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Author: Dwayne Markham

4 Qualities of Every Great Space Planner

4 Qualities of Every Great Space Planner

So you want to update your office space and make room for some great changes?

Very good! It’s time to start planning but you’ll have to consider a few things. The last thing you want is to be completely overwhelmed by this process. That’s why you’ll need the service of a space planner. Not just any planner, a professional planner, a really great one!

With a space planner by your side, everything from choosing, purchasing, arranging office equipment and furniture, and every bit of the design process will get a whole lot easier.
So, how exactly can you differentiate great space planners from average ones? Well, the answer lies in the qualities. If your space planner lacks any of the four qualities below, you know it’s time to change who you’re working with.

1. Great planners tailor their service to meet individual clients’ needs

If you’re getting services that fail to meet your personal requirements, then something is definitely amiss. A great space planner will set out to understand your core needs so they can design the process to meet each of these needs.

They’ll carefully consider your budget, staff size, time limit, and other specific goals and needs. They’ll also provide one-on-one assistance whether this includes physical meetings in your office for consultations or probably to assist with equipment installations.

2. Professional planners are able to provide budget-friendly options

Redesigning your office or getting new furniture is no piece of cake. For any organization, this is an investment that will definitely cost a significant amount of money. While considering your budget options and core needs, great space planners are easily able to provide design options that can easily complement your budget.

3. Exceptional customer service

Now, this is a demanding task and will involve a great deal of time, effort, and creativity.
A lot of decisions will have to be made. These will include areas such as furniture styles to the choice of materials, as well as the estimated delivery date. Everything from project management to installation demands proper attention and that’s why you’ll need a professional, to begin with.
However, your planner must be someone with a robust knowledge of what the process entails. This professional must also be someone who can offer valuable advice in friendly manners. Their customer management skills must also be top notch if you’ll be getting the best experience during and after this makeover of your office.

4. Great planners provide unlimited choices for clients

When designing your office space or shopping for office equipment, you want to be able to select the best from as many as possible options. This way, you’ll be able to find the very best of everything that suits your office and your ideal workplace design.

Great planners understand the importance of this and so will make various options available to you. Different brands of different equipment in different price ranges will be made available so you can carefully make your choice based on quality, value, and suitability.

If you want to get the best from your office designs, this quality is non-negotiable and must be present in the space planner of your choice.

Encouraging Exercise in the Workplace

Encouraging Exercise in the Workplace

The past decade has seen mindfulness become very much popular in America.

According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention between 2002 and 2012, activities like yoga and meditation have become quite popular among the working class in America.

Nowadays, it’s not unusual to see physical exercises and activities incorporated into the corporate sector. Teams that place importance on physical activities would no doubt reap the benefits. These activities would make employees more confident and focused, ultimately boosting their productivity.

It doesn’t matter if your team is yet to tap into this potential. However, understanding that a little push would go a long way to encourage this healthy and beneficial practice can make things easier.

Using Height-Adjustable Desks for Standing

You probably don’t consider standing up as an exercise but it’s no doubt better than sitting down all day. With height-adjustable chairs, you’d be encouraging your workers to get out of their chair and stand up from time to time.

In a publication by the US National Library of Medicine, it was revealed that pains to the neck and the upper back were reduced by about 54% after seven weeks of using a height-adjustable desk with sit-stand capability, instead of a sit-only desk.

Respondents in the survey also reported mood improvements and some also reported that their pain returned moments after going back to a sit-only desk. This came as a clear indicator that the sit-stand capability of the height-adjustable desk was definitely an important factor in alleviating their pain.

Desk & Chair-Based Exercises

When it comes to chairs and desks in a corporate setting, ergonomics is usually the first thing that goes into consideration. Still, there seems to be a lot more to our desks and chairs than just sitting comfortably all through the day. made a revelation. The health and wellness website outlined various ingenious ways your team can turn their ergonomic chairs into exercise and fitness equipment.

Take a swivel chair for example. You can just lift your feet off the ground while holding your forefingers and your thumbs against your desk. You can then turn 90-degrees right, and then to the center, the left, center, right again, repeatedly.

A non-rolling chair can also act as a prop that can be used for triceps dips.

By standing in front of the chair, with your hands placed on the edges while also facing away, you can easily position your feet in front of the chair, just a few steps away. You can then lower yourself till your elbows are at 90-degrees. This can also be done repeatedly, lifting your body back up each time, until the arms are straight.

Creating Opportunities for Physical Activities

Incorporating this into your corporate culture has a lot of benefits.

Only when there’s a room or opportunity for this can your employees feel encouraged to do it. Consider creating a space for employees to meditate or practice yoga or those other activities that can help them renew their concentration and focus during the day. Providing basic equipment like yoga mats, balance balls, blocks, etc, will also go a long way.

It makes sense to ask if any member on your team does yoga or meditate personally. With someone willing to lead the group, the benefits of group exercise can easily circulate to every individual on the team.

  • Few of these benefits include;
  • Enhanced health and wellness / lower absenteeism
  • Enhanced focus and motivation to boost productivity
  • Reduction/elimination of burnout, stress, and anxiety
  • Enhanced bonding among team members

Final notes

There is a lot to be gained from getting your team more active through physical exercises. The benefits within and outside the workplace extend far and wide for both the company and the workers altogether.

Here at Jefferson Group, we are all about helping you unlock workplace productivity through innovative office designs. Contact us today if you would like to design your workplace to promote physical activity and boost productivity.

5 Positive Ways Natural Lighting Can Impact Your Company’s Corporate Culture

5 Positive Ways Natural Lighting Can Impact Your Company’s Corporate Culture

The impact of lighting in your work environment cannot be overstated.

There is a gradual shift in our approach to workplace designs nowadays. We’ve come to realize just how natural light seems to be the best way to light any environment, either at home or in the workplace.

While most people see this from the perspective of enhancing or brightening the office space, natural lighting has far greater benefits that can include creating a healthier and happier work environment where employees are able to work more productively.

You want a workplace that promotes employee health and wellness and one where creativity can be properly harnessed for productivity. Let’s see five awesome ways natural lighting can help with this.

Natural lighting can enhance better sleep patterns

There have been several studies conducted over the years and natural lighting has always been shown to help workers sleep better. Workers in offices with adequate natural lighting are more likely to sleep longer and better than those in windowless or poor lighting conditions.

Workers in offices with poor lighting conditions are also more likely to encounter problems with sleep quality and efficiency. Quality sleep as we know possesses a great mental advantage. We can easily say therefore that natural lighting will give your employees a mental boost.

Significant energy costs reduction

Natural lighting from the sun is free.

When you are able to channel more of this into your work environment, you’ll be doing your company’s finances a lot of good. We’ve heard stories of companies saving several hundreds of thousands on their energy bills after daylighting their work environment to allow more natural light inside.

Maybe your own won’t be as huge as this, but this is sure to save you some significant amount that can easily be deployed to other areas where they are more needed.

Reduces eye strain to promote general eye health

Artificial lighting just does not provide sufficient lighting and optimum clarity that natural lighting does. These artificial lighting systems such as fluorescent bulbs are known to stress and strain the eyes.

Natural lighting is quite beneficial and advantageous compared to this. Not only does it guarantees far lesser strain to the eyes, but it also helps employees refocus easily due to the greater enhancement and improvement in both short and long range views.

Mood boost for a healthier and happier environment

Seasonal Affective Disorder, simply known as SAD affects a lot of people especially during the winter when there is less natural light. SAD is known to alter the circadian rhythm, our body’s biological clock that is responsible for timing all of the mental and behavioral changes that follows the 24-hour cycle, which is dependent on and can be influenced by the lighting conditions in the environment.

Adequate natural lighting eliminates the possibility of this occurrence to ensure the atmosphere is always vibrant and positive, leading us to the last but certainly not the least benefit on this list, optimal efficiency, and productivity.

Natural lighting boosts workplace productivity and efficiency

We are in a world where businesses are always looking for new ways to boost productivity and maximize efficiency. Natural lighting eliminates the possibility of the workplace becoming moody and unnecessarily negative. It also enhances focus, concentration, and improved memory, all of which are very important ingredients in the recipe for optimal productivity and maximum efficiency.

Final Thoughts

Natural lighting has been proven beyond doubt to be far more ideal than artificial light.

Not only will it benefit employees on mental and physical levels, these advantages easily translate to better productivity and efficiency. For both the employees and employer, it’s a win-win that will be beneficial to everyone involved.

5 Awesome Ways Your Business Can Benefit from Having a Corporate Art Collection

5 Awesome Ways Your Business Can Benefit from Having a Corporate Art Collection

1. Art can help boost your business’s brand image

Art can also play a great role in reinforcing or boosting your company’s brand image. It is powerful enough to impact customers, and impress prospects and stakeholders alike. Your choice of art can help you convey a message in a subtle unspoken way.

While it can represent your business’s legacy and achievements over the years, it can also be used to remind customers about your uniqueness, innovation, and every other quality that embodies your brand.

Want to always remind your clients about just how innovative and unique you are from competitors? You can always get some beautiful works to not just excite and impress them but to also reinforce your brand image and public perception.

2. Art can help build a culture of creativity

Artworks in the workplace can have a great positive mental impact on workers.
Hanging a beautiful work of art within offices, halls, and corridors will help boost creativity within the work environment. You can expect employees to stay reinvigorated all day from the aesthetic impact of these beautiful pieces.

Art may also represent or symbolize a kind of standard in creativity and innovation that workers will continually try to attain. You want your workers inspired all day and art can help you achieve this in its own way.

3. Art can offer your business a networking advantage

Doing business today is all about networks and connections. Your foray into the art world will likely offer you a considerable reward in this regard as well. You never can tell how far your art collection strategy can go to influence your business. Although you never can tell if and when it will land you a vital connection, it will, however, bring you closer to a lot more people in your community and beyond. What is networking and connection if not to open you to more people?

4. Art can help businesses connect with their local community

It should interest you that this can also help your company connect with its immediate environment. It can easily function as a kind of support for both expert artists and emerging talents in the neighborhood. For your business and the art community, it is a win-win. Aside from helping you bolster your company’s brand, it also portrays your business as one that is socially responsible.

5. Art can serve as a form of investment

Your company may not become rich overnight by collecting art. Still, you can’t overlook the fact that this can be a valid investment. The market for art is increasing exponentially.
In just two decades, the turnover in the Art auction market has increased by about fivefold. There are also clear signs that this will continue into the future. Whatever investment you’re making in this regard, it most likely would be well spent and valuable if done the right way.

Final thoughts

You know by now how beneficial this little-known idea can be. It can help your reinforce and build your brand image. It will help connect you even better with the community. For a corporate entity, it’s a whole lot more benefit than aesthetics and what most of us have come to associate with art collection.

Your Office in Color: Best Colors to Use For a Happy, Productive Workspace

Your Office in Color: Best Colors to Use For a Happy, Productive Workspace

Colors have a tendency to invoke emotion, and interestingly enough, a certain color m&m can taste better than another just because of its color, or the color of the bowl you’re eating it out of.

Research and evidence pointing to the above clarify that color is a substantial factor in our everyday surroundings, especially in the one place that surfaces many stresses – work. Knowing this, it could be safe to say that using mindful color combinations could boost employee morale, happiness, and productivity. So what, then, is the right color to use?

In determining your office’s perfect palette, it’s important to keep in mind that what may work for one space may be detrimental to another. Angela Wright, a dedicated researcher of the impact of color on behavior since the seventies, notes that color, when seen in different spaces, elicits a different response. Consider turning a corner in your home to face a typical brown house spider on the wall; while that would be an irritation, a black one with a red hourglass on its stomach would definitively provoke more of a frenzy. Wright remarks, “when the study of color harmony is combined with the science of psychology, reactions can be predicted with startling accuracy.”

Offices can be designed to conjure up specific moods or feelings depending on the location and the task at hand. And it’s not merely the color that makes an impact; it’s the intensity of each color. High-intensity colors are stimulating, and low-intensity colors tend to be soothing. Let’s take a look at the foundation of each color to determine if it should be incorporated into your workspace.



Blue is often used in open-plan workspaces and proves to have a beneficial impact on productivity. Regarded as a color of intellect, it can help to improve concertation and focus and eases mental strain.



Have you ever been to a medical exam? It likely had blank white walls and conveyed a sterile feeling. Studies suggest that white is the least advantageous color to have in an office setting, giving off an isolated, monotonous tone.



Yellow’s emotional undertones are fuel for creative fires. It is linked to positive emotions and invokes happy feelings in the brain. Yellow walls and elements are best in rooms filled with creatives to inspire ideas.



Our connection with nature makes green a harmonious, stress-reducing color. Different hues can surface different emotions, but overall, green has restorative properties that can improve employee attitudes and productivity. It’s also less harsh on the eyes, whereas other colors make our retinas adjust.



Red’s undertones are inherently energizing. Looking at red can increase the heart rate and can aid in carrying out physical tasks, which makes it a perfect color to use around demanding areas that require physical activity.



Offices are eager to incorporate slate grey colors into their workspaces, but too much grey can invoke a dull or depressing mood. Pops of grey can help to balance and neutralize a space, but overkill can chip away at employee tenacity.

Bringing the Outdoors In: More Companies are Embracing Biophilic Office Design

Bringing the Outdoors In: More Companies are Embracing Biophilic Office Design

Our work lives have been designed in stuffy little boxes even though we have an intrinsic pull to be around nature. As humans, our attachment to open spaces, clean air, scenic coastlines, and expansive green forests runs deep. Our desire to be in nature is simply a natural feeling.

Employees spend much of their lives indoors, cutting nature out of the picture and fueling workplace anxiety and stresses. Now, many offices are springing to life with biophilic office designs, reigning in natural elements like sunlight, greenery, and wood finishes to mitigate stress, purify indoor air, and most importantly, to promote the well-being, happiness, and productivity of their employees.

Workers in offices utilizing natural elements (outside views, plants, etc.) displayed better health and more positive inclinations compared to workers with no natural surroundings. Eva Selhub, author of Your Brain on Nature, remarks that nature  “stimulates reward neurons in your brain. It turns off the stress response, which means you have lower cortisol levels, lower heart rate and blood pressure, and improved immune response.” Amidst these realizations, many large businesses and corporations are going the extra mile to make sure that natural elements are incorporated, building everything from vast indoor gardens to walls teeming with greenery, giving employees much-needed respite during breaks and a calming atmosphere during work hours.



In 2017, Microsoft brought a different kind of meeting room into the fold. Complete with WiFi and plugs for PCs and tablets, the tech giant built a brand new meeting space for employee conferences – accessible by a planked, switchback ramp leading up to a large deck suspended 12 feet off the ground by wood beams. It’s a treehouse. And apart from a meeting room of every inner child’s dreams (complete with the cozy smell of pine), Microsoft employees are also equipped with a 500-acre campus tucked away in the woods.



Amazon’s Seattle HQ boasts glass domes sprinkled with over 40,000 types of plants from cloud forests worldwide. Levels of the greenery-filled Seattle Sphere contain varying seating elements that range from congregation space to secluded nooks, offering options for employees to relax silently or engage with groups while surrounded by nature.



Delos, a powerful real estate and tech firm, forged the WELL Building Standard in 2014, based on medical research that shows how our surroundings affect our health. Headquartered in Manhattan, Delos redesigned their space to serve as a model for these standards, and are ripe with triple-filtered air, cascading plants, standing desks, and oak staircases. In addressing the importance of workplace surroundings, Delos CEO, Paul Scialla, remarks “If we can engineer the box we spend 90 percent of our lives in to deliver health care automatically, that’s a very big impact.”



Google’s Chicago offices are a step beyond the addition of trees and a few plants. Google aimed to improve a specific feature in their Chicago workplaces: light. The space offers increased natural lighting to promote the body’s natural circadian rhythm, and doesn’t spare on live plants, art, edible greenery, and glass-lined conference rooms.

Office Design Trends for 2018/2019

Office Design Trends for 2018/2019

The modern workplace is swiftly making the office of yesteryear a relic of the past. Tired, fluorescent-lit cubicle spaces are disappearing, evolving into areas that weave together elements of home, play, relaxation, and engagement.

More and more businesses realize that to retain bright talent of our era, a reformatted, modern work environment that encourages creativity and enjoyable space to operate in is the new norm. And a well-designed area dotted with soft furniture aren’t the only ingredients to consider – things like access to coffee, nooks to unwind, or even places to take a break for a game of pool are what the new generation is seeking in a satisfactory workspace.

With these contemporary principles in mind, let’s give a gander to shifting trends for office design in 2018/2019.

Joining Teams With Open Spaces

Collaborative spaces aren’t solely set aside for important meetings anymore. Strategically-located open areas in the heart of an office equipped with comfortable seating, strong WIFI, whiteboards, and screens with sharing abilities make for dual-purpose arenas that allow for a melding of minds.

Encouraging co-workers to come together to engage in open-air meetings promotes a more visible, tied-together atmosphere within a company, fostering a connected team. And even more on the forefront of reinvention of open spaces are open-door official meeting rooms. Instead of management teams behind a glass curtain, they’re visible for any eyes to see.

Recharging Your Batteries

A bold standout on the new-era employee checklist is a comfortable place to unwind during breaks. And we’re not talking dimly-lit backrooms with a mini-fridge and broken chair. On the rise are places where employees can eat, meditate, take a yoga class, sink into a beanbag chair, or rest their eyes in a hammock for a quick reboot.

Biophilic Designs Make For Happy Employees

Our biology commands that we love nature. And biophilic office designs that advocate for bringing the outdoors in are becoming increasingly popular in workplaces, dismantling the sterile elements of white walls and grey carpets.

Natural finishes are seen often in up-to-date offices, and walls heavy with greenery and succulents are livening up workspaces. Unusual combinations of wood, metals, textiles, and stones add natural features that fulfill our needs of unlocking the calming aspects of nature while working indoors.

Say Goodbye to Walls

In the modern office, transparency is in; partitions are out. Big walls used to separate rooms are getting torn down and tossed out, promoting a more collaborative workspace and a transparent culture.

Even so, this breaking-down-the-door concept can actually give employees added privacy by adding choice and adaptability for each employee to work where they want and move about to different areas.

What Else Is Next?

With each company, there’s no one-size-fits-all formula to office updates. Each workspace is unique and should be constructed with the job and specific needs of employees in mind. But as workplaces grow, these open-space, comfortable, collaborative areas are multiplying, and the future holds more sociable workplaces filled with comforts of home.

Say Thanks to Millennials for Open Offices

Say Thanks to Millennials for Open Offices

Over the last decade, the millennial-age modernization of workplaces has created a growing trend of open-space, collaborative areas meant to promote transparency and communion between coworkers. The google-galvanized trend of comfortable spaces for workers to lie about and kitchens filled to the brim with kombucha make for indiscernible elements between home and work, and employees are reveling in these vocational play places.

Open workspaces are nothing new, but millennials have taken it upon themselves to evolve the blueprints. And while much of the world desires these collaborative spaces, not everyone likes it.

The History of the Cubicle

First, it’s necessary to dive into the history of office spaces, starting with the advent of the cubicle. This modular system, named “Action Office II,” was put in place as added privacy to those who were once used to open office environments. This was a unique addition that allowed each employee their own space to conduct their job – but what became of it was office suburbia.

A Difference in Values – The Boomers

Open offices have returned to the fold to replace stale rows of stuffy cubicles. But increasingly vocal opponents of this paradigm shift are raising their concerns, and their distaste for these utopian-like workspaces is palpable.

Nearly half of all employees in a study regarded open work environments as distracting, and more than a third said the lack of visual privacy was upsetting. Opponents of the public settings mention that these areas break apart what they were intended to do – promote collaboration – because people are instead fearful of interrupting their coworkers who are trying their best to be productive in a boisterous locale.

However, these disagreements are separated by a generational gap. The ones protesting the loudest are the baby boomers, who generally take pride in and find value in the acquisition of office space, noting it may have taken a long time and many accomplishments to earn their window-adjacent desk. Those being told that their offices are being torn down to make way for open areas are achingly displeased.

The Millennial Justification

While distractions, chatter, and lack of privacy are all equally dissatisfying for millennials, they believe the tradeoff of increased collaboration is worth the noise. As open-space workplaces biggest proponent, millennials highly value the opportunity to network and engage together in a team setting.

This on-the-fly style of working diminishes the worth of secure, private space, and encourages an egalitarian form of working. Some companies are even creating millennial-only wings, segregating this alter-ego of workplace functions.

What Happens Now?

Besides the millennial mindset propelling these new trends, newer or rebuilding offices and workspaces are open to the shifts because these open-plan areas cut costs in a variety of ways. And in moving forward, businesses will likely not stick to the seniority scale of office space – individuals will be grouped or doled out to areas based on their particular job function (a marketer may benefit from a collaborative space, while a coder or writer will need a quiet space to focus).

Agile, At Work

Agile, At Work

The era of the cubicle and the isolated corner office is coming to its rightful end. We don’t live in rigid, artificial environments, and our best work does not emanate from places not conducive to the natural dynamics and inherent creativity of a group focused on a common mission. Agile working is all about creating a flexible and therefore more productive environment.

The idea is as simple as it is functional: by creating different working areas, each tailored to the specific task at hand, you can give your staff the freedom and flexibility to work where, when, and how they want.

Research indicates that up to 60 percent of the traditional office space goes unused on a typical day. Better flexibility and specificity of use not only increases productivity but also realizes cost savings— often as much as 20 percent— by creating a more efficient workflow. When an office has more thoughtfully differentiated working areas, your staff will find greater ease and more freedom to make individual choices. A more intuitively functional workplace fosters creativity, generates more “outside-the-box” ideas, facilitates communication and collaboration across different departments, and thus creates more empowered employees and a stronger sense of shared mission.

Organizations such as Google and Unilver, working within some of the most competitive, high-pressure industries in the world, have discovered that creating a more vibrant work environment is also key to perhaps the most important aspect of successful team-building— it attracts better talent. Extraordinary employees do not want to work in ordinary workspaces.

Benefits of an Agile Workplace

Activity Based Working enables your employees to focus on what they actually do rather than what department they are in. A flexible office space that is adaptable to their needs and activities on any given day means greater focus on the task at hand. Activity Based Working is characterized by different spaces and settings that enable people to concentrate individually or collaborate as a group.

Agile workplaces can include different spaces for focus, collaboration, relaxation, telephone conversations, inspiration, and concentration. Decades of architectural and workplace productivity research has shown the power of creating spaces specific to use; better design not only creates better work, but a more healthful and happier workforce. An agile environment simply provides the correct space for any activity in a workplace.

A workplace becomes more effective and efficient because it supports a dynamic rather than a static workforce; accordingly, the work product emanating from such an environment tends to be more dynamic and creative. The elimination of desk ownership is also more cost-effective and often allows organizations to increase the number of employees utilizing a building or office. Typical cost savings for an agile office space refurbishment is between 15 and 20 percent when compared to a traditional office refurbishment. You save money, time, and space as your organization becomes a place where the future of work is being created each day.

When Planning Your New Office, Don’t Forget Office Accessories!

When Planning Your New Office, Don’t Forget Office Accessories!

No office looks or functions the same.  Each requires different layouts, distinct furniture, specialized equipment, and most importantly, each needs to be chock full of smart office accessories.  Powering up a large or personal office with thoughtful office supplies and accessories makes for a functional workspace and a productivity-minded think tank.  Peak performance and seamless fluidity come with maximum organizational abilities and well-stocked supplies, and it’s only natural that any office functions better when appropriate office accessories are there as your convenient, helpful sidekicks.

Small office items are designed to make your office life easier, and it’s important not to overlook the essentials.  By including these ancillary products, you can maximize the functionality of your workspace. 

So what are some common office supplies and accessories not to be missed?

Common Desk Supplies

Here, we have the basics.  Your highlighters, paper clips, pens, staplers… these are the bread and butter of any office.  Keeping well stocked with these ordinary, everyday office supplies will make daily tasks a breeze.

Organizational Supplies

Dysfunctional, disorganized offices wreak havoc on your stress level, productivity, and your mind!  Office trimmings like staplers, literature racks, binder clips, and regular and hanging file folders can pin down clutter into a concise, neat formula.  Additionally, sleek whiteboards with push-pin options and large calendars can help conjoin your office into organized awesomeness.

Tech And More

Apart from a standard laptop or desktop computer and the everyday items that come along with large office tech, equipping yourself with ergonomic monitor arms, keyboard trays, and efficient task lighting is a great way to simplify office life.


We’ve never heard of an office that doesn’t need 4pc paper.  Printer paper, sticky notes, envelopes, notebooks… these all are all at the top of the list for necessary office supplies and accessories.  Along with printer paper, stockpiles of ink and toner need to join the ranks.

Other Essentials

There are endless small and large items available to customize your office.  A few more to keep in mind are waste and recycle bins, extra tables and stands, signage, coat racks, display cases, and more.