

Second, we must consider if there are already any set standards established onsite for the client that should be followed or used as a guideline. This can change from campus to campus, building to building, and sometimes different from one floor to the next. Often when we are charged with reusing existing, or older furniture components. We can be limited to what we can do for the client, but we may be able to simulate similar settings for more modern workspaces, but still utilize older furniture components.

Typically, after meeting the department or group leader and getting a better understanding of how their team works together, we will collect information from the areas that will need to have the furniture reconfigured. We gather measurements and field verify where existing power and data jacks are located; as well as locate architectural features that need to be taken into consideration when laying out furniture in a space.

Then, using years of experience with furniture systems and sometimes old manufacturer’s specification guide, we dive in and set up a plan with furniture that will fit the space and meet the team’s needs while using available parts and pieces available onsite. We like to describe this as “solving a giant jigsaw puzzle”. Each furniture component from the system’s furniture is a piece of that puzzle. We try to find the right parts and pieces to build and create the solution to the puzzle, sometimes in different configurations. One must know the “rules” of how a particular line of furniture is put together or even dissembled. What can be connected, or how does this new configuration support to design and make the furniture safe and sound. Occasionally, we may have to supplement by purchasing a few new pieces or new task chairs that are more ergonomically sound, but overall the savings are incredibly significant as we are not ordering 100% new furniture pieces on every project.

In the end, working with a large client who owns significant assets in furniture can be beneficial. However, not every client has those kinds of furniture assets. IDO has skilled and accomplished designers that can achieve these same goals on a smaller scale. Most furniture components can be reconfigured, changed, or rearranged to fit any new way of work. Having a solid inventory, asking key questions to a department lead, measuring and field verifying, and finding a design team that is skilled with furniture products including the know-how to build workstations, will breathe new life into “old” furniture.

Do you have furniture that needs to be refreshed? Curious to see if IDO can help you or your organization reconfigure/rethink your space? Click here to contact us today. 



Written by Melanie Wilhelm