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Commercial Interior Design: A Quick Overview for 2023

The interior design industry is booming. Experts estimate the total value of the design industry in the US to be over $40.7 billion. Commercial interior design is a vital part of the industry. People continue to shift to remote and hybrid work patterns. This shift makes effective interior design even more important.

What Is Commercial Interior Design?

Commercial interior design means creating attractive and useful spaces. These might be 

apartment buildings, restaurants, airports, or industrial projects.

Commercial interior design differs from residential design. That is because it considers both visitors and employees. It must blend form and function.

Designers work closely with the building team. Their cooperation ensures a successful outcome for everyone who will use the building.

What Is the Purpose of Commercial Interior Design?

Any good commercial interior designer will always look first to the functionality of the space they are trying to create, but it is also crucial to combine this with eye-catching aesthetic design that brings out the character of the business. When designing a commercial space, you will want to look at how different aspects such as lighting, furnishings, various architectural details, etc. combine to create an overall ambience that reflects the nature of the commercial enterprise. For example, a commercial office space may be designed in a way that illustrates the kind of products the company is trying to sell, or a restaurant may reflect the country where most of the cuisine on the menu originates from, creating a cozy and relaxed vibe for the diners. Creativity should never be at the expense of functionality as the most important thing is always that the commercial space can best be used for its intended purpose.

How Does Commercial Interior Design Transform Business Outcomes?

Commercial interior designers have to consider how every stage of the design process will keep clients happy, which will lead to loyal customers and increased sales. Here are some considerations about how you can make your interior space a place of well being.

Business Productivity

When planning the structure of your commercial space, an important consideration is how the projects you are working on will be best carried out in terms of layout and how this will affect the different teams who may work together. All businesses need to be productive, and the best way to ensure this happens is to enable the decision-making process to be as smooth as possible. Professionals working together need the layout of a commercial space to aid this process.


A commercial space can create a certain feel or ambience that you want to reflect your business or space. For instance community clubhouses want to create a community feel that attracts renters and homeowners. Having a welcome and open space allows people to interact and utilize the amenities that are offered. The design style of your commercial space will allow community culture to thrive if done correctly.

Employee & Consumer Well-Being

The well-being of employees is very important as this will increase productivity naturally. There is plenty you can do in order to improve the existing conditions and create a pleasant working environment. For example, natural light and comfortable furniture go a long way, and it is a good idea to have plants dotted around the space in order to give a more homey and relaxing feel. Basically, you are looking to help your employees and customers feel calm and comfortable in your space.

Collaboration and Innovation

Current design trends in a post-lockdown world are perhaps taking into account the fact that home working is becoming more of a reality. However, it is still crucial that the design elements of your space planning enable people to work most effectively together and have a relaxing space in which to come up with exciting new ideas.

Safety and Security

Interior design technology must also incorporate important safety elements, such as sensors for smoke or leaks, and can incorporate tracking so that you can see where people are should there be a fire. Every new space should make safety and security a priority in order to bring everyone peace of mind. In addition to this your commercial interior designer should account for exit accessibility as well as ADA compliance.

7 Rules for Successful Commercial Interior Design

1. Keeping Structures Versatile

A key consideration in commercial design is to ensure that you can make changes should you need to. You may need to change the location of different elements within the space in the future, and you do not want this to be a lengthy and complicated process. Your business should still be able to operate while any necessary changes are taking place. You may also want to add features down the line, so make sure not all the space is taken up.

2. Consider Technology Implementation

During the design process, make sure you have a tech-savvy member of the team at hand, because this is one of the most vital parts of planning. Whatever business you are running, it is likely that technology will play a huge role in sales, communication, and admin. You may need to think about computer networks, television screens, and telephones and how they will all link seamlessly together as part of the commercial space. Consider this right from the beginning, and it will not cause any headaches later on.

3. Keep Aesthetics Upgraded

It can be all too easy for commercial interior designers to focus on functionality and overlook the aesthetic design of a space. The fact is that a bland and boring interior will be uninspiring for employees and clients alike. You do not have to go overboard with the visual element, but there are plenty of small touches that will lead to a much more pleasant environment. Choosing the right colors or materials goes a very long way, and images relevant to the industry you are working in can be strategically placed to create the right atmosphere.

4. Provide Personalized Spaces

Where possible. you should aim to cater for some of the different preferences your clients may have. For example, some may prefer a degree of privacy when eating in a restaurant, but others will like an open table surrounded by other diners. Clubhouses should cater for everyone as well, from adults that want a workspace to children that need to be entertained with different activities and amenities. Disabled access is another thing that should never be overlooked. The most important thing is that the space is welcoming for all and does not feel exclusive to any particular group of people.

5. Always Ensure Safety

Safety is something that should never be compromised in the design process because negligence of it can lead to huge financial implications or even legal implications in the worst-case scenario. Always keep safety in mind during the design of your commercial space as it is imperative that you keep the safety of both employees and clients at the forefront of your concerns.

6. Use Textures and Surface Coverings

Using the right colors, textures, and surface coverings will help to display your brand, add to the overall ambience, and play a very significant role in the aesthetics of the space. Modern digital technology will allow you to experiment with these before choosing the ones that will fit best with the overall design.

7. Focus on Accessibility

As previously mentioned, it is very important to consider accessibility needs and ADA codes within the design of your space. This can include things like accessible bathrooms, wheelchair and pushchair ramps, and handrails. Neglecting this important part of the design process can lead to complaints against your business, which can be harmful.

Key Stages of the Commercial Interior Design Process

To draw things to a close, here are some of the most important stages of the design process that you will need to consider.

Phase #1: Pre-design

The very first step in the process is research. At this point you will be gathering information from the client about how they will need the space to work for both themselves and the customers. It is also important to consider how the overall design will showcase the company's branding. You need to find all of this out before you even begin designing as it will form the core of your ideas.

Phase #2: Programming

Once you have gathered the initial information it is time to look at how the project will pan out. The key considerations for this are:

  • Budget – how much is the client willing to spend, and what can you create with this amount?
  • Current conditions – what is the space like at the moment, and will anything get in the way of what you are trying to achieve?
  • Needs – are the client’s needs likely to change in the future, and how will you allow for necessary alterations to be made easily? Also, what degree of maintenance will be needed for your design, and how will this happen?
  • Timescale – how long is the project expected to take?

Phase #3: Schematics

When you have all the information you need, it is time to create both 2D and 3D mock-ups of your design. This can be done digitally nowadays using professional interior design and rendering software which allows the client to see what the space will look like when it is complete, giving any feedback they deem to be necessary.

Phase #4: Presentation

With the use of digital technology, you can present your ideas to the client; and as long as their requested tweaks are not too complex, you may even be able to make alterations there and then so everyone is happy when the presentation is complete.

Phase #5: Construction

Of course, when the design is complete, the construction process will begin. Although the designer is not usually involved directly, they may still need to be on hand to ensure everything matches the design when complete.

Phase #6: Post-Construction

Upon construction being finished, the designer and client will walk through the space and ensure that the finished product matches the design. They can decide between them if any final alterations are required, and at this point, the entire process is complete!