A commercial space, by its very nature, necessitates a slightly different approach to a domestic space when it comes to interior design. After all, the primary goal of any commercial space is to facilitate easy and accessible operations, but it must do so while considering everything from the wellbeing of employees and customers to the “culture” and brand of the enterprise at its heart. 

If you’re currently looking to develop the interior of your own commercial space, here we’ll be taking you through the basics of how it differs from domestic design and how you could make the most of those differences.

What is commercial interior design? 

Unlike residential design, which focuses primarily on living spaces, commercial design needs to be more functional than comfortable. We’re not saying it can’t be comfortable, of course, but function over fashion every time, at least when you’re dealing with an office space. Retail spaces and restaurants, meanwhile, need to find that perfect balance between useability and aesthetics.

Commercial design also must consider more than just personal preference. You need to consider everyone, which is why so many commercial spaces tend to lean towards more generic and less imaginative designs. The type of commercial space will also have an impact on your design, with retail and restaurant spaces requiring better lighting and kitchen/backroom space and office spaces requiring that space be set aside for meeting rooms and other collaborative spaces.

What to consider when designing a commercial space

Functionality: The primary purpose of the space must be front and centre. For example, an IT office may prioritise open spaces and meeting rooms, while a store might emphasise display areas.

Spatial Requirements: Depending on the nature of the business, you may need to allocate spaces for meetings, brainstorming sessions, and relaxation areas.

Colour Selection: Colours can influence mood. For instance, blue can foster concentration, while green can be calming. Choosing the right hues can have a tangible impact on productivity.

Facilities: The comfort of employees and customers is paramount. This involves providing washrooms with toilets that are distinct from the main workspace.

Top Tips

Collaborative spaces: Collaborative spaces, such as meeting rooms, brainstorming areas, and informal seating arenas, are the kind of spaces that spur on creativity and inspire teamwork. They should be flexible enough to be anything to anyone, with a mixture of formal and informal areas and modern technology, such as touchscreens.

Lighting: In commercial settings, lighting plays a dual role: aesthetics and functionality. Where possible, prioritise natural light by installing large windows and skylights, or going for a more open layout. You can also use mirrors to make the most of your natural light. If the space requires artificial lighting, meanwhile, always go for more energy-efficient LED lights.

Private areas: In today’s open-office culture, private areas have become a luxury but they’re essential for solo work or confidential discussions. Try to designate “quiet zones” where employees can go to chill out and decompress.


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