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Decorating the e-suite, and I need help!

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Question: “I’m responsible for selecting new office furniture for the VP of my department (this is who I report to) along with furniture for the Director and 10 managers. I’ve been told a dark wood color and straight lines. They want it to look ‘intimidating’ and professional. Suggestions?” — Randall S. Cook


Randall - I just finished furnishing our VP's entire brand new office building. This was a complete build-out. Talk about a lot of stress! I had 7 private offices, conference room, work room, kitchen, etc... to furnish from the ground up. My suggestion to you would be to contact some local office furnishing vendors. If you aren't sure where to look, I would suggest going to websites such as steelcase and searching for the local dealers. These dealers will assist you through the whole process from color selection to design layout, to delivery & install. They do this stuff for a living and are great at it. I was able to walk in, say here's my budget and here's the look we are going for. They provided me with various options and suggestions - plus, if you purchase the furnishings from them, they don't charge you for their design assistance. Good Luck!

Randall -
We just did a complete office move and had to supply 15 offices with furniture. This was from the CEO (My boss) all the way down to the Supervisor level. For the VP office, I would suggest looking at the offices of his/her peers and those in the higher up positions. Never put furniture in your bosses office that is better looking than those above them in the food chain. I would also suggest visiting showrooms in your area to get the look and feel you want. You also need to request a budget. Hope this helps. Wishing you well.

Intimidating! ??? Wow, I'm glad I don't work there!

We go through Hon Office furniture. I would also suggest to never have office furniture that looks better than your superiors. We have bought furniture through Staples etc but they did not last so it is better to buy quality pieces.

I just completed our office remodel. The four companies I got quotes from were Herman Miller, Steelcase, Haworth and OM Workspace (a part of Office Max). All four offer free design services if you purchase from them and will supply CAD drawings of their suggestions. For the quotes I worked up one "standard" cubicle and had all three quote on that. I then showed them all one cubicle we needed to re-design and gave them a free hand to creatively improve the space. Not an inexpensive undertaking, but the results were worth it!

I second what Gail said... if my boss specifically asked for his office to look intimidating, I'd immediately start looking for another job. My boss has always wanted his office to look inviting but professional.

We purchase from the Paoli line of office products and they have always been of great quality. From double pedestal desk to executive, conference room, etc. try

I am not sure where you are located, but 4 yrs ago we did a complete build out for out office and we went to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and we were able to see many manufactures products in one trip to see what suited us. It was great!

I would suggest to hire a commercial interior designer that does this for a living. They have knowlege in proper layout and materials for commercial envoronments. Many of the commercial furniture companies have one on staff. You will need a budget to get started. It will be much less stressful and you can concentrate on your day to day work.

Intimidating? Many years ago one of the managers in the building where I worked had a wall hanging that had an extremely bright geometric pattern directly over & behind his desk that made people dizzy when they looked at it. He told me that he had ordered that wall hanging specifically to make visitors uncomfortable.

I would suggest you hire a designer specializing in office decor. I was recently a part of a 3-person group that redecorated our office. We couldn't have done it without the professionals! It turned out beautiful, but even then we got comlaints from co-workers who didn't like it. I'm convinced these people just don't like change of any kind--whether it's good or bad!.

I assisted with this sort of project about 5 years ago for our whole building - it was gutted and remodeled. A huge undertaking. We hired a local architecture and design firm who were excellent. They work with your budget and ideas. They have many resources at their fingertips for furniture, design layout, colors and everything so you don't have to be searching all over, pulling your hair out. Good Luck!

I agree with the first response only adding that I agree they should not have furniture that is better looking than their superiors, but if you find a local furniture company they help you through every step. You can walk through their showrooms and make trips there easily if you go local. I would get a budget also and that way the furniture vendor may work with you on price as well. The rule goes with the managers as well, they do not need the same materials or style as the higher ups, so the budget in those rooms should be less, including chair styles. they get cloth and the higher ups get leather, or at least fake leather!! :) Good Luck

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