Creating an outstanding learning space where educators enjoy working and kids experience great learning outcomes has never been more important. Learning is changing and educators are exploring new ways of bringing 21st century experiences into their classrooms. One way they’re doing that is planning for furniture in new spaces or enhancing existing spaces with new furniture that better meets the needs of engaging and collaborative learning approaches.
Isn’t buying furniture for those spaces just the same as buying furniture for our homes? Not exactly. We’ve learned from years of experience how to help create better learning environments and we’ve seen first hand some of the most important things you should consider when creating your better learning environment. Whether you’re working with our team of learning experts to plan changes to your space or other vendors who make and sell furniture, here are some important things you should know to help you have the best possible experience and outcome.
1. Competitive Price
Of course price is an important consideration, as no learning environment has an unlimited budget. Yes, there are some inexpensive options out there, but when you compare quality, flexibility, customer service and overall value for money, price alone shouldn’t be the only driver for your decision. How often have you purchased something that was cheap, only to wish you had paid just a little bit more for what you wanted and what would have served your needs in the short and long-term?
Most people exploring online and talking with Account Managers want to know pricing. We all do. It’s an important first step in the process of trying to establish what might be possible for our budgets. What is just as important is working with a vendor that has a shared vision to help you make informed choices you’ll feel good about for years to come. Working with a vendor that has dedicated design experts who will help you with your needs while also staying aligned with your budget. That is a process which will help you get great value no matter the budget and will ensure you get the best, most competitive pricing as part of your design process.
2. Safe and Low Maintenance
The most important consideration for any educator when purchasing furniture is feeling 100% comfortable. That comfort includes ensuring the furniture in your space is easy to care for and well made so it isn’t introducing toxins or other harmful pollutants into your environment. Your students will be better off for it and teachers will have healthier work environments. Work with a vendor that sells 100% chemical free and sustainably made furniture that is built to last. You’ll especially want to look out for furniture that lasts longer than 10 years before needing any kind of maintenance. Furniture that is cheap to buy often last only a few years and worse, might be toxic, require expensive maintenance or even replacement, further taxing your future furniture buying budgets.
3. Easy Assembly and Innovative Designs
Make choosing furniture designs fun! Work with a vendor who are experts at making great furniture. Simple right? When looking for a vendor who has great designs, ask yourself where that design comes from? The best designs are driven from insights in the classroom. Teachers and kids are the real experts. Work with a vendor who uses feedback from their educator community and is constantly working to improve assembly processes, smart designs and good shipping systems. Working with an innovative design vendor vs. just a catalog company means you can pick exactly the items you want, design them to fit your space, and even change or add features later.
4. Superb Customer Service
Work with a vendor who provides excellent customer service. Period. Whether you’re trying to get a new space done fast, or you’re planning for the long-term, working with a company that understands your needs and helps you time and time again to get it just right is going to make all the difference to the outcome you’re looking to achieve. When you’re choosing to work with a vendor for the first time, use the design process as a way of finding out what their customer service is like. Are they responsive? Are they creative? Do they bring new ideas and insights to the discussion that help improve the process and manage costs? You want to make sure you’re having collaborative conversations with a team of experts who can help you make your new furniture easy, fast and on budget. You want a partner you can work with on your concept through the collaboration process, during the setup and long after the products are delivered and installed.
5. Solid Warranty
Make sure you work with a company that cares about their products and designs and builds them for the long-term. It will make all the difference for your budget now and in the future. Not all warranties are built the same, many manufacturers offer limited lifetime warranties, that are just that, limited. Warranties are only as good as the companies behind them. Work with a vendor that offers a solid warranty who will stand behind their products and are known for great quality. The best part about buying quality is, there is a good chance you won’t even need to use it. If anything goes wrong with the structure of your furniture you want to work with a company that will take care of you without hassles.
So there you go, that isn’t so hard. You want great learning environment furniture that is competitively priced, you want that furniture to be safe, sustainably made, healthy and low-maintenance. You want it to be easy to assemble and well designed, you want great customer service from the beginning of the process to the end, every time and you want it all backed by a great warranty you’re not likely to ever need. Work with a vendor who does all that you’ll be proud of what you created and you’ll be pleased you got the best possible results for your budget.
If you’re interested in working with a company that can offer you great learning environment furniture, while also looking out for all your budget, design, shipping, assembly and warranty needs, then contact one of our Account Managers who can help you with all the support you need. Request a copy of our catalog to help inspire your thinking and no matter who you end up working with, use these tips to help you get the best results.