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"Hot Tips" for Selecting Residence Hall Furniture

College & Planning Management | March 2008

As the facility on campus where most students spend the majority of their time, residence halls play an important role in helping colleges and universities recruit and retain students. These multi-purpose buildings help set the impression that prospective students have about the university overall and are a major criteria in selecting a school.  

Furniture and furnishings affect nearly every aspect of the residence hall environment. From beds and desks in suites to chairs and tables in lobbies, furniture contributes to student comfort, satisfaction and academic performance. To ensure that furnishings meet the needs of students and provide a good value for administrators, consider these seven factors when making purchase decisions: 

  • User input-set up displays of various furniture options and give students, faculty and staff an opportunity to rank them
  • Durability-residence hall furniture should be built to withstand a tremendous amount of use without losing functionality or appearance
  • Flexibility-students want the ability to adjust and reconfigure furniture to match their individual preferences
  • Functionality-furniture must meet many practical requirements, such as desks with adequate work and computer space in suites and seats with tablet arms to accommodate laptops in lounge areas
  • Design-select furniture that reflects the personality of the residence hall and creates a unified image, from the furniture that makes a first impression in a lobby to the furniture in suites
  • Customization-furniture should be able to be modified and adjusted to meet the unique requirements of each residence hall
  • Warranty-decisions about length of warranty and maintenance agreements should be based on life cycle costing, which is based on dividing the unit price by the number of years on the warranty to determine the lowest cost of ownership on a yearly basis

The best residence halls embody a university's philosophy toward student life and education. The right furniture and furnishings bring that vision to life.

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