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The Complete Guide to Buying Office Furniture Online

Terra SandersTerra Sanders
February 15th, 2024
~ 7 minute read

If you're at the beginning of your business journey or have been newly promoted to a private office, then you're probably at the right place for the first time in your life to begin choosing furniture for an office or home office furniture.

Chances are, like the rest of us, you find it most convenient to search and order online, but there may be one problem. How can you ensure you get the right size, color, or even the most comfortable desk, storage, floor lamp, etc. for your office space?

That's where this guide comes in. Hopefully, by the end, all your questions will be answered about what it is you need and how to ensure you've found the best quality for the best price.

Start with the End Goal in Mind

When contemplating the right commercial office furniture for your office building, the easiest option would be to count the number of people and provide each with a new desk or cubicle, a filing cabinet, and a desk chair (minus their technical equipment).

But before taking this route, how about starting with the end in mind? Using a few simple questions, you can determine what you need to purchase from an online office furniture store.

What would you like each employee to achieve by the end of the day?

What are the items that they would need to complete their tasks?

What bumps throughout the day might impede them from being productive (think breaks, family emergencies, eye strain, coworker interruptions, etc.)?

What kind of workspace do you want to create? (Relaxed with the freedom to work from a home office? A team environment with workstations and an open layout?)

There are numerous factors to consider when answering these questions, but take the time to mentally trace what an employee will do throughout their day that will get them from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Breaks, conferences, chatting with other employees, phone calls, appointments, technical issues, meetings, long hours, etc.

Having a well-thought-out idea about what your company, department, or even an individual employee day will look like will allow you to not only purchase the correct office furniture but also to take careful consideration about the kind of environment you'd use to support prospective employees and clients.

Leaving these considerations as afterthoughts can easily lead to overspending as pieces get discarded that didn't need to be purchased while additional office furniture items are purchased because employees have needed a lounge, outdoor space, or larger conference room from the start.

What's Your Office Style?

While planning for productive outcomes is important, office design and style can play a huge factor in client impressions and employee comfort. Looks are also important to avoid buying a hodgepodge of furniture pieces that aren't cohesive. It's necessary to ensure the colors of the cabinets, chairs, or desks don't visually clash with the wall paint color, for example.

Many factors go into how you want your company to look, not the least of which are colors, decor, art, and aesthetics. Consider traditional, minimalist, luxury, and modern as a few starting points for office furniture, decor, and color types.

Doing a simple search on Pinterest for office design inspiration using the above styles as a jumping-off point will help you narrow down the look that you believe would best suit your company and office layout.

Choosing the Correct Size

Offices, open-layout workspaces, conference rooms, lounges, and outdoor patio spaces invariably have different shapes and sizes. Furnishing any one of these spaces can be a difficult task, but here are a few steps on how to do so, ensuring you purchase the size of office furniture that is perfect for the space.

  1. Measure your space: Take detailed measurements of your office area, including walls, doorways, windows, and any existing furniture. Mark out the planned layout of your new furniture on the floor with tape or paper to visualize the available space.

  2. Read product descriptions carefully: Pay close attention to the dimensions of the furniture, including height, width, depth, and leg clearance.

  3. Look for detailed size guides: Some online retailers offer size guides with specific recommendations based on user height and typical office tasks.

  4. Use a measuring tape to visualize the size: Hold a measuring tape at the specified dimensions to get a better sense of the furniture's actual size in your space.

  5. Consider ergonomics: Look for adjustable features for a personalized fit. If the furniture is adjustable, then you'd need to account for additional space to take advantage of these options.

  6. Think about future needs: If you anticipate your team growing, opt for furniture that can be easily adapted or expanded.

  7. Don't hesitate to contact the seller: If you're unsure about any measurements or have specific questions, reach out to the seller's customer service for clarification.

All About Materials

Let's break down the pros and cons of popular materials to help you make informed decisions for your company:

1. Wood:

  • Types: Oak, maple, walnut, cherry, MDF.

  • Benefits: Natural beauty, classic look, durable, warm feeling.

  • Drawbacks: Costly, susceptible to scratches and moisture, heavy, requires maintenance.

  • Best for: Desks, tables, shelves, and storage units where looks and durability are key.

2. Metal:

  • Types: Steel, aluminum.

  • Benefits: Very durable, scratch-resistant, lightweight (aluminum), sleek modern look.

  • Drawbacks: Cold to the touch, can be prone to rust, heavier (steel), and may look industrial.

  • Best for: Chairs, desks, tables where strength and lightness are important.

3. Fabric:

  • Types: Mesh, wool, cotton, polyester, vinyl, leather.

  • Benefits: Comfortable, variety of textures and colors, breathable (mesh), luxurious.

  • Drawbacks: Wears out faster, prone to stains and spills, requires cleaning, leather can be expensive.

  • Best for: Chairs, sofas, ottomans where comfort and aesthetics are crucial.

4. Plastics:

  • Types: ABS, polypropylene, nylon.

  • Benefits: Affordable, lightweight, easy to clean, variety of colors.

  • Drawbacks: Less durable, can scratch easily, may not look as high-quality, not eco-friendly.

  • Best for: Storage units, and chairs with limited use, where budget and functionality are priorities.

5. Eco-Friendly Materials:

  • Types: Bamboo, cork, recycled plastics, reclaimed wood.

  • Benefits: Sustainable, often unique aesthetic, good for the environment.

  • Drawbacks: May be less durable or have limited availability, price can vary.

  • Best for: Those who prioritize sustainability and appreciate the natural look.

    6. Laminates:

    • Thin layers of resin and decorative paper bonded to a core material like MDF or particleboard.

    • Benefits: Affordable, durable, variety,  lightweight

    • Drawbacks: Not as natural, can chip or peel, limited lifespan

    • Types: High-pressure laminate (HPL), thermally fused laminate (TFL), melamine laminate

    • Best for: Desks, tables, chairs, storage units where affordability, durability, and variety are important.

    • By understanding the strengths and limitations of each material, you can make informed decisions and find the perfect furniture for your online shopping adventure!

A Brief Overview of Pricing

Unfortunately, creating a one-size-fits-all pricing guide for office furniture isn't possible due to the vast number of variables. However, here are some insights to help you estimate costs based on your needs:

Factors affecting price:

  • Material: As mentioned, materials like solid wood and metal are generally more expensive than laminates or plastics.

  • Quality: Higher quality materials and construction practices naturally come with a higher price tag.

  • Brand: Established brands often charge more than lesser-known ones.

  • Features: Additional features like ergonomic adjustments, built-in storage, or power modules increase cost.

  • Size: Larger furniture pieces are generally more expensive.

  • Customization: Custom-made furniture will significantly raise the price compared to standard sizes.

Estimated price ranges:

Desks: $100-$3,000+ Chairs: $50-$1,000+ Filing cabinets: $100-$500+ Bookcases: $150-$1,000+ Conference tables: $500-$5,000+

Here are some additional tips to estimate costs:

  • Set a budget: Determine how much you're willing to spend before browsing.

  • Compare prices from different retailers: Online furniture stores often offer competitive prices.

  • Consider used or liquidated furniture: You can find quality used furniture at significantly lower prices.

  • Look for sales and discounts: Many retailers offer seasonal sales or clearance events.

  • Factor in additional costs: Don't forget about shipping, assembly, and taxes.

These are just estimates, and the actual price can vary greatly depending on your chosen product.

Most Common Office Furniture Pieces and Their Functions

Desk: Provides a work surface for writing, computing, and other tasks.

Office Chair: Offers comfortable seating for long periods of work.

File Cabinet: Stores documents and files for organization and safekeeping.

Bookshelf: Houses books, manuals, and other reference materials.

Meeting Table: Facilitates collaboration and group discussions.

Storage Cabinet: Provides additional storage space for supplies and equipment.

Reception Desk: Welcomes visitors and directs them to the appropriate personnel.

Footrest: Improves posture and circulation by elevating legs.

Monitor Stand: This raises the monitor to an optimal viewing height, which can help reduce neck and eye strain.

Conference Table: The centerpiece of any conference room, providing a surface for meetings and presentations.

Conference Chairs: Comfortable and supportive seating for participants.

Whiteboard or Projector Screen: Facilitates visual communication and presentations.

Storage Cabinet: Keeps meeting supplies and materials organized, like markers, notepads, and adapters.

Sofas and Armchairs: Provide comfortable seating for relaxation, collaboration, or casual meetings.

Side Tables: Add extra surface space and visual interest. They can hold lamps, plants, or books.

Patio Tables and Chairs: Weather-resistant furniture designed for outdoor use.

Planters: Add greenery and a touch of nature to your patio.

Waiting Chairs: Comfortable seating for visitors while they wait.

TV or Digital Signage: Entertains and informs visitors while they wait. Displays company information, news, or calming visuals.

These are just the most common pieces. You can customize each space with additional furniture, accessories, and plants to create a functional environment that reflects your company's brand.


Navigating the wide world of office furniture on the world web can seem overwhelming, but using this guide to answer the questions and to plan beforehand can help you to be laser-focused about what your company needs, how it should look, and what you can expect within your budget.

Check out our office furniture page to see individual pieces we offer, manufacturers, trends, and even FAQs!

furniture, office, office furniture

Terra Sanders
About The Author

Terra Sanders, the newest addition to the Madison Liquidators team, uses her background in digital marketing, content strategy and SEO to craft thoughtful and engaging articles. She writes in a way that appeals to customers through interesting information that can help them on their office furniture buying journey.

Terra Sanders

Terra Sanders, the newest addition to the Madison Liquidators team, uses her background in digital marketing, content strategy and SEO to craft thoughtful and engaging articles. She writes in a way that appeals to customers through interesting information that can help them on their office furniture buying journey.