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Building an Office on a Budget
Furnishing your small business is easier than you think. Read on for more information and tips.

by Wayfair Supply

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First impressions are important. Regardless of its size, your office space is a reflection of your business—to both your employees and prospective customers. Aim for a place that is functional, clean, and inviting. The right furnishings will help you achieve the atmosphere you want. Don't worry, choosing the right items doesn't have to be an overwhelming task. Proper planning, budgeting, and research are the keys to success. 

Assess Your Needs

  1. Make a list of furniture and decor the office will need in order to function.
  2. ​Record how many employees will need each item.
  3. Take an inventory of the items you already have.
  4. Work with a professional account manager or interior designer to ensure that you are getting the best available pricing and that the furniture will fit your space; both stylistically and physically. Wayfair Supply offers a free Premier Program for business customers. Premier Program members receive a dedicated business account manager that serves as a consultant for all your business furniture and supply needs. 

Tip! Many office leasing agreements include some of the necessary furniture for tenants to use and share. Reevaluate your initial list to account for furniture and accessories that will be provided. 

​To save money, consider multifunctional furniture. All-in-one pieces, such as printers that also scan and fax, are priced competitively, take up less space, and are easier to install than their separate counterparts.

Though it's typically recommended you purchase décor at the end of the project, don't overlook how important these small accents can be. A stylish office can promote an excited and energetic working environment. Practical decor items, such as accent shelving amd storage baskets, serve to add personality and keep the office clutter-free. Don't feel the need to entirely decorate before you move in. Remember you can always add to your style over time.

Office Setup

Consider your company culture and the type of work being done before deciding on a floor plan. An open concept allows for more flexibility with furniture choices. This solution makes     adapting the space easier as both the business and the team grow. A layout with cubicles or individual offices can require more furniture since each employee will have his or her own separate space. This more traditional layout is ideal for a company that relies heavily on individual work. Remember the set up of an office directly impacts productivity, so be thoughtful when creating your floor plan.

Tip! A fresh coat of paint on the walls is an inexpensive and long-lasting way to refresh your workspace. If you can, look to incorporate hints of colors that are associated with your brand.

When it comes time to set up and install your new furniture make sure to provide accessibility to frequently used items, such as the printer, kitchen, and restrooms. Arrange furniture in a way that makes it easy to keep the overall space tidy and functional. Too much furniture in a given space can look messy and make employees feel cramped. 

Set Your Budget

Arriving at a realistic budget takes many factors into consideration. Purchasing new office furniture can be a costly upfront investment, but quality pieces pay off over time. 

Here's a sample furniture budget to get you started, based on a company with 50 employees:
Furniture ItemQuantityEstimated Cost 
Desk Chairs50$10,000 ($200 each)
Desks50$12,500 ($250 each)
Conference Tables3$3,000 ($1,000 each)
Conference Room Chairs30$4,500 ($150 each)
Breakroom Table and Chair Sets2$1,000 ($500 each)
Reception Coffee Table1$1,000 
Reception Sofa1$900
Reception Chairs2$800 ($400 each)
Reception Desk1$1,500

Research and Purchase 

Do some research to figure out which furniture styles will fit in your budget and provide the best fit for the company's needs.

Office furniture options can vary greatly by size, adaptation, quality, and price. Desks and chairs each range from $30 - $8,500. In general, the more expensive an item the better the quality and durability. Low-cost items may initially seem like the best choice, but may end up costing more in the long run to maintain or replace. It is worth investing in furniture that will keep employees happy and healthy while working. Ergonomic designs are ranked favorably, as employees attribute back and neck pain to unsupportive furniture. Read more about ergonomic seating and ways to setup an ergonomic workspace.

As you are researching, generate a detailed list of furniture styles and options of items you like. Be sure to include a quote for each item to help you compare before making your final decision.

Tip! Always measure your space twice before purchasing, so you don't make any mistakes. To help visualize the new items in the space, use masking tape on the floor to outline your furniture layout plan. Be aware of any obstructions that may make moving in difficult or impossible. You may also have to alter your layout due to outlet placement. 

Before you buy, find out if you are eligible for any corporate discounts. Many companies (especially those ordering in bulk) qualify for special rates from vendors for furniture, supplies, electronics, and internet packages. Wayfair Supply offers a Premier Program, which provides competitive pricing and free 2-day shipping on most products.

Once you've made your purchases, print documentation of your orders to keep on file. These will come in handy during tax season. 

Additional Info

Are you familiar with the Section 179 Tax Deduction? Furniture and other equipment purchases can be deducted and help bring in a better bottom line. This helps businesses make purchases without as much of a financial burden. 

You can stretch your budget by purchasing used furniture, or leasing furniture. Refinish or repurpose items that you already have to make them seem new.

Is your company ready for a new workspace but not quite the cost or commitment of building out a new office from scratch? A coworking space might be for you. A coworking space is a shared office with individuals and small groups from diffrent businesses all working in one space. It is beneficial to those who usually work individually but would rather not in isolation. These spaces provide almost all of the standard office necessities, some even for free in exchange for mentorship, collaboration, and advising with other small businesses. 
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