Makerspace Furniture Checklist + 9 Proven Products
Next steps? Outfit your space!
Along with choosing the right tools for your users, you’ll also want to think about the furniture you’ll need. Before repurposing or purchasing makerspace furniture, take a look at this checklist of questions to ask yourself. The answers will influence your decisions and lead you to the best furniture options for your space.
- What are the ages of the users?
- What activities will be taking place in your space?
- What types of tools and devices will be used and what will the electrical needs be?
- Will this space need to be flexible to accommodate multiple uses or mobile so the tools can be easily moved?
- How much storage will you need for tools and supplies, as well as works in progress?
Age of Users
Different age groups will require different furniture heights and sizes. Look for furniture with adjustable height legs and seating that will accommodate different users.
Depending on your users’ needs, makerspaces can contain a diverse array of tools and resources. Some activities require cutting surfaces, some require paint or crafting surfaces, some require collaborative surfaces like whiteboards, some require technology, and each will require a certain amount of space.
Consider whether you’ll be offering an area to work with manual or power tools. If so, you’ll need a surface that can sustain damage, such as butcher block. You may wish to look for furniture that has built-in storage for your tools to keep everything in one zone. Or, perhaps you can use wall space to store tools and supplies. Do you have a wall for shelving or a pegboard?
Take some time to evaluate your older furniture. Do you have pieces that you wouldn’t mind sacrificing to activities that might cause damage? If so, could your money be better spent on media storage or new seating?
If you envision your space as a collaborative workspace, you’ll want to offer tools that make it easy to work together, such as media tables, mobile whiteboards and tables and seating that can be reconfigured.
If your space will be used for multiple purposes, and you envision the furniture being moved around a lot, look for durable pieces with fabric that can be easily cleaned. The furniture may come into contact with paint or project messes from other areas. Spills and messes can also affect flooring, so consider ways to implement or use a flooring area that is moppable or easy to clean.
You might also consider creating zones with your furniture pieces to keep messier materials away from the rest of the space.
Electrical needs tie back to the types of activities that will be taking place in your makerspace. You may need to consider whether your current infrastructure will accommodate increased needs for power outlets.
Think about whether you’ll be able to locate furniture close to floor or wall outlets, or whether you’ll need to look for furniture that offers power access. Will you have multiple devices (library-owned or user-owned) that will need to be charged at once? A charging station or pole offers a power option that can be moved as your space’s needs change.
You might also want to offer a collaborative workspace with media capabilities so users can share their work.
Does the space need to be multi-purpose? If so, you’ll want to consider furniture that offers mobility and flexibility. Look for pieces with locking casters, seating that stacks or tables that can be easily rolled aside, nested and stored when you need to open up the space.
You might also be lacking in space. One solution is to create a mobile makerspace with a utility cart. Not only does this keep your supplies organized, it also lets you leave your library open for other activities and allows you to take your makerspace on the road!
You have all the stuff, but now where are you going to put it? You’ll probably need some combination of small part storage and large storage. You’ll want to clearly label drawers and bins so you can easily find what you need and encourage users to return spare parts to the correct spots.
You’ll also want to consider whether you’ll need to keep certain supplies secure with locking storage and whether you want your storage option to be mobile so you can move your supplies to different areas.
Top 9 Furniture Recommendations
We asked our furniture experts for their suggestions on furniture that works well in a library makerspace to get you started. Here are 9 products that make the grade:
If you’re tired of picking up little pieces off the floor, Gear Guard™ tables offer a solution. The 2-inch rim around the perimeter keeps roaming robots and stray parts contained so students can focus on learning. Optional storage trays give you a place to store maker supplies when not in use.
Collaboration has never been easier! Kids can see their ideas come to life as they write right on these colorful dry-erase tabletops. Adjustable height legs and optional locking casters make these tables versatile for different age groups and spaces. See how Massapequa School District implemented these tables in six of their elementary makerspaces in 6 Schools + 6 Makerspaces = 1 Big Win.
A favorite for flexibility, these tables are a great option when your space needs to remain multi-purpose. Kite tables work in multiple configurations to expand with the size of your group and can be folded, nested and rolled aside when the space is needed for other activities.
Makers will be able to do some serious making with these adjustable-leg workbenches that can be customized to fit any age group. The block maple wood surface and steel frame make this a solid, durable surface for all types of tools and various projects.
A place for everything, and everything in its place! This mobile maker station will keep your supplies organized and readily available. You’ll be able to store craft materials, hang tools on the hooks, and store large pieces like cardboard in the back. Kids will be drawn in to the mobile STEAM station with the customizable overhead display area. And the best part is it’s all mobile, so you can move STEAM projects to other areas!
Store all your 3-D printer items in this mobile cart. The adjustable spool holder holds up to 4 spools. The cart also includes a sliding tray for a laptop, features tape and magnetic tool holders and includes a 6-outlet power strip. The cart features a lockable tech tub option as well.
Galvanized steel construction lets you use these stools inside or outside. But just because they’re heavy duty doesn’t mean they’re not aesthetically appealing. The fun, bright colors draw users in and add excitement to your space. And because they’re stackable, you can easily move them out of the way to transform your space when needed.
Allowing kids to fidget can actually help them focus? Yep! These active stools provide an outlet for restlessness and extra energy and will help your users focus on their creativity. And they even promote healthy activity by reducing stress on the back and strengthening core muscles. They’re available in a shorter height for younger kids as well.
If you want industrial-strength storage, this shelving delivers. Steel poles and shelves offer stability, and a variety of pull-out, locking bins help you organize and quickly find supplies. Locking casters allow you to take your supplies where you need them.