12 Tips For Buying Classroom Furniture by UK Educational Furniture, 18/11/15

When choosing school furniture think about creating flexible learning environments and how you can create learning spaces which can be easily reconfigured to suit different teaching styles. Choose modular design furniture which can be moved to create different settings. This will help rejuvenate the traditional classroom and enhance the learning experience.

01 flexibility

When choosing school furniture think about creating flexible learning environments and how you can create learning spaces which can be easily re-configured to suit different teaching styles. Choose modular design furniture which can be moved to create different settings. This will help rejuvenate the traditional classroom and enhance the learning experience.

02 research

A little bit of research into the quality and durability of the furniture can pay off over the long term as your furniture will last, potentially, for years to come. Look at the manufacturer's guarantees on the products and the components they supply, and select items based on strength, durability, and robustness, (not just on looks)! Manufacturers will normally supply test sheets with all of their products if requested.

05 shop around

Shop around to get value for money when ordering your furniture. Traditional buying groups may not be the cheapest and the internet has opened up the world of school furniture which is easy to select and order and priced keenly. As with any marketplace shopping around can pay off.

06 ADDED EXTRAS

Take advantage of suppliers who can offer a design service, such as CAD designs for classrooms, lunch halls and reception areas, or other floorplan layout services where your supplier can do the layout work for you. This service often comes free or at a small charge as furniture suppliers look to quote for and win jobs to supply your school.

09 samples

Take advantage of manufacturers and suppliers that offer sample items such as chairs or tables. You get to try the product before ordering in quantity, giving you peace of mind about the product before spending the school budget. For a number of made-to-order products you can request samples such as polypropylene sample swatches for chairs, table laminate colour swatches and fabric or vinyl swatch cards for seating, enabling you to see and feel the colour and materials you might choose to order.

10 it’s all in the details

Make sure you order the exact specification of furniture you require. One range of tables might come in 6 different heights, with 6 different colour laminate tops, 3 different edge colour options and 2 different frame colour options! Get one of those wrong at the point of ordering and the results may be expensive in terms of time and money. Diligence and accuracy at this point is essential. A large proportion of educational furniture is made-to-order including tables, seating and storage and so correct specification is essential.
 

03 quality counts

Quality school furniture, where design and research has been invested into products, can provide health benefits to the end-user, (where seating has been designed to support good posture for example) and can even have health and safety benefits (such as anti-tilt chairs for example). Include these considerations when selecting furniture for your school, college or learning environment.

04 After-Care

What is the after-care service provided by the supplier and/or the manufacturer on the goods you are ordering? Check the manufacturer's warranty for each item, as this can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and from product to product. If you have a good relationship with your supplier they should be looking after you in terms of order selection, delivery, installation, and problem-solving any snags such as damaged items, delivery times, returns etc..

07 PLAN IN ADVANCE

Check the items are in stock, or if the items are made-to-order, can they be manufactured in time? Summer time lead times for ordering furniture can extend due to the volume of orders coming in and around the summer holiday period (June - September) so if possible avoid ordering in this timeframe or ensure you order with plenty of time if furniture is required for the beginning of the school term.

08 height

Be sure to order the correct height of chairs and tables. Different age ranges have different height recommendations for table and chair heights. Recent European recommendations have standardised the sizes of school tables and chairs and correct sizing will have health benefits as well as ergonomic benefits for creating an optimum learning environment.

11 delivery

Check the items are in stock, or if the items are made-to-order, can they be manufactured in time? Summer time lead times for ordering furniture can extend due to the volume of orders coming in and around the summer holiday period (June - September) so if possible avoid ordering in this timeframe or ensure you order with plenty of time if furniture is required for the beginning of the school term.

12 contact details

Make sure you have supplied contact names and numbers to your supplier in advance so that someone can be alerted and available when the manufacturer is arranging a delivery date. One contact phone number is not necessarily enough! If that number is engaged or busy and the delivery driver is waiting at the school gates with a lorry load of furniture, he may have to leave and come back another day. This can be unnecessary and expensive. Providing contact names and numbers is all the more important in summer holiday periods when it is often only the caretaker or one or two others who are at the school, and normal reception isn't manned.
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