A Guide to Contract Grade Furniture

A Guide to Contract Grade Furniture

If you own a commercial gathering space, such as a restaurant, you’ve probably wondered if there’s really much of a difference between residential and contract grade furniture like tables, chairs, and barstools. It’s a question that comes up often, sometimes with a touch of skepticism: how different could two chairs really be?

To help answer that, and provide a better idea of why you might need commercial grade furniture, here’s a brief guide:

What is Contract Grade Furniture?

Contract grade furniture, also known as commercial grade furniture, is any furniture used commercially. Essentially, it’s the furniture you’ll find in restaurants, hotels, airports, schools, and hospitals, including chairs, tables, bar stools, booths, and lounge seating.

What Does Contract Grade Furniture Mean?

Contract grade furniture refers to furniture built to contract-grade standards, made of high-quality, durable materials designed for heavy interaction with a multitude of people. There are strict regulatory and compliance requirements for furniture to be deemed contract grade. Typically, the products are manufactured by specialty companies whose products can’t be purchased at your standard local furniture store.

The Difference Between Commercial vs. Residential Furniture

While contract grade furniture is stylish and comfortable and often looks similar to residential furniture, there are big differences between the two.

All furniture makers must adhere to regulatory guidelines to ensure consumer safety, but the regulations are more involved with furniture intended for commercial use. For instance, any furniture used in schools, offices, or restaurants must be made of fire-resistant upholstery. Weight capacity is also a compliance requirement that commercial furniture needs to meet.

Another big difference is that commercial grade furniture, unlike residential furniture, is built with heavy use in mind. Chairs around a dining room table don’t get used in the same way, or nearly as often, as restaurant chairs. Manufacturers of commercial grade furniture have to construct tables and chairs to meet those durability demands.

The Benefits of Restaurant Grade Furniture

Designed specifically to provide easy maintenance and long-lasting resiliency, restaurant grade furniture—yet another name for commercial/contract furniture—is a must-have for any heavily-trafficked gathering space, such as a bar or restaurant. 

Here’s a more detailed look at the benefits:

  • Metal chairs and bar stools for commercial use are made with 18 gauge steel as opposed to 22 gauge in most residential furniture (the smaller the gauge, the stronger the frame).
  • Contract grade wood furniture is made of hardwood and includes additional reinforcement bars.
  • Commercial grade chairs have strong seats made of either hardwood or are padded with thick flame-retardant foam and coated in stain-resistant vinyl and other easy-to-maintain fabrics.
  • The weight capacity of commercial vs. residential furniture can vary by up to 150 lbs, with many residential chairs and bar stools topping out at 250 lbs, with commercial grade holding up to 400 lbs.
  • Both wood and metal commercial grade furniture are finished to make the surface more durable and scratch-resistant.
  • The warranty on residential furniture might be anywhere from 30 days to three years, while contract grade products are guaranteed for much longer and sometimes even carry a lifetime warranty.

Shop Stylish and Durable Contract Grade Furniture

An industry leader in commercial grade furniture, Bistro Tables and Bases makes it simple to find the furniture you need for your business, including a large selection of restaurant-ready pieces. Shop from our restaurant grade furniture and enjoy the variety of a commercial furniture superstore, with prices you can only get when you buy from us.

If you have a question about the difference between contract and residential furniture, contact us today for help with selecting and purchasing the right furniture for your business.