The best way to choose affordable office furniture is to carefully consider your source options, then look for items only within your price range. If you only want to consider new, rather than used, office furniture, then your selection will likely be limited to laminates, metals and lower priced woods such as pine rather than fine hardwoods. If you don't mind taking the time to shop at auctions, you may be able to find good deals on used hardwood pieces. Look for auction companies that offer office furniture; depending on the firm, you may be able to find fine, used hardwood desks, shelving and other pieces at much less than their original prices.
If you want modern office pieces, you can go for plain, straight lined furniture in many different material options. Affordable office furniture that requires assembly and is sold flat-packed may be a good choice if you're hoping to buy new pieces but don't mind the extra work involved. Again, laminates, metals and woods such as pine are lower priced options that you're likely to find in budget office furniture.
Laminates are furniture and cabinetry that have a tough synthetic coating. The advantage is that laminates are easy to wipe clean, while the main disadvantage is that they aren't as expensive looking as hardwood. Metal desks and shelving, although durable and strong, are also easy to wipe clean. Yet, they can look quite sparse. Metal affordable office furniture may dent and scratch easily.
Pine, as it's a soft wood, is also susceptible to denting and scratching. Natural, knotty pine, with its dark knots in light wood, may be too rustic looking for even affordable office furniture. However, unfinished pine furniture can be a good bargain; if you're willing to stain it in a dark finish, you can have a look that's closer to the more conservative, traditional look of hardwoods. Pine worktables and shelves can give more casual offices an efficient, yet comfortable look.
One thing you should never do when choosing affordable furniture for an office is just look at price alone. If you pick the cheapest pieces without giving any thought to their materials or construction, it could end up costing you even more than you thought if you have to replace cheap pieces that fall apart in only a short time. Value is the important thing; it's easy to look for this if you compare the quality of the affordable office furniture with its price.