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What is Contract Grade Restaurant Furniture? Everything You Need to Know

backless bar stools

Not everyone is familiar with the term “contract furniture”. In fact, many are not sure what it means. When purchasing furniture for any venue, one should keep in mind that there is a difference between commercial grade furniture and residential furniture. Basically, contract furniture is used for commercial purposes. It is often used in industries such as restaurants, hospitality, educational institutions and other venues. This includes all types of furniture from chairs, tables, bar stools, booths and lounge seating. It must be made of high quality materials and can be found in any commercial setting where there is intense interaction with many people, as opposed to residential/home furniture which is only used by a small number of people.


While designing commercial spaces people have to take into consideration a variety of regulations that impact how the end result looks. The same goes for making and selecting furniture for use in those commercial environments and is normally tested and manufactured to specific quality standards which ensure personal safety, long lasting durability and sustainability. Those standards vary based on the materials used and the environment. Hospital furniture, for example, will be tested differently to that used in hotels or restaurants.

Residential furniture differs from commercial grade furniture due to frequency of use and meeting compliance requirements; fire resistance, strength and even weight capacity are some of the differences between the two. Those differences translate into a more expensive piece of furniture but one which will last and maintain its look for longer as it is made with tougher and more durable materials.

Designed to be easily maintained and have long lasting resilience, for industries such as the food-service and hospitality, durable furniture is essential. Intended to be used anywhere there is a large number of people who use it regularly or where there may be a large difference in weight among people it is made of commercial grade materials while adhering to stringent quality requirements and regulations.

commercial grade chairs, tables and bar stools


As mentioned above, the difference between the quality of furniture used in commercial settings and tables, chairs, and patio furniture for residential use is noticeable. The restaurant and hospitality industry are required to undergo durability, stability and weight testing in order to meet the commercial grade furniture standards in accordance to the law. The purpose of these regulations is to ensure the continuous use of the furniture by everyone.

  • Metal chairs and bar stools for residential use have steel frames constructed of 20 to 22 gauge steel while commercial ones feature 18 gauge steel frames (the smaller the gauge the tougher the frame is).
  • Residential wood bar stools and chairs can be made from either hard or softwood. Contract wood chairs and bar stools are built of hardwood and include additional reinforcement bars.
  • Both wood and metal contract items have strong seats that are either made of durable wood or are padded with thick flame retardant foam upholstered in stain resistant vinyl and fabrics which are easy to maintain.
  • Our commercial grade wood frames come with a 7 stages finish process giving the wood a thicker, more resistant finish. Metal frames are powder coated and undergo special processes to ensure the finish is more scratch resistant.
  • Warranty: Wood residential furniture usually comes with a 30-90 days warranty while restaurant furniture comes with 1 to 3 years manufacturer warranty. In some cases the products even carry a lifetime warranty.
  • Weight capacity: residential up to 250 lbs. while many commercial chairs and bar stools are 400 lbs.
contract furniture residential furniture

As a business owner, experts highly recommend that you invest in contract furniture over residential regardless of the industry you work in. Residential furniture is less sturdy and will not last for the long run in a commercial environment. Although residential grade may be a cheaper alternative, high quality contract furniture with additional support can save you a lot of money and hassle in the long run.


A contract furniture dealer plays an important role in providing informed and tailored solutions for the customer’s furnishing needs based on experience and knowledge of the product. Furnishing requirements, specifications, budget and goals vary by industry which the dealer should understand very well. When you purchase commercial furniture online you have access to a much bigger selection than if you went into a brick and mortar store or a showroom. Typically you will be able to choose the options you want such as frame finish and upholstery options instead of having to buy what is already on the floor. Also, since online retailers can save money on things such as renting a large store, they can pass the savings on to the customer, resulting in lower prices. Online sites also allow you to see matching items: chairs, bar stools and restaurant tables to complete your décor. As well as provide you with a huge gallery of installations where our furnishings are already in use.