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Commercial-Grade vs Residential-Grade Furniture - What You Need to Know

  • 3 min read

As you were browsing for your perfect setup, you may have encountered the "Commercial-Grade" classification. What does it mean, and why should you care?

In short, Commercial-Grade furniture is designed to be used in public spaces. Its function is to handle the wear and tear of intense usage over long periods and pass strict safety tests defined by national standards. 

Residential-Grade furniture, typically used in one's home, is designed for less intensive usage and less stringent safety standards.

Behind those two distinct categories hide a few considerations worth looking at.

Furniture made famous

Residential furniture is made easily accessible to the large public. Big furniture store chains like IKEA or CB2 advertise their products very widely to end consumers focusing on convenience and availability. As a result, products are getting high visibility on the markets.  

Commercial grade furniture is usually distributed through more specialized channels and is advertised to businesses such as interior designers or corporations. Their designs are therefore less known to end consumers. 

Residential vs commercial grade furniture - need to know by PhilZen
Commercial vs Residential grade what you need to know by PhilZen

Customize your dream home

Residential grade furniture can be available for quick-ship within a few days. However, the downside of stock items often means limited sizes and colors are available. Premium brands usually offer made-to-order, fully customizable designs that involve fabrication times.

Most commercial-grade designs are made to order, which offers customers unlimited options. Like HAG with the Capisco, some suppliers optimized their supply chains to offer fully customizable designs within as little as 10 days and offer attractive pricing to compete with residential brands. 

Quality furniture for the long term  

A simple way to tell the quality of a product is to look at its warranty policy. For example, residential furniture is typically covered for one year, whereas commercial ones typically range from 5 to 10 years. 

The fabrication process, materials, and components used are the key differentiators between the two.

Commercial vs residential grade need to know by philzen
Commercial vs residential grade need to know by PhilZen

How safe is furniture?

Commercial grade furniture must comply with high industry safety standards to avoid any possible accidents. ANSI/BIFMA for instance, certifies furniture safety, comfort, sustainability, and Durability Standards. 

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOC) certifications like Pure Air are also stringent on commercial grade furniture, guaranteeing less toxic environments.  

What is your furniture's environmental footprint?

As for safety, commercial-grade suppliers must comply with high industry standards, and, as it is also a competitive market, their customers expect them to push the environmental policies as much as possible. 

Residential furniture, in some cases, could be assimilated to fast fashion; It's trendy, cheap, isn't meant to last but unfortunately generates a lot of waste. 

residential vs commercial grade need to know by PhiLZen
Commercial vs residential grad need to know by PhilZen

The true cost of furniture 

"You get what you pay for" remains very accurate in this case. Commercial furniture will usually be more expensive as the materials, components, and crafts are of better quality. But in the long run, isn't investing in a durable product more worth it?

To summarize

The average Residential-grade furniture may be cheaper and have more trendy designs; however, commercial-grade furniture is generally more durable, better quality, more sustainable, and safer. 

However, not all residential and commercial furniture is made equal. The line between the two blurs when comparing premium residential brands, which offer similar higher quality, customization options, and environmental consciousness as commercial brands.  

In the end, whether you buy residential or commercial furniture depends on its function and what your expectations are. 

At Phil Zen, we leveraged the pandemic to reach out to a selection of commercial furniture suppliers to offer our customers access to outstanding designs which were only accessible to businesses before. Brands such as HAG, Davis, AMQ Steelcase, or Boss Design really are a few great examples. Contact us if we can assist you in making a selection.