Written by: Chelsey Finnegan | Brand & Marketing Specialist

When I started working at General Office Products back in 2019, I had ZERO experience in the contract interiors industry. I came from the advertising world and my only sense of “design” was how to make my excel sheets look fancy. As I began my role in Marketing at GOP I began, slowly but surely, to pick up on furniture and design terminology. I had a notebook packed full of terms that I would hear throughout the day that I would then look up the definitions for. However, there was one in particular that I could not for the life of me figure out… ancillary.

On one specific day, I had heard the word used at least five times within just a few hours. It was like it suddenly popped out of nowhere and I had to figure out what it meant. I turned to Merriam-Webster and the definitions that I found were:

  1. : Subordinate, Subsidiary
  2. : Auxiliary, Supplementary

As I kept reading those four words over and over, my response was a lifted eyebrow and a muffled, “what?”. I turned to a coworker to ask for her help in explaining it. She smiled at me and took time to not only try to explain ancillary, but to show me. I learned that ancillary isn’t one specific piece of furniture, but rather “a range of products that furnish an organization’s less-formal settings and support a range of postures” (as described by Coalesse). For those of you, like me, who didn’t or maybe still don’t completely understand… here is some more info to help.

Ancillary settings help provide employees and guests with spaces that are both physically comfortable and emotionally engaging. They tend to include a mix of lounge furniture, accent pieces, benches, side tables, and more to make the space functional and aesthetically pleasing. Ancillary areas are especially important now as many companies have given their employees the option to choose where they work. By offering thoughtfully designed ancillary spaces that are especially comfortable and have a residential touch or “out of office” vibe, employees may be more likely to consider working at the office. Providing these spaces for your employees to recharge and relax a little will be a key element in drawing them back into the office.

I don’t know about you, but I get antsy pretty easily and cannot sit at a desk for the entire day. My personal favorite “escape” from my desk has been our gorgeous ancillary space that we call the Central Lounge. The Bolia Pebble Sofa is the perfect comfy spot for me to lounge and skim through emails (plus side… it’s PINK!), while the Coalesse Potrero Table allows me to walk right up to it when I run into a coworker and need to show them something on my laptop screen. In my opinion, this space is the definition of an ancillary space. It allows for collaboration and focus, it is flexible, feels “homey”, and serves a purpose while looking dang good!

GOP Showroom Central Lounge

So, I learned ancillary really isn’t as complicated or as intimidating as it originally seemed. In fact, I realized that ancillary spaces are the ones that I love most in the projects that we work on and that these spaces can be so transformative in an office setting. If you’re looking for some inspiration and want to see a few of the Steelcase ancillary brands we represent, we created an Ancillary Collection Guide for you to enjoy!   VIEW ANCILLARY GUIDE

Our GOP ancillary approach includes thoughtfully curated applications that blend design, materiality and performance through a simplified ordering and execution process. Let’s discuss how we can elevate your space with ancillary solutions!

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CHELSEY FINNEGAN | Brand & Marketing Specialist

Full-time dog mom, part-time scuba diving, brewery hopping, paddleboarding, yoga sculpt instructor. Let’s connect!


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