There’s that old adage that says “you can’t have your cake and eat it, too.” And while this may be true for many things in life, there certainly are exceptions. Take for example highly durable bedroom and dorm furniture. Until recently, shelters, correctional facilities, behavioral healthcare spaces and educational dorm rooms had to be outfitted with furniture that was institutional in nature and which provided little sense of home.

Fast forward to today and you will find that some bedroom and dorm room manufacturers are producing highly durable, secure furniture that comes in aesthetically pleasing designs and colors, helping humanize the facility types previously mentioned.

But not all bedroom and dorm room furniture is made alike. What is appropriate for one environment may produce challenges and safety hazards in other spaces that could lead to injury or the breakdown of the product shortly after the furniture is installed.

A mammoth factor in this scenario is material – in other words, what the furniture is made of. Below, we outline three material types and list the pros of each and which is appropriate for what type of constant-use facility.


Nothing says “home” like wood. Wood is pretty. Wood is probably what your childhood bed was made of. In short, wood is residential. And when properly manufactured, wood is extremely strong and can stand up to constant use.

For example, the Norix Furniture Safehouse Series – which includes beds, chests, wardrobes, chairs and more – is made of ¾” plywood with natural hardwood veneer and impact resistant PVC edge banding securely doweled and glued at strategic locations. Beds come with optional headboards for an additional residential touch, while wardrobes come with sloped tops for safety. Additionally, all products in this series are produced with rounded edges to keep users from harm.

Products also come in cherry or oak, and look like the kind of furniture you would find in a home, but sturdy enough (it was tested to hold a 750-pound static load) to stand up to environments such as behavioral healthcare facilities and educational spaces.

Rotomolded Polymer

When you think of durable bedroom and dorm furniture, the last material you probably think of is polymer (plastic). But, again, when properly manufactured and specifically produced for constant use facilities, this material can be highly durable and extremely safe for challenging environments.

Norix Furniture’s Attenda Series is one such product. This complete line of rotationally molded furniture is rotomolded (constructed in one-piece) in specially formulated, high-impact, fire-retardant polyethylene in a sleek and contemporary design. The fact that it is rotomolded also means it is seamless, making it easy to clean, and bed bug and impact-resistant since the surface is smooth and there are no moving or removable parts.

The series offers beds, chests, nightstands, stools, wardrobes, desks and storage units. And to make your behavioral healthcare or correctional facility seem even more residential in nature, Norix also offers an optional wall-mount, wood-grained headboard that is made with institutional durability.

Click here to learn about the other advantages of rotationally molded furniture.


No material says “strength and durability” like steel. But historically, steel furniture has been produced with institutional designs and colors, giving facilities little sense of home.

Additionally, steel furniture bought from department stores isn’t produced for demanding environments such as shelters, military bases, campgrounds and educational sleeping quarters. In fact, these products tend to break down under constant use, creating distress and financial hardships at the facilities that purchased them.

So, if you do want steel for your facility, do your research and choose wisely. One product that is manufactured for extreme durability is Norix Furniture’s Titan Series. This complete line of steel case goods combines functional versatility with the institutional durability of all-steel construction. It includes single beds, bunk beds, wardrobes, desks, TV stands, nightstands and other products – all of which are made of high impact, welded steel for maximum security.

Military bases, shelters and educational facilities have praised Titan not only for the extreme durability of the steel, but also for the high density laminate headboards, and the laminate accents that adorn table tops, beds and chest doors and make this steel product seem a little more like home.


The big question to ask yourself – as we have pointed out in previous blog posts – is “what is the biggest challenge in my facility?” If you need to create a completely residential look but need safety and durability, then wood is probably your best bet.

However, if you are looking for furniture that can take the greatest amount of pounding – day in and day out – then look for steel products that are welded and made with high grade steel. To make your steel less institutional in nature, look for a furniture series with rounded edges that come with laminate accents that hold up to intensive use.

And last but not least, if safety, security, bed bug resistance and infection control are your goals, then you want to look for furniture that is made of rotationally molded furniture with smooth surfaces for cleanability and rounded edges for safety. Also, since these products are technically made of plastic, ask the manufacturer what testing standards the products passed and what kind of internal testing has been conducted to ensure the product’s durability.