When it comes to outfitting an office, it depends on whether you have a corporate office or a home office. Ordering 30 desks, computers and commercial grade copiers is different than buying one desktop and a simple desk. This means where you buy office equipment will vary tremendously depending on the office.
This article breaks up your options for home/small offices and corporate office spaces.
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Above is an example of a corporate office. Below is an example of a very basic home office:
As you can see, the needs are very different. This article addresses the needs for both types of offices.
Outfitting an office is great fun. No, I’m not kidding. I’ve done it three times now.
The first time was in a commercial space with staff. I contributed to getting the office equipment and furniture.
The second time was setting up a fully functional home office. Again, it required some office equipment, furniture, stationery and supplies.
The third time was setting up another commercial office space that required everything.
Every time, I enjoyed the process because I like offices. I like working. I like my work. And so I get excited outfitting offices.
Having set up multiple offices in very different environments, I know a thing or two about where to buy office equipment, furniture and supplies… plus I lived for several years in Grand Rapids, MI which is a large office furniture manufacturing region.
Here it goes.
What is office equipment?
I have a love/hate relationship with office equipment. I’ve bought my fair share that is either exceedingly difficult to operate or its junk.
What is office equipment?
The thing is “office equipment” can mean different things… there are different types of office equipment. For some, it’s the tech hardware needed for offices such as computers, copiers, scanners, printers, etc. For others, it’s broader and includes furniture, storage systems, desk systems, etc. And then some folks expend the meaning beyond that to include office supplies such as pens, paper, stationery, etc.
And that’s why in this article, we break it down to office equipment, office furniture and office supplies. In some cases, stores sell all of that. In other cases, stores may sell only equipment or only furniture.
Regardless what you need for your office, whether a home office or large corporate office, we set out below where you can buy all the office equipment, furniture and supplies you’ll need.
Where to buy office equipment (the tech hardware)
If buying it for your home office or a small commercial office the following will do just fine:
- Best Buy: Best Buy is my go-to place for office tech stuff
- HP: You can go to the HP site directly or look for their wares on Amazon and at Best Buy. HP sells pretty much everything you might need for an office including PCs, printers, copiers, scanners, etc.
- Apple: I use an Apple desktop and love it. You can buy directly from Apple of from any of the many Apple resellers such as Best Buy or others.
- Microsoft: Microsoft offers some hardware solutions for offices as well.
- Amazon: Amazon is a good option for pretty much anything computer or small copier/printer-related.
- Xerox: We’d be remiss to not include Xerox for any copier/printer/scanner needs.
- Local: Chances are you have local office tech equipment retailers where you can buy to get outfitted.
Corporate Office? Consider Hiring a Consultant
If you’re outfitting a corporate space, you can definitely reach out directly to corporate sales at Best Buy, HP, Apple or Microsoft but you might be better off contacting a computer consultant.
When I had to outfit a smallish office with 6 computers connected to a multi-purpose copier (printer, copier and scanner) I hired a computer consultant. He sourced the computers, networked them together and with the copier machine. It was a very good decision because it’s a fairly complex task.
If you’re outfitting a large office with dozens of computers and you need some high-level copier/scanner/printer machine, you need to contact commercial providers. With respect to the computer purchase, I’ve hired a consultant in the past who has connections for buying multiple computers at a good price. The consultant then networks them together. It’s a big job and believe me when I say you don’t want to try and figure out how to network dozens of computers together.
Seriously, if you’re outfitting even two or more computers and you need them networked, unless you know what you’re doing, hire a consultant to do it for you. When I did this for an office, it was only 5 computers but it was complex.
As for a commercial-grade copier machine, contact a local Xerox or similar outfit. They have sales staff and reps who will source them for your needs and then set it up for you. They’ll train your office staff as well because these things are like operating complex machinery.
Where to buy office furniture
Here’s a list of our favorite dedicated office furniture stores online that pretty much only sell office furniture.
More options – general furniture stores
Below are online stores that sell pretty much every type of furniture imaginable including having quite a bit of office furniture options.
If furnishing a home or small commercial office, Wayfair is a great place for furniture. It might take a while for the stuff to arrive but when it comes to furniture selection, few places beat Wayfair. They have an insane selection and every price range possible. I’ve bought several items from Wayfair and am happy with it.
Amazon is great because so much of their stuff can be delivered fast. I filter for Prime so that I end up with options that will likely be delivered fast. Amazon sells a ton of different office furniture (as well as equipment and of course supplies) so it’s a good place to go for smaller offices.
I know, I know you’re tired of reading IKEA when it comes to furniture but let’s face it, you don’t have to spend a ton of money for nice-looking furniture. I know the quality isn’t great but if you’re on a shoestring budget and don’t mind cranking the Allen key twenty million times, you can outfit a home office or small commercial office on the cheap and it won’t look like some dungy PI office you so often see on TV.
I outfitted my office with Structube desks. I bought two identical ones and put them together to form a large L-shaped desk. It’s great. Easy to assemble. Reasonably priced. I also bought a large bookcase from them. Structube is similar in style to IKEA. It costs a bit more and I think the quality is better. It’s definitely easier to assemble because it has far fewer moving parts. Still though, it’s not the best quality office furniture in the world but I’m happy with it for what I paid.
Many furniture stores online are a viable place to buy office furniture since most major furniture retailers (online and brick and mortar) sell pretty much everything you need to outfit an office.
Used office furniture retailers
If on a budget, check out used office furniture retailers online or near you. Offices are upgrading or going out of business all the time and so they’re pretty much willing to give the stuff away. You can score some good furniture for cheap.
Commercial office furniture designers, manufacturers and retailers
If you’re setting up a larger corporate office, you need to find an office furniture supplier that can handle everything including customization, built-ins, modular or whatever your needs are. Perhaps you’re looking for higher-end office chairs as well. Here are some options:
Steelcase is a massive global player in the corporate office designers and furniture manufacturers. It’s headquartered in Grand Rapids. I’m familiar with this because I lived in Grand Rapids for a number of years and Steelcase is one of the biggest employers in that neck of the woods. Steelcase is where you turn to if you need to set up a large office and need it totally outfitted with desks, cabinets, cubicles… basically they’ll create whatever commercial office layout and furniture you require. There is probably no limit to what Steelcase can do for you and your office.
I bought the HermanMiller Aeron chair for my office. It was a big splurge but I figured it’s worthwhile investing in something that’s fairly ergonomic that will help prevent back issues (I sit at a computer quite a bit).
National Business Furniture
I love the National Business Furniture. It’s a great solution for small to mid-size offices or a large outfit that doesn’t need customization. You can buy cubicles, desks, tables, filing cabinets… every type of office furniture imaginable. They have dedicated sections on their site for different office rooms such as conference rooms, private offices, open concept office layouts, breakrooms, receptionist areas and more.
CDI Spaces provides furniture solutions for corporate offices.
Cymax used to sell all kinds of furniture but then decided to focus on office furniture.
Where to buy office supplies
For stationery needs, check out our guide to buying stationery online here. But office supplies is much more than just stationery. It includes hard good such as staplers, 3-hole punches, tape, pens, paperclips, staples, sticky notes, staple removers, pen caddies and all the little things everyone in an office eventually needs. Fortunately, you can buy this stuff from many online stores.
There’s not a whole lot to say about online office supply stores. Find one that works for you, create an account and keep your office stocked. Here’s a good list.
That’s it. That’s our list of faves when it comes outfitting offices, whether a small home office requiring the bare essentials or a 1,000+ person corporate office.