Bringing Home to the Office (or What on Earth Does Resimercial Mean?)

(Part 1 – Furniture)

If you are planning a return to work and considering how to adapt your workspace to a new way of working, you may have come across the word ‘resimercial’ quite a bit as you researched your options. So, what is it, and is it right for you?

To start, ‘resimercial’ is a word made by combining ‘residential’ with ‘commercial’. You aren’t likely to find a definition in any dictionary because it’s a word made up by those in the design and furniture industry to describe a new-ish trend in spaces. It refers to the design of interior spaces and furniture – primarily for office environments – in which the comfort and casual feeling of a home is carried into the workplace.

‘Resimercial’ has been a growing trend in the commercial furniture and design industry for several years but has really taken off as the pandemic has further blurred the separation of work and home.  As employers look for ways to encourage their staff to come back to the office, developing a welcoming and homey environment can be part of the plan to support a new way of working and create a place that is inviting to focus or collaborate.

When used to describe furniture, ‘resimercial’ means products that look and feel like something you might find in your living room but with the strength and durability of commercial grade products. It isn’t, however, residential furniture. Quality commercial furniture manufacturers in Canada are expected to meet some pretty strict standards when it comes to construction and materials; standards that go well beyond the requirements for residential furniture. There are a number of certifications and requirements that legitimate commercial furniture manufacturers follow in order to ensure the safety and durability of products in a work environment.  These standards are set to ensure that furniture in a working environment can withstand years of regular use (and some abuse, if we’re being honest…) in an office or work space.

Some ‘resimercial’ furniture uses the look of currently trending residential furniture and applies commercial construction standards to create similar looking items for a workplace. They might use soft fabrics, or foam with a little more give to increase comfort, but with enough firmness to last a long time in a busy setting. Furniture designers may also take the comfort of something like an arm chair and make it better for a work environment by surrounding it with an attached privacy screen and adding a power outlet in an arm or on the base. They might also take a commercial product like a workstation and soften it by turning it into more of a study nook with an upholstered screen for privacy – a place you can touch down to do some quiet work when on a short visit to the office if you’re primarily working from home.

So, resimercial furniture is a being used to design and create welcoming environments in our changing workscape but, how do you use this furniture the right way to ensure you are creating the look and feel you are searching for?  Watch for our second article about resimercial workplaces to see how you can plan a resimercial space that will work for you.



Coming soon:  Part 2 – Space Planning the Resimercial Workplace:

Published on: September 28, 2021

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