Let’s face it—you don’t know what you don’t know. How could you? If you are buying a custom-made conference table and you’re not a builder, chances are, there’s a lot you don’t know. In fact, many furniture builders we interview who have been in the furniture-building business for twenty years or more don’t know that there is a lot they don’t know. So, how could you? Here are a few tips.
Things You Must Know About Your Custom Conference Table and Its Builder
Building a conference room table is different from building a dining room table. While both of these are tables, their purposes are entirely different. While a passenger car and a sports car are both automobiles, if you want performance, selecting a passenger car would be a mistake.
Check the résumé of your builder before committing, to see if they qualify as a conference table builder. What references do they have, and what do they say about the results? Let’s face it—conference room tables are not cheap. Chances are, you will be hanging onto yours for a while, so you’ll want to know you have made a good investment. If that’s not enough, the furniture you put in your conference room is reflective of your company, so you need to make the right statement.
Your Conference Table and What You Need Know
Business furniture is designed for designated purposes. One of those purposes is effective communication. That means your meeting table needs to have the right communication tools. Your provider needs to know what they are and advise you accordingly. Separately, there are coding regulations for running electrical wiring through furniture, and knowing what they are and acting preemptively could prevent fire damage. Knowing in advance the best type of communication tools to use for your business needs—how many units you need and where to place them—is utterly essential. After holes are cut in your new conference table, you can’t put the cutouts back, you’re stuck.
We at 90 Degree Office Concepts have found that customers don’t often know themselves what they need or how to obtain it—they depend upon professional advisors.
Things About Your Conference Table You Probably Don’t Know to Ask
Table design is one of the most critical attributes indigenous to a well-executed modern conference room table. Though it might seem like a simple thing, designing for knee space is something many people don’t know or think about. The wrong size and your attendees’ experience at your meetings will be an uncomfortable experience. Conversely, the wrong size, weight, or material base will create an imbalance between the top and support. Getting it right is key to not looking like you sacrificed a few bucks in exchange for good design.
Why Conference Table Material Design Is So Important
With custom-made conference room tables, there are always ways to save a few dollars. Two of these are material cost and labor. The question is if your savings are well-placed. Material selection is vital to your table design for more than the reason of dollars to spend. Materials should be selected primarily with function in mind. Using a shoe in place of a hammer to put a nail in the wall will do in a pinch, I suppose; however, it is important to always use the best tools for the job. Knowing what they are and how to use them effectively is crucial to any proper conference table design.
High-Pressure laminate for general material use is certainly a durable, lower-cost solution to your conference table construction. However, when most custom table builders design laminate conference tables, they use what we call self-edging. That means the surface laminate is used on the edge as well as the top. That is a damaged table waiting to happen. HPL is very hard and brittle. Because of this, table edges often crack and chip from chair arms hitting the table edge. A practical solution would be materials like PVC, on the table’s edge. While that solution is a functional answer, in my opinion, it’s not always a very design-worthy solution. At 90 Degree Office Concepts, we look for solutions that are both durable and attractive.
Getting Your Table Size Right
Your table size is essential for two main reasons: making it suit your room and making it fit your function. The first thing about your table size that needs to happen before all else is getting it into your space. Often, there are elevator sizes, doorways, and turns to think about. If your table is too big to fit and your provider doesn’t know or think to ask, get yourself another provider, because you will have a lot more surprises in store.
Separately, your table needs to accommodate all your intended purposes. Getting the proper size for your attendees is key to getting the right size. You need to come to the table (no pun intended) with the right formula—otherwise, you will have a big unwanted surprise when it comes time for your first full meeting. Your provider needs to discuss with you the details of your usage, so you don’t make common mistakes. Maybe the size you need functionally doesn’t fit the space or scale properly for room shape or size. The ability to devise creative solutions to make your plan work is imperative to making it all come together.
If the Visual Doesn’t Work—Think Again
Visual design is something important to any business that cares about the image they inspire. After all, if you have a choice between pretty and ugly, why would you choose ugly? That’s the problem with many custom conference table builders: even if they are good builders and you get past the not-knowing part, you must deal with the design part. It is a unique talent to be good at both design and construction. Many builders find themselves either producing ugly #@%* pieces or copying cool designs.
The problem with not being a good designer is a lack of vision. If you don’t know or can’t envision what the designer has in mind, the result is often doing it the ugly way.
Pulling All the Details Together into One Workable Plan
While I could go on forever and show you all the pitfalls you’ll need to navigate to get a custom-made conference room table you’ll be proud to have represent your company, there is a faster, more efficient way to get a great result. I assure you, I have only scratched the surface of what you need to know to get a custom-made conference table that is worth putting your name on, and that’s important. Here’s why… Like your reception area, your conference room and design speak volumes about your company. I don’t know any company that is doing so well that they can afford to ignore the importance of how their visitors think about them.
While we are not your least-costly solution, in the end, we will make sure you have all your bases well thought-out, planned, and covered.