3 Main Categories of Office Furniture Styles

Even with the thousands of options available when choosing office furniture, everything basically falls into three distinct categories:

  1. Traditional
  2. Transitional
  3. Contemporary

The traditional and contemporary styles fulfill the more extreme and defined needs to express one’s taste. But it is the transitional styles that have gained such widespread appeal in recent years. As a matter of fact we are finding that more than 50% of what we sell today falls within the “transitional” styles. The more blended design approach works with a wider variety of furnishings and is less likely to limit a company’s personality. And the furniture you choose defines who you are. Which style are you?

TRADITIONAL

traditional furniture
Kimball Senator

Traditional furniture is exactly what it sounds like – traditional. Usually made of wood, with sometimes ornate accents, traditional furniture has been a staple in office environments for more than a century. There’s a certain beauty in the warmth and comfort that traditionally styled furniture can have. But it can also come off as antiquated or gaudy without careful consideration.

 

TRANSITIONAL

transitional furniture
Knoll Reff

Transitional furniture is less rigid by definition, but essentially marries traditional styling with modern aesthetics. Materials and styles vary widely but laminates are often used to provide a contrasted look of wood against metal, with glass sometimes used as an accent. With this style of furniture, the interior designer has a lot of flexibility to let  the environment dictate mood and atmosphere.

CONTEMPORARY

contemporary and modern furniture
Knoll Ross Lovegrove Collection

Contemporary furniture usually embraces minimalism in its quest for a sleek appearance. Metal, glass and composite materials are commonly used to achieve this. White and black are the most popular colors, sometimes using bright and bold colors for contrast. There’s a cleanliness to this look, often appearing futuristic in its execution. Critics claim this style can sometimes feel cold and uninviting, when taken to extremes.

“Contemporary” furniture is also considered “modern” by most standards. Yet, surprisingly, much of the furniture we classify as contemporary was designed in the 50’s and 60’s. Pioneers in this mid-century modern design such as Le Corbusier, Mies van der Rohe and Saarinen inspired many of the new designs being manufactured today including the chair below by Saarinen.

tulip chair by Eero Saa

What do you think? What’s your favorite style of furniture?

 

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