Monthly Archives: March 2016

Wood Flooring Species for Your Office Compared

Here at 20six we work alongside a variety of companies to bring you the very best solutions for your office furniture, office design and office fitouts. So it seemed only right that we gave space to other companies who are in the same line of business to appear as guest contributors.

Our first guest blog is by the London based company Wood and Beyond Ltd who are specialists in wooden flooring, worktops and decking. Whilst we have yet to work with Wood and Beyond we are loving their work and are pleased to have them appear as our first guest blog.

Wood Flooring Species for Your Office Compared

Deciding which species of timber to use on a floor is one of the most important decisions you can make when building or renovating an office with the intention of using real wood.  The timber’s colour, texture, grain and durability can all have a dramatic effect on the look of a room.

The most commonly used floor timbers are oak, walnut, pine, maple and bamboo.  They are popular for a variety of reasons, including their availability, reasonable price, durability and appearance.  But how do they stack up against one another?  Here are the pros and cons of these popular flooring timbers.

Oak

Oak is one of the most common hardwood flooring timbers because of its beautiful appearance and high level of durability.  The two types of oak most commonly used for flooring are red oak and white oak.

Red oak has a medium to heavy grain, high level of colour variation and light-brown to pink/red colour range.  The grain in red oak is often swirling and wave-like.  White oak is very pale and has straighter grain, similar to the stripes of a tiger.  It often has flecks of yellow throughout and the colour of the timber ranges from grey/white to yellow.

Pros:

  • Extremely durable and hard wearing
    A well made and maintained oak floor can last for centuries. Many ancient buildings in Europe contain original oak floors that have survived for many hundreds of years.  Red oak has a Janka Hardness rating of 1290 while white oak is 1360.
  • Resistant to warping
    Because it is a hardwood, it is unlikely to buckle, dent or warp. It is also fairly scratch resistant.
  • A beautiful and distinctive grain
    The grain in some oak floors is absolutely spectacular to look at. Oak can have very distinctive and unique grain patterns.
  • Capable of achieving multiple looks
    Red oak and white oak floors can be used with a number of design styles, from rustic through to modern. Owners can choose a timber grade, colour and grain level that matches almost any interior design style.

 

Cons:

  • Can fade when exposed to sunlight
    Dark oak floors are particularly susceptible to fading when exposed to sunlight.
  • White oak can stain easily
    If something is spilt on a white oak floor, it can stain very quickly — particularly dark fluids like red wine
  • Expensive
    A high grade oak floor is very expensive

 

Walnut

This is a chocolate brown to yellow-coloured hardwood with a relatively straight grain.  It is often used for ornamental purposes because it has become a fairly rare and expensive timber.

Pros:

  • The colours can be absolutely stunning!
    Walnut can have some incredible colours that appear very lustrous when finished with a glossy polyurethane or shellac finish
  • A unique and unusual look
    Furniture often uses walnut, but it is much rarer to see a walnut floor. Visitors will be impressed by such a beautiful and elaborate floor.

 

Cons:

  • Slightly softer than some hardwoods and more likely to scratch
    Walnut is a fairly durable material, but it doesn’t have the same toughness that oak or maple have. With a Janka Hardness rating of 1010 it is possible to dent floorboards with certain pieces of furniture or high heels.
  • Has a wide variation of colours on a single board
    Some floorboards can contain a significant variation of colour in a short distance. The start of a board could be the colour of chocolate and the other end could be yellow!  That may bother some people because it can distract the eye.
  • Walnut is very dark
    Walnut floors tends to be a very dark timber, so you are committing to a certain type of look. A dark floor may be unsuitable for some design styles.

 

Pine

Pine is a fairly soft timber that ranges in colour from white through to yellow/caramel.  It often has large brown knots in the timber, however, different species may have more or less frequent knots.  It is a very common and inexpensive option that can achieve a range of different looks.

Pros:

  • Cheap!
    Pine is one of the cheapest flooring timbers to purchase. It is plentiful and there are a range of varieties available with different qualities.
  • Wear-and-tear can make it look better
    The softness of pine means that it will dent fairly easily and it would be unusual for a pine floor to survive for more than a few years without some marks. However, a marked pine floor can actually look very beautiful for some design styles.
  • Fantastic for rustic looks
    If you are designing your office in a rustic style, wide pine planks with plenty of knots will look absolutely beautiful.
  • Stains well
    You can dramatically change the look of a pine floor by giving it a dark stain.

 

Cons:

  • Prone to scratches and dents
    Because pine is a softwood, it is prone to scratches and dents. If you are trying to maintain a very clean and minimalist design aesthetic, dents on your floor may detract from the look.
  • Brown knots
    Some people don’t like the brown knots that appear in pine

 

Maple

Maple is an extremely durable hard wood — the toughest of the flooring timbers reviewed here.  It has a creamy white colour with occasional patches of light orange or red.  It is perfect for high traffic areas like hallways, kitchens, dining rooms and lounge rooms.

Pros:

  • Extremely tough!
    You’ll be hard pressed to make a mark on this floor! Maintenance is also very easy with maple floors.
  • A beautiful and attractive timber
    Maple has a very clean appearance that is very attractive in hallways and large spaces. It works very well with modern offices that have a clean design aesthetic.  It’s natural golden colour is very beautiful.
  • Versatile
    It stains very well and is able to achieve a variety of looks. When stained, it can look like much more expensive timbers
  • Affordable
    Maple is fairly cheap for such a hard-wearing floor timber — particularly lower grades.

 

Cons:

  • Vulnerable to moisture
    Maple flooring does not do well in environments with large fluctuations of temperature or humidity.
  • Scratches easily
    Despite the toughness, it can scratch very easily, so be careful when moving sharp objects.
  • Stains can become splotchy
    Maple floors can be difficult to stain, and sometimes splotches will appear where the grain is heavier.

 

Bamboo

Bamboo flooring has become very popular in recent years because of the interesting look that it provides and its great value-for-money.

Pros:

  • Water resistant and stain resistant
    Bamboo is more resistant to water and stains than some hardwood timbers
  • Great for the environment
    Unlike some of the hardwood flooring options like oak, bamboo grows quickly and is a very sustainable and ecologically friendly option.
  • Price
    You can usually get a bamboo floor at a lower price than a hard wood floor
  • Very durable
    Some bamboo flooring products are as durable as red oak.
  • An interesting and modern look
    Some very unique looks can be achieved with bamboo and it suits spaces with a modern design.

 

Cons:

  • Scratches
    Bamboo floors are susceptible to scratches and may have to be refinished every few years
  • Vulnerable to humidity
    Floorboards can expand greatly in humid environments
  • Quality of product is not reliable
    Because there is no grading system for bamboo and the quality of products varies greatly — it can be difficult to ensure you are receiving a high quality product.

 

Thank you to all at Wood and Beyond for this useful guide to wooden office floors. If you would like to find out more about these guys please check out their website, or connect online on Facebook, Twitter or You Tube.

If you would like to be considered for one of 20six's guest blogs please get in touch

The 10 Biggest Office Furniture Blunders

The 10 Biggest Office Furniture Blunders:

Office furniture is an integral and essential element of your work space. You cannot function without somewhere to sit, a desk to place your computer, an area to welcome visitors and clients.

Furnishing your office is never going to be cheap so it pays to get it right from the outset.

The 10 Biggest Mistakes to Avoid When Buying Office Furniture

1 – Planning: "We need new office furniture!" Great, but you also need to draw up a good plan to ensure that you buy the right furniture for the space that you inhabit.

By drawing up a comprehensive plan you can more accurately assess the needs of your workers, analyse your existing furniture to see which pieces might work fine in your new plan, and to see exactly how your new space will look once fully furnished.

2 – Testing: If you work in an office you probably spend more time sat in your office chair than you do at the wheel of your car. Would you buy a brand new car without first taking it for a test drive? How do you know that you will feel comfortable in your new office chairs and that your desks fit well with your needs unless you have sat in/at them?

Look at a variety of desk designs, and try out the chairs. Check if the chairs that you like fit properly under the desks that you want. Testing doesn't take much time, especially in comparison to the money saved in buying the wrong items.

3 - Functionality: Looks great but a pain in the, er, proverbial? Can your office chairs be moved from one area to another easily? Can you adjust the height? Do they offer enough back support? Comfort and functionality is a must. Choosing "designer" brands for the sake of the name could backfire on you if the furniture isn't functional in your workspace.

And on the other end of the scale, you get what you pay for in life. If that bargain only lasts a few months it wasn't worth the time spent sourcing it, installing it, removing it and replacing it.

4 - Materials: How durable are the fabrics? Are they clean-able? If the furniture you are buying is going into high use areas like entrance halls, lobbies and break-out areas you need them to wear well rather than quickly becoming worn and tatty.

Buying the latest trends in materials may seem a sound investment - state of the art, modern office furniture. But if you have followed all of the other advice about buying quality products that will serve their purpose for a lengthy period, are those materials going to go out of fashion?

5 – Price: We've touched on this in functionality. Buy cheap, buy twice. If you are investing in new furniture for your office it is tempting to seek out the best bargain. We are not advocating that you should always pay full price, but it's worth trying to find out why it's such a bargain. Is there perhaps a design fault? Or is the product impossible to clean? Or does the design scream "that's so 2011 darling!"

Choosing price over quality may be appealing to your wallet, but quality matters. To avoid the need for repairs and replacements, it is worth investing in good quality furniture even if it costs a little more.

6 – Homogeny: Office furniture equipment makers must meet fundamental safety and quality standards – but they don’t have to (and in fact, deliberately choose not to) have similar manufacturing and design approaches. Long gone (thankfully) are the concrete cubicles of old; what works well in one office may not translate to another workspace.

If you are keen to attract the best new talent out there a well-designed, planned and furnished office will help set you apart from your competitors.

7 – Branding: If all of your company branding is in blue you wouldn't then go and furnish your office entirely in pink - but if your branding is pink then you may well go all out for a cerise theme.

It is essential that you are giving out a consistent branding message across everything that you say, you do and in all areas that you represent yourself both to the outside world and internally to staff.  Your office chairs, tables and cabinets should all compliment your style, design, and colour of your brand.

8 – Installation: If you've ever bought flat-packed furniture you'll know it is never, ever as simple as the instructions allure to. When sourcing new furniture you have to take into consideration the time and complexities of having it all installed. If you have ordered a lot of new equipment this could cause major disruption within the office and this has to be taken into consideration for both employees and clients. This aspect has to be part of your initial planning stages.

9 – Time: As above, the install is going to take time, but so is the initial planning, the testing, the sourcing, and the negotiating. The end result will be worth your time and effort, but you have to be realistic about the time it will take you overall before you get to sit at your perfect office desk.

10 – Memory: If you’re buying more than a few pieces of furniture, it’s always a good idea to keep an organized file of your plans, your standard pieces and preferred finishes and colours. This will enable you to reference back and be assured that every order you place matches your existing furniture.

Buying new office furniture can be challenging and time-consuming, but it should also ultimately be highly rewarding. You need to decide what pieces to buy, where to buy them from, and how much to budget. If you are thinking of buying office furniture for your new business or you want to carry out a complete make-over for your existing offices then please get in touch with us here at 20six: Brighton's leading office furniture specialists.

Create, Design and Define Your Office Space | Hive

You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time." ~ John Lydgate

The UK's cities are currently suffering from a lack of quality office space as demand is outstripping availability. UK wide job creation is driving the need for good quality space in amenity-rich and well-connected regional cities, leading to a squeeze on space and rent rises.

The pressure is now on to make our workspaces be all things for all people, to utilise the space that there is available, and the office furniture, to its fullest potential.

Today's office spaces need to be areas that enable employees to collaborate, concentrate, socialise and communicate, all within the same space and at the same time.

So how do you achieve this?

Introducing The Hive Seating System from Roger Webb Associates

To achieve a truly flexible office space you need office furniture that works with you. Hive is an innovative and award-winning modular system which answers that brief. Recognising the essential role that technology has within the work space, Hive has integrated technology, including power modules and WiFi, along with options for fixed or freestanding TVs and displays.

Available in multiple heights, different shapes and with a great selection of fabrics and finishes, Hive can reflect the brand and culture of any environment.

We love this innovative and award-winning modular system, but if you need further persuasion that this could be the solution to making your office space work as hard as possible, to be stylish as well as functional, check out Hive's own video.

If you would like further information about Hive or any other aspect of office fit

out, office furniture or office design, please get in touch with us at our Brighton offices.