Materials Used in Custom Commercial Furniture

July 6, 2020
July 6, 2020 QA Group
Image via Unsplash

Custom-designing commercial furniture gives businesses the unique ability to choose specific materials that meet their aesthetic and functionality requirements. Explore some of the best materials for commercial booths and banquettes, tables, and outdoor furniture below, and then review more exhaustive material options for wood, glass, metal, and upholstered commercial furniture.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Booths & Banquettes

Custom commercial booths and banquettes are usually made out of wood, laminate, and upholstery:

  • Wood booths: Wood booths are made up of a solid wood material. They are easy to clean and feature a traditional, natural, or rustic look.
  • Laminate booths: Laminate booths consist of a wood frame covered in trim, making them easy to clean. A neutral laminate color that matches your business’s existing decor is usually best.
  • Upholstery booths: Upholstery booths also use a wooden frame, but are covered in upholstered foam padding on the frame’s seat and back to make them more comfortable.

Upholstery options for commercial booths and banquettes include fabric, leather, and vinyl:

  • Fabric: Fabric is the most cost-effective option for commercial booth upholstery and comes in the largest variety of colors, patterns, and textures. Commercial fabrics are custom-designed for heavy-duty use to slow down wear.
  • Leather: The most expensive commercial booth upholstery option, leather has a long lifetime, ages well, and is very easy to clean.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is cost-effective but also highly durable and low-maintenance, making it an ideal middle ground option. Vinyl also comes in a huge variety of styles and can mimic both the look of fabric and leather.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Tables

Commercial tables are made up of two parts: the tabletop and the table base. These parts don’t necessarily need to be made of the same material.

Popular options for commercial tabletops include:

  • Wood tabletops: Wood is a common choice for commercial tabletops because of its affordability, durability, and natural aesthetic. Wood tabletops come in a variety of different wood species, stains, and edge style options and are usually finished with mineral oil or a varnish.
  • Metal tabletops: Metal is a great option for outdoor seating, such as on a restaurant patio or deck, because it is weather- and rust-resistant, functional, and lightweight. Stainless steel and aluminum are the most popular choices.
  • Granite tabletops: Higher-end commercial establishments often opt for granite tabletops for their more luxurious aesthetic and durability. Granite tabletops can be used both indoors and outdoors, require little maintenance, and are easy to clean.
  • Laminate tabletops: Laminate tabletops are a budget-friendly option that doesn’t limit you in terms of design. This practical tabletop material comes in a huge variety of size and style options, is very durable and low-maintenance, and is suited to all types of commercial settings.

While commercial wood tabletops are often paired with wood bases for a consistent aesthetic, metal is the most common choice for commercial table bases, including iron, aluminum, steel, and stainless steel. Table bases also come in different types (such as round, square, tripod, and X-shaped), heights, and finishes.

Best Materials for Custom Commercial Outdoor Furniture

While commercial outdoor furniture should fit into the overall aesthetic of your establishment, its most crucial requirement is weather resistance. More specifically, commercial outdoor furniture materials need to be moisture-, rust-, and fade-resistant and easy to clean and maintain. 

Popular materials for commercial outdoor furniture that meet these requirements include:

  • Wood outdoor furniture: Many different types of wood are used for commercial outdoor furniture, but teak is the most common because of its long lifetime (up to 50 years), extremely low maintenance, and easy care. Teak is easily cleaned with water and soap and is weather- and pest-resistant. The only drawback of teak outdoor furniture is that it generally costs more than other options.
  • Plastic outdoor furniture: Rain, mildew, and fade resistance and the ability to be cleaned with water and soap alone make plastic ideal for commercial outdoor furniture. Common plastic types include polypropylene, polyethylene, and high-density polyethylene, and recycled plastics are also available for businesses looking for more eco-friendly options. Plastic outdoor furniture may not be suitable for highly windy areas, however, as it is very lightweight and could be blown away.
  • Metal outdoor furniture: Metal is often used for outdoor furniture because it can withstand moisture and is low-maintenance. Downsides of metal are that it retains heat when placed in direct sunlight and may corrode at areas where different furniture pieces are joined with fasteners and bolts.
  • Wicker outdoor furniture: While natural wicker materials can be damaged by moisture and humidity, synthetic wicker is water-resistant and easy to clean, making it ideal for the outdoors. Synthetic wicker outdoor furniture is also low-maintenance, lightweight, and eco-friendly, benefits that unfortunately make it slightly more expensive than other outdoor furniture material options.
  • Glass outdoor furniture: Tempered glass is 100% weather-, pest-, and stain-resistant and thus commonly used for commercial outdoor tabletops. Keep in mind that tempered glass is quite heavy, so it’s not a good option for outdoor tables that need to be moved frequently. 

Types of Custom Commercial Furniture Materials

Of course, the primary benefit of custom-designing commercial furniture is that you get the freedom to choose the materials that are used. Below are some of the wood, glass, metal, upholstery, and hardware options businesses can choose from.

Wood Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

When designing commercial wood furniture, you get to decide between hardwood and softwood:

  • Hardwoods: Hardwood grows more slowly than softwood, making it more expensive. However, hardwood is also more durable, fire-resistant, and stylistically versatile. Types of hardwood include:
    • Walnut
    • Ash
    • Mahogany
    • Birch
    • Teak
    • Red oakMaple
    • Cherry
    • East Indian rosewood
    • Beech
  • Softwoods: Softwood is more lightweight, lighter in color, and less expensive than hardwood. However, it has poorer fire resistance. Types of softwood include:
    • Lodgepole pine
    • Parana pine (also known as Brazilian pine)
    • Eastern white pine
    • Pitch pine
    • Longleaf pine
    • Scots pine
    • Fir
    • White spruce
    • Larch
    • Western hemlock
    • Red cedar (also known as aromatic red cedar)
    • Yew (also known as European yew)

Glass Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Types of glass for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Standard clear glass
  • Ultra clear low-iron glass
  • Gray glass
  • Smokey gray glass
  • Warm brown glass
  • Bronze glass
  • Acid-etched glass
  • Laminated glass
  • Frosted glass
  • Patterned glass
  • Back-painted glass
  • Tinted glass
  • Tempered glass

Glass for applications such as glass tabletops can also be cut into the shape of your choice, including rectangles, circles, squares, and ovals. The edges of the glass may be flat-polished, pencil-polished, beveled, or seamed.

Metal Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Metal is a popular choice for commercial furniture frames, furniture rests, and table legs and is often paired with other materials. Types of metal for commercial furniture include:

  • Steel
  • Stainless steel 
  • Iron
  • Aluminum 
  • Brass
  • Copper
  • Wrought iron 
  • Alloys 

Keep in mind that numerous metal finishes are also available to give your commercial furniture a unique aesthetic, including antique, brushed, hammered, polished, and satin.

Upholstery Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

A lot of custom commercial furniture is upholstered. Upholstery options for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Fabrics:
    • Natural fibers:
      • Linen
      • Cotton
      • Wool
      • Silk
      • Rayon
    • Synthetic fibers:
      • Polyester
      • Nyon
      • Acrylic
      • Olefin
      • Polypropylene
  • Leather
  • Vinyl

Hardware Options for Custom Commercial Furniture

Hardware helps hold your custom commercial furniture together, makes it functional, and adds to the overall style. Types of hardware for custom commercial furniture include:

  • Nails
  • Screws
  • Fasteners
  • Tracks
  • Face frame and frameless hinges
  • Drawer pulls
  • Finger pulls
  • Locks
  • Handles
  • Cabinet knobs
  • Hooks
  • Cabinet bumpers
  • Timber plates
  • Casters

Many of these hardware options come in different styles, such as classic, modern, rustic, and farmhouse.