to choose furniture for use with media
The most important specifications
equipment youll be putting on the furniture. Its
critical to buy furniture designed to hold the equipment you
intend to use it with. A 27" monitor, for example, cannot
be safely placed on a cart or wall mount designed to hold
only a 20." On the other hand, the manufacturers
usage recommendation is the main spec you need to worry about.
If you hold to this recommendation, and you stay with a reputable
brand, its pretty safe to assume that the cart or mount
will be of the right size, strength, and durability for the
task at hand.
such as monitor safety straps, non-tipping designs and UL
approval are very important. Monitors, in particular, can
be very dangerous when raised overhead, so its obvious
that care must be exercised.
finish are a matter more of aesthetics and durability than
of safety, assuming you follow the manufacturers usage
recommendations. In general, wood veneers are among the best
looking and most impressive, but least durable finishes available.
Laminates will hold up to scratches and bumps better, but
tend to be heavier and can be prone to damage if subject to
flooding. Metal furniture is even more durable than laminates,
and though it doesnt fit with every decor, is usually
a better choice for carts and cabinets that are moved frequently.
Plastic furniture is not designed for the heaviest equipment,
but is very durable, very low cost and offers the advantages
of light weight plus easy assembly and disassembly.
- Electrical outlet
strips, cord channels, shelving, keyboard drawers and other
furniture features need little explanation, but they are important
to keep in mind as you plan your furniture buy.
work surfaces can be important not only as a convenience but
in preventing repetitive use injuries (such as carpel tunnel
syndrome) and in meeting American Disabilities Act requirements.
Casters are of
different sizes and types to match the load-levels required
for the equipment a cart or table is designed to hold. If
youll frequently move a cart long distances, its
worth considering one with pneumatic tires.
Whether you buy
your metal furniture welded in one piece or "ready-to-assemble"
is, today, a question of balancing the extra cost of shipping
against the inconvenience and extra cost of assembly. Theres
very little difference in the safety or durability of the
two types, since the critical joints in the ready-to-assemble
furniture are welded in the same manner as the fully-built.
Beyond the specifications
Though the safety or durability of major furniture brands is rarely
a problem, if you start to look at low-cost or off-brand furniture,
its important to look closely for clues to its quality.
One key indication is how well its pieces fit. Do all the doors
open easily but close tightly? Are joints or welds clean and solid?
Another is the quality of the finish. Is it even and smooth? Is
the color consistent from piece to piece? Finally, does the item
have a solid feel? Are the legs strong? Does the unit bend if
you put equipment on it or lean on it? If youre unhappy
with what you find before you buy the unit, you can expect to
be a lot more unhappy later.
Service is also an
issue with furniture, as it can be very expensive ship back if
you have a problem. Whats the manufacturers warranty?
Will any needed service be handled locally or in some other state
or country at the factory? What about the reputation of the dealer?
Will he or she support you if you have a complaint?