When your office furniture starts showing signs of age, should you replace it, or is refurbishing a better investment? In most cases, refurbishing can extend the life of your furniture at a substantial savings over buying new, says Tracee Lauder, vice president of marketing with Cube Office Designs & Refurbishing LC in Bountiful, Utah.

Dingy furniture and outdated colors send an undesirable message to your customers and can discourage employee productivity. "Refurbishing can give your office a whole new look," Lauder says. "[You] can change the fabric, update the colors and replace old laminate." Refurbished furniture can last up to 10 years, but Lauder recommends updating your reception area (and other places your customers see) every six years. The typical savings of refurbishing over replacing is about 40 percent, she says, plus the environmental benefit of recycling.

She also offers these furnishing tips:

  • If it's necessary to replace or add furniture, consider buying used. There's an abundance of used furniture on the market that can be tailored to your specifications.
  • If you need a modular system, choose steel over wood. Steel is stronger, more durable and made to be mobile, a key aspect of modular systems. Lauder says steel can look great for 35 to 40 years with regular refurbishing.