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What is FF&E?

We try to be good about not using too many acronyms at Board & Vellum, but sometimes, we slip up. FF&E is one of those cases that comes up a lot as our interiors studio grows. (Plus, once you know what it stands for, it’s a bit of a tongue twister.) So, what does it mean?

January 30, 2018

Acronyms stink. But the reality is, they easily fall back into my bag of words and phrases I use. Recently, I’ve noticed “FF&E” come up a few times (both by me and people around me) and I thought I would expand a bit on what this actually means.

The literal definition of FF&E is: Furniture, Fixtures, and Equipment.

What it actually means, or can convey, is a design project that leaves the architecture alone. When we refer to the “FF&E scope of work,” our interior design team is thinking of everything in the room that isn’t bolted to the structure of the building: the couch, the throw pillows on it, the art on the wall behind it, the coffee table in front of it — you get the idea. (There are obvious exceptions to that rule, of course.)

So, when we talk about an FF&E remodel of a condo, we’re thinking of leaving all the walls, windows, and doors in place, but integrating new furniture pieces, appliances, door hardware, and lighting.

Now that our interior design team is so integral to so much of what we do, we find that we are having to explain this term far more often, as typical architectural services don’t include helping you select a dining room table or the beautiful light that hangs above it.

FF&E doesn’t typically imply finishes, such as tile, wallpaper, paint, etc., but it is often blended into the definition on smaller and more residential projects. So for a home, an “FF&E remodel” is probably more of an “FFF&E” (with the additional F standing for finishes).

Design services for a project can cover typical architectural design services for the built structure of your home all the way through the selection of your favorite sofa and the beautiful objects that sit behind it on a shelf. Ensuring that the “FF&E” for your project are thoughtfully considered helps complete the project and personalize the space.

All this said, it is always acceptable for you as a client to stop your designer or architect when they’re guilty of dropping an acronym into a conversation and asking what the heck that means. We will always aim to be your advocate and pull back the curtain behind the mystery of what we do (and professional acronyms are part of that curtain). But, from time to time, we will forget and always welcome your questions and a good smack across the head when we talk in language you don’t understand!

Have a question about interior design? Explore all things interior design at Board & Vellum, or say hi.

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