Laboratory Furniture Guidance

Laboratories stand as the epicenter of research activities, serving as the catalyst for innovation and scientific breakthroughs. Occupying a pivotal role in the world of science and technology, laboratories demand meticulous attention to detail to ensure they are not only safe and durable but also inspiring workspaces that drive motivation and productivity among science and technology personnel.

The key to transforming a conventional room into a highly functional laboratory lies in the selection of appropriate furniture – encompassing benching, shelving, seating, storage, sinks, and fixtures. Among the emerging trends in lab design, the integration of modular lab furniture is gaining prominence, providing flexibility and adaptability to meet the diverse needs of modern laboratories.

As someone deeply immersed in the scientific realm, I believe that laboratory furniture should not only withstand exposure to solvents, chemicals, and materials but should also be tailored to an organization's specific research activities. Also, the incorporation of cheerful and aesthetically pleasing elements in lab furniture has the potential to elevate both productivity and staff happiness, contributing to a positive and collaborative research environment.

For clients embarking on lab renovation projects, the process can vary from being familiar to completely new and challenging. Even for those with prior experience in lab refurbishments, the uniqueness of each project requires careful consideration and decision-making. Having worked in various laboratories without direct involvement in refurbishment projects, I understand the potential challenges one might face.

To guide you through this process, here are some essential pointers and questions to consider – whether you are pondering these yourself, discussing them with your team, consulting with furniture suppliers, or engaging with contractors.

The Crucial Role of Lab Furniture

Laboratories demand furniture that goes beyond mere aesthetics, focusing on durability, safety, and functionality. The furniture must withstand exposure to solvents, chemicals, and materials, while also catering to the specific needs of individual research activities. Moreover, the ambiance of the laboratory can significantly impact productivity and the overall happiness of the scientific workforce.

1. Bench Framework: Choosing the Right Foundation

The choice between fixed, semi-mobile, fully mobile, or a flexible lab system is pivotal. The latter, a fully serviced, modern laboratory environment, offers adaptability and scalability. To make an informed decision, questions such as the project's main drivers, expected duration in the space, potential changes in research focus, fluctuations in staff numbers, and growth plans should be considered. For instance, a rapidly growing life sciences company might benefit from a fully mobile system, while a well-established analytical services company may opt for a fixed or semi-mobile system.

2. Worktops: Crafting Resilient Surfaces

Selecting the right material for worktops is critical. These surfaces must be impervious and resistant to laboratory solvents, reagents, and disinfectants. Stainless steel and cast epoxy resins are also commonly used. Different research purposes may require different surfaces, emphasizing the need for customization.

3. Dimensions: Tailoring Bench Dimensions

While standard dimensions for bench heights and depths are available, customization is crucial. Researchers may have specialized equipment or instruments in unusual sizes, necessitating the customization of bench dimensions. The standard specifications typically range between 900-950mm in height and 600-800mm in depth. For added flexibility, size-adjustable options for specific areas of the laboratory can be considered.

4. Services: Streamlining Laboratory Infrastructure

Innovative lab designs often involve smart solutions with drop-down services integrated into the ceiling. This includes options for electrical outlets, data points, or gas taps on the service mast, facilitating easy reconfiguration of the layout. Traditional alternatives include benchtop supply through perimeter trunking or underfloor supply.

5. Seating & Storage: Prioritizing Stability and Flexibility

Laboratory seating must be stable and easy to clean, often utilizing materials like vinyl or hard plastic. Storage options vary from mobile pedestal units on locking casters to fixed supporting units, glass-fronted tall storage units, or epoxy-coated to stainless steel racking. The key lies in selecting options that align with the unique needs of the laboratory.

6. Sinks, Safety Stations & Emergency Showers: Ensuring Safety Protocols

Choosing sinks and safety stations involves considerations such as the type of material – stainless steel, epoxy, or vitreous china. The selection is often based on the nature of research activities; for instance, epoxy sinks are suitable for chemistry labs, while stainless steel sinks are ideal for microbiology or medical labs. Additionally, hand wash stations tailored to specific needs, including emergency shower installations for labs dealing with toxic materials, contribute to comprehensive safety measures.

The Latest Trends in Lab Furniture Design

Laboratory design has evolved, moving away from dark and dingy spaces to bright and colorful environments. The latest trends reflect a shift towards modular, flexible furniture that adapts to the ever-changing research landscape. Bright and colorful worktops, storage units, and seating, often customizable to match brand and theme colors, are becoming increasingly popular.

Cost Implications for Mobile Furniture

While mobile furniture may seem expensive initially, the long-term savings and flexibility it offers make it a viable option. Reconfigurability allows for easy relocation and reuse, making it a cost-effective solution in the long run. Big companies with ample storage space can store mobile furniture when not in use, bringing it out when research needs change. Coordination between fit-out contractors and furniture suppliers/manufacturers is crucial to address service provision requirements seamlessly.

Turnkey Laboratory Solutions: The Comprehensive Approach

As laboratories evolve, the concept of turnkey laboratory gains prominence. A turnkey laboratory is a fully equipped, ready-to-use facility that includes not only lab furniture but also integrated systems, services, and utilities. This comprehensive approach streamlines the laboratory setup process, offering researchers a fully functional workspace without the complexities of individual component selection and integration.

Conclusion: Shaping the Future of Laboratory Spaces

In conclusion, lab furniture is not merely a functional necessity but a key influencer of laboratory efficiency, safety, and ambiance. Lab furniture manufacturers play a pivotal role in driving innovation and offering solutions that meet the diverse needs of modern laboratories. From modular lab furniture to turnkey laboratory solutions, the emphasis is on flexibility, safety, and adaptability.

The evolving trends in lab furniture design, coupled with the integration of smart technologies, point towards a future where laboratories are not only functional but also inspiring spaces for scientific exploration. As the research landscape continues to advance, the collaboration between researchers, facility planners, and lab furniture manufacturers becomes instrumental in shaping the laboratories of tomorrow.


  1. Q: How should one choose the right laboratory furniture for specific research needs and requirements?
    A: Explore considerations and guidelines for selecting laboratory furniture tailored to diverse research applications.
  2. Q: What factors should be considered when arranging laboratory furniture to enhance workflow and functionality?
    A: Learn about optimal layouts and configurations to improve efficiency and workflow in a laboratory setting.
  3. Q: Are there safety standards and guidelines for maintaining laboratory furniture, and how often should maintenance occur?
    A: Understand safety protocols, maintenance requirements, and recommended schedules for laboratory furniture upkeep.
  4. Q: Can laboratory furniture designs be customized to meet unique specifications and space constraints?
    A: Explore the possibilities of customizing laboratory furniture designs to address specific requirements and spatial limitations in research facilities.


Back to top