FF&E in Interior Design [Meaning & Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment] — Scaled Up Studio | Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers & Architects (2024)

Interior Design Business

Written By Tina Huffman

Ever come across the term “FF&E” and wondered what does FF&E mean? FF&E is an acronym for furniture, fixtures, and equipment. You might also see it abbreviated as FF&E or FFE. It’s definition is furniture, fixtures, or equipment that is moveable, e.g. does not have permanent attachment to a building.

FF&E is a standard component of commercial interior design, but the lesser used FF&A (Furniture, Fixtures, & Accessories) is applicable to residential interior design.

In this post we’ll take a look at the role of an FF&E interior designer, how FF&E is valued from a business and tax perspective, and how applying an “FF&E mindset” can improve any interior design project.

FF&E Meaning in Interior Design

FF&E can cover a range of items including but not limited to furniture, window treatments, lighting, carpets, partitions, case goods, mirrors and artwork, textiles, containerized plants, computers, and electronic equipment. Anything that isn’t nailed down, so to speak.

One description is to picture turning a building upside down and whatever doesn’t stay put is called FF&E.

However, that doesn’t tell the whole story. Often FF&E interior designers end up handling a lot more than what is “nailed down”. Built-in furniture, partitions, fixtures, plumbed but free-standing appliances, wood cladding, electrical sockets and wired light fittings, and much more can all fall under the umbrella of FF&E and is the responsibility of the FF&E interior designer.

Finishes are the extra “F” that isn’t included in the acronym but often falls under the responsibility of FF&E interior design.

A general job description for an FF&E interior designer might read as the sourcing, production, and documentation of FF&E and interior finishes aspects of interior design projects. This would include documentation for furniture plans, furnishing drawings, elevations, specifications, samples, details, etc.

FF&E in the Interior Design Process

If FF&E is described as the furniture and moveable parts of a commercial space, one might think FF&E might not factor into the design discussion until near the end once the details are nailed down, but actually the opposite is true.

FF&E should be part of early Conceptual (Schematic) Design phase. It is necessary to have a preliminary schedule of proposed finishes, furniture, fixtures, and equipment for the preliminary Estimate of Probable Cost to help track the budget early on.

During Design Development, the FF&E elements are further refined by the interior designer into preliminary layouts and FF&E Specifications, including quantities.

The FF&E will include layouts, elevations, details, samples, specifications, and quantities which are incorporated into the final Construction Documents, which the Client will use to solicit bids.

FF & E Procurement

FF&E procurement or purchasing refers to corporations hiring interior designers, architects, or general contractors to specify, source, purchase, and furnish their offices or other business spaces during construction/installation phases.

FF&E in Interior Design [Meaning & Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment] — Scaled Up Studio | Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers & Architects (2)

FF&E: the Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment for Accounting & Tax Purposes

To connect the dots beyond the interior design process, I’ll touch on the implications of FF&E for business taxes and valuation. In business terms, FF&E is the movable property companies use in daily operations (regardless of the scope of the FF&E designer).

Accountants refer to FF&E as tangible assets lasting longer than a year used by a business for normal daily operations. They assign value to FF&E on a company's balance sheet and use it for tax purposes.

Accountants spread the acquisition costs of FF&E items over time by depreciating their values over the “lifetime” of the objects. How do they determine the useful lifetime of say, an office chair? The IRS has assigned timelines to FF&E as well as other equipment including real estate itself. Office equipment for example, is assigned a useful life of 7 years.

If you’re a self-employed interior designer or architect, you’re likely familiar with this concept already since the IRS allow you to depreciate business-related equipment along with other deductions allowed for self employment such as office square footage from your income, within their allotted parameters.

So if you’re interested in taking on commercial interior design work, it’s key to understand that a savvy commercial client will be evaluating the value of a project’s FF&E, and by extension, the value of your role in designing and procuring the FF&E.

In turn, a savvy interior designer would emphasize the value-add of well executed FF&E strategy in her design presentation to the real estate developer/corporate client.

Apply An FF&E Mindset To Any Interior Design Project

So now that we have an idea of at what working on a commercial interior design project with a dedicated FF&E designer and budget might involve, I think a takeaway here is to apply the FF&E mindset to any interior design project. ( Remember the FF&A - Furniture, Fixtures, & Accessories mentioned in the beginning?)

If you’re working on a smaller residential project, thinking in terms of FF&E in the early Conceptual Design stages and refining as you go will strengthen your design work and improve the accuracy of your Estimates of Probable Costs.

This will improve your authority with Clients, which is a net positive for growing your interior design business.

If you’re working on a smaller residential project, thinking in terms of FF&E in the early Conceptual Design stages and refining as you go will strengthen your design work and improve the accuracy of your Estimates of Probable Costs. Your clients will thank you for this.

Other creative business-building posts you’ll love:

  • Interior Design Business Tax Tips

  • Why An Interior Designer’s About Page Is So Important

  • My Design Business End Of Month SOP

  • How To Start A Design Business [10 Key Steps]

Don’t forget to Pin it for later!

FF&E in Interior Design [Meaning & Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment] — Scaled Up Studio | Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers & Architects (3)

If you have any questions or comments, please drop me a note below. Be sure to check back for my response (I always respond) since no notification is sent.

Tina Huffman

Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers


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FF&E in Interior Design [Meaning & Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment] — Scaled Up Studio | Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers & Architects (2024)


FF&E in Interior Design [Meaning & Role of Furniture, Fixtures, & Equipment] — Scaled Up Studio | Website & Marketing Templates for Interior Designers & Architects? ›

FF&E Meaning in Interior Design

What does FF&E mean in interior design? ›

What is the definition of FF&E? FF&E is an acronym for Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment. You might also encounter FF&E spelled FFE, FF & E, or F.F. &E. In architecture and interior design, FF&E typically encompasses all movable or easily removed objects in a building, not including sellable products.

What is FF & E with definition and examples? ›

Furniture, fixtures, and equipment (abbreviated as FF&E or FFE) refers to movable furniture, fixtures, or other equipment that have no permanent connection to the structure of a building.

What is the FF&E layout plan? ›

FF&E is an acronym that stands for furniture, fixtures and equipment. It's a design subset that focuses on only the interior, removable features of a space.

What is an example of a FF&E package? ›

FF&E is anything outside the construction package that is a part of the building. These items can include: Furniture: desks, chairs, tables, sofas, beds. Fixtures: lamps, artwork, shelving, and other decorative items.

What is the difference between an interior designer and an FF&E designer? ›

Whilst an interior designer covers the broad conceptual creation and execution of a vision, an FF&E designer is a hands-on specialist in the specific tangible features, ensuring every piece works with the overall concept.

What are fixtures in interior design? ›

Fixtures are defined as the permanently attached or fixed objects that cannot be easily removed or are integral to your home such as carpets, curtains, or light fixtures. These items will typically be included when you sell or lease your home, unlike fittings. Examples of fixtures include: Built in wardrobes.

What qualifies as furniture and fixtures? ›

What is the difference between furniture, fixtures, and equipment? Furniture includes more substantial items such as movable office furniture. Fixtures are anything that may be secured, such as cubicle partitions or attached shelving, that have no permanent connection to the structure or building.

Is flooring part of FF&E? ›

Examples of FF&E include chairs, computers and other electronic equipment, conference tables, desks, and partitions. It's important to note that FFE DOES NOT include any consumable products, like food, drink or paper products, floor finishes, wall coverings and tiling, or plumbing fixtures like faucets.

What is the job description of a FF&E specialist? ›

Job Description

Specify materials and furnishings, such as lighting, furniture, wall finishes, flooring. She shall request pricing from suppliers. She shall review shop drawings and follow up on all manufactured items.

What is the trend now in interior designing? ›

Nature-inspired reigns supreme as designers, homeowners, and businesses gravitate towards bringing the outdoors in. We're talking lush greenery, earthy colors, eco-friendly materials, and an oh-so-soothing atmosphere. It's fitting, too, as sustainability is also cementing its spot in 2024's interior design trends.

What is not covered in the FF&E? ›

Items like food and drink or paper items that are consumable are not included in FF&E.

What are FF&E specifications? ›

FF&E is an acronym that stands for Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment. This term is commonly used in the architecture, interior design, and construction industries to describe the various movable objects and items that are included in a building or space.

What are the examples of furniture and fixtures? ›

Furniture includes chairs, tables, desks, sofas, beds, and cabinets. Fixtures such as lighting fixtures, plumbing fixtures, and built-in cabinetry are permanently attached to a building. Equipment refers to machines, tools, and appliances, such as kitchen equipment, laundry machines, and electronic devices.

How much does FF&E cost? ›

For 2-star hotels, average FF&E budgets run between $4,500 and $7,000. The FF&E budget for each room at a 5-star hotel can top $35,000. Custom furniture, which can elevate a hotel's image and reputation, can increase these costs.

What kind of asset is furniture and fixtures? ›

Furniture and fixtures on the other hand, fall under an entirely different category. They're called fixed assets or long term assets, since they cannot with reasonable certainty be easily converted to cash within a period of one year.

What does FFE mean in drawings? ›

Let's start with FF&E. The three letters and the ampersand let you know there are three separate items – furniture, fixtures and equipment. 'Furniture' and 'Fixtures' refer the physical loose items of your project to include tables, chairs, desks, etc. 'Equipment' an include phones, printers, copiers, etc.

Does FF&E include flooring? ›

FF&E are movable interior items that contribute to the overall look, feel, and functionality of a space. They can include furniture, artwork, window treatments, flooring, lighting, and more.

What does FFE mean in construction drawings? ›

FF&E or FFE is an acronym that stands for furniture, fixtures and equipment, and is used to describe the items in every building project not normally part of the contract between the owner and the building contractor.

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