The Kinnarps test lab

We tend to take it for granted that a chair won’t tip over or break apart. But the journey to safe furniture is long, and involves very careful testing and diligent documentation. We were given the chance to take a look behind the scenes at Kinnarps’ test laboratory to see how it works.

Kinnarps’ own laboratory for testing furniture has been up and running since 1994. And yes, it looks the way you would imagine, a bit like a factory with different stations and a specific flow. Temperature and humidity are also controlled in the factory in order to test the surface of the furniture. But why exactly do you test furniture?

“Simply to ensure that the items of furniture meet the necessary safety, strength and stability standards,” explains Testing Manager Jörgen Nilsson. If we take a chair that will be used in a public space as an example, there are specified requirements for that particular type of use and how to test it.

The lab has 38 different furniture testing methods and about 300 chairs, tables, sofas, easy chairs, storage and office furniture pass through here every year. Every test starts with documentation: weighing, measuring and photographing.

“If we continue to use a chair as an example, we sit on it to get a sense of whether there’s any risk of crushing or something you could cut yourself on. We then mark where we will perform our tests and place it in the machine for static loads,” Jörgen explains.

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Here we can see the Jackie chair undergoing one of many quality tests in Kinnarps’ test laboratory. Jackie carries the Möbelfakta label – a guarantee that the product maintains the highest quality, does not release any harmful substances and is produced under fair working conditions.

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The entire battery of tests takes about three weeks.

There are then several different dynamic loads, the first of which is on the seat and back for 100,000 cycles, which takes a week. Loads are also tested vertically and on the front edge and, depending on the part, there is a specific weight and a fixed number of cycles that should be used. The testing takes about three weeks from start to finish, and should correspond to the lifetime of a item of furniture for a person weighing up to 110 kilos in user weight.

“In order for an item of furniture to pass the test, nothing should have broken, there should not be any splitting or, of course, any major deformation. The function should be intact, so you can sit down and lean against the back. As a laboratory technician, you follow your products through the stations and check the requirements after each step. Once testing is complete, a report is written for the client.”

“The lab has 38 different furniture testing methods and we test about 300 products here every year.”

Jörgen Nilsson, Testing Manager at Kinnarps

Are there any new trends in furniture testing?

“The requirements are always the same, that the furniture should be safe, but we’re continually improving the accuracy and clarity of what we do. The risk of crushing, for example, may seem arbitrary, but having a described method for this now has made it easier for us to be more consistent and secure in our assessment.”

What’s on the horizon in terms of furniture standards?

“Now we’re working a lot with reuse and the development of standards surrounding it. After all, these items of furniture still need to be as safe as the ones made from new materials, and a lot of work is under way here on how to evaluate this type of furniture. A type of sustainability work that feels exciting.”

Testing the durability of surfaces is especially important on furniture in spaces where there’s frequent cleaning and disinfection.

Requirements specification

What should you consider when choosing quality furniture that lasts over time?


Map and analyse your needs for a long-term solution that suits your activities.


Choose high-quality furniture that has been designed to be renewed and reused.


Look for ecolabels and certifications, such as Möbelfakta, FSC® and OEKO-TEX.


Ensure quality and safety – through e.g. European standards.


Choose suitable materials and colours adapted for your spaces.


Question how and where your furniture has been made.


Look into how the furniture is transported and how the interior is implemented.


Be particular in selecting evaluation parameters.


Set qualitative sustainability requirements for both new and reused furniture.