In the realm of interior design, selecting the right fabrics and furniture pieces can be a challenging task, especially when it comes to FF&E (Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment) procurement. Keri Moore-Muñiz, Founder & CEO of 828id shares her insights on the ways an interior designer can make FF&E procurement easier.

Interior design experts can help you choose fabrics and pieces

When refreshing a community, it becomes crucial for an interior designer to simplify the procurement process for FF&E. In such cases, there may not be any existing reference points for comparison, making it essential to gather feedback from the team, family members, and residents regarding the suitability of fabrics and furniture pieces. Often, we encounter sofas or lounge chairs that are excessively low, which leads to complaints. We acknowledge that previous designers or operators might have overlooked factors like height, comfort, or upholstery maintenance, resulting in wear and tear. In environments with higher usage than a typical residential home, it becomes imperative to collaborate with an interior designer who comprehends the specific end-user requirements. This is where 828 can step in to offer valuable ideas and assistance.

With our trusted partners, knowledgeable team, and a myriad of resources, we possess the expertise to carefully select, specify, and fabricate performance-driven upholsteries, draperies, and ergonomic furnishings for seniors. It is crucial to both understand the specific requirements and choose items that will stand the test of time (replacing them within a year can be highly costly). By offering our guidance and expertise in these matters, we aim to create a mutually beneficial outcome. Whether it involves providing chairs with arms or recommending vinyl upholstery to combat staining issues, we prioritize both the aesthetic appeal and functionality of your dining chairs. It is important to keep the experts on hand to help make those decisions moving forward.

Interior designers collaborate with team members to decide what is truly needed in a space

Lately, we have been actively engaging with clients to increase their involvement in the process. When we assess existing environments that require programmatic changes, such as the dining room, lounge, or living space, we often find that the furniture they have been using for the past two decades no longer meets their needs. We really try to walk and talk with the teams.

While we can create floor plans that we believe are the best fit, we understand the importance of early communication and collaboration with the team. For example, placing a beautiful family table in the center of the dining room may seem appealing to us and beneficial for marketing purposes. However, if the team is understaffed or has specific ways of delivering food, this solution may not be ideal for them. We make it a priority to have meaningful discussions with team members who are actively involved in day-to-day operations, managing the spaces, organizing dining experiences, bringing residents together, and engaging with the spaces. Our approach revolves around understanding the unique circumstances of each community and working closely with the team to ensure the best solutions are implemented.

Understanding the primary function of a space is crucial, but equally important is understanding its various uses throughout the day. It’s essential to consider special events that require moving furniture to accommodate different setups. Sometimes, the solution can be as simple as incorporating flip-top mechanisms into activity dining tables. This way, when they need to be moved four times a year, they can be easily stacked or nested, eliminating the hassle of dealing with heavy, fully assembled dining tables and finding a place to store them in the hallway. We prioritize thoughtful planning and attentive listening to bring effective solutions. As designers, we aim to avoid imposing our preferences and ideas without considering the operational functions. The satisfaction of team members directly impacts the residents and their families. Any dissatisfaction or frustration among the team can ultimately affect the residents’ experience. Our goal is to create environments that work well for everyone involved. Ultimately, the success and occupancy of the space are greatly influenced by these considerations.

Interior designers have trusted vendors with great-quality FF&E products

At 828id, all of the vendors we use have been in business for many years, they are trained market vendors, usually for senior living only. We source vendors who are only in the states, and we stray away from vendors who do knockoffs or rely heavily on imports without providing warranties or ensuring suitability for commercial use. Collaborating with a designer who understands the intended purpose of the space is crucial. While it may be acceptable to incorporate a nice side table that may be more residential in look and feel in areas with low usage, it would not be appropriate to use residential dining chairs in a main dining room. Commercial-grade dining chairs with proper warranties are essential to ensure their performance and longevity in a high-use environment.

It is of utmost importance to collaborate with a designer who understands warranties and associated liabilities. When chairs break or cushions fail, we have vendors who stand behind their products. Team members and residents depend on us to provide high-quality items that withstand the test of time and do not fail within the first few months of use by numerous individuals. For this reason, we prioritize partnering with trusted vendors with whom we have established long-term relationships. When we consider bringing in new vendors, we make sure to ask the right questions that raise any potential red flags from a procurement perspective. This allows us to ensure that we have proper coverage from a liability standpoint, protecting not only ourselves but also our owners and operators.

Hiring a design expert to assist with FF&E procurement can greatly simplify the process and lead to more successful outcomes. From gathering feedback and collaborating with team members to partnering with trusted vendors, it is extremely important to have the designer to ensure a seamless and successful procurement journey. Have a project in mind contact 828id today for an evaluation.

“Knowing the direct impact I’ve experienced with seniors, just through the basics of design, fuels my passion for improving the lives of people who mean the most to us.”
— Keri Moore-Muñiz, President