By Megan Thompson, Principal & Founder, Spark Interiors LLC
What we see and how we feel when we walk into a business triggers an emotional response. More importantly, this response leaves a lasting impression of your brand. Feeling delighted or relaxed may make a loyal shopper or long-term employee. Feeling disconnected or uncomfortable may turn someone to the nearest competitor.
Choosing the right look for your commercial space is critical for creating a positive impression. There’s no shortage of ideas and inspiration, but commercial interior design is more than picking out attractive finishes. Interior designers consider layout, materials, building requirements, and sustainability to bring you the best space for your business.
Here’s everything you need to know about working with a commercial interior designer.
What is interior design?
Interior design combines comfort, function, and beauty to create spaces that support our needs and goals.
Designers balance art and science by choosing the right layout, lighting, furnishings, and finishes. A designer can highlight the unique architecture and purpose of your space. The right design can help your employees love where they work and can improve their mental health. It will also help your customers enjoy their experience working with you!
What is commercial interior design?
Commercial interior design focuses on designing for businesses or public spaces. This might bring to mind a waiting room filled with seascapes and muted colors, but it can be so much more.
Commercial interior design includes offices, restaurants, hotels, shops, banks, and any other indoor public space. Even schools, libraries, and hospitals benefit from commercial interior design. Each space meets important needs of the community.
What’s the difference between commercial interior design and residential interior design?
Residential design is for homes and commercial interior design is for businesses.
Residential interior design supports how we live. Commercial interior design supports how we work, shop, learn, or socialize. Both sectors put the needs and safety of people first, but commercial interior design focuses on employees, tenants, and customers.
What does a commercial interior designer do?
The goal of a commercial interior designer is to design a space that helps a business evoke a feeling for its customers and employees while supporting a desired outcome. Commercial interior design firms can maximize the larger spaces often used by businesses. They focus on function while incorporating your brand and culture.
Picture walking into a smaller, more affordable, chain hotel lobby. Often, the ceilings are low, the plants are fake, and the lighting is bad. Compare that to walking into a hotel like Hotel Wailea in Maui. A grand entrance inspires awe and wonder. The lobby isn’t just for checking guests in, it’s for exciting guests and creating a memorable first impression.
Commercial Interior Designers Evoke Emotion and Inspire Outcomes By:
Creating project floor plans and blueprints
Interior designers partner with business owners, and architects, to draw up their goals and visions. They consider the current and future client goals to create a layout that fits within the space.
This process lets them create a specific aesthetic while considering function and safety. The plans help everyone involved visualize the finished product.
Recommending partners and contractors
Depending on the project, your interior designer will sometimes assist with recommending contractors. It’s smart to leverage your commercial interior designer’s network. They likely have contractors they trust to do a great job. This saves time searching for reliable electricians, plumbers, painters, and other contractors. A strong partnership between your designers and contractors will ensure design needs are met and everything is up to code.
Lending industry expertise
Interior designers have a wide array of industry knowledge from textiles to space planning. They’ll keep track of the difficult details so you don’t have to. Most commercial interior designers are up to date on the building codes of your city or state. They understand the latest in technology, construction, and trends to give you the best result.
Phases of Commercial Interior Design
The standard commercial real estate interior design process has several stages to reach the finished space.
- Programming Phase: Information gathering phase to define scope and schedule. Stakeholders provide information on their vision for the space. Initial concepts are developed and needs are discovered. Review of client and end-user needs within the scope of the project. Review of current space, final goals, budget, and code requirements.
- Conceptual Narrative: Mood boards, color stories, and space planning are shown so clients know the direction the design will be headed, feedback is encouraged since concept/mood is our visual road map.
- Schematic Design Phase: Preliminary plans, layouts, and materials are decided. Recommendations are sent to the client for approval.
- Design Development Phase: Your commercial interior designer will select every single finish material, fixture, piece of equipment, wall finishes, etc. This is where we actually pick out the items the client will eventually purchase. Once the client approves these, we create specifications for every single item and that accompanies the construction documentents.
- Pricing: The designer or contractor will gain quotes and estimates to complete their estimate for the project. Client approval at this phase is necessary to ensure the level of investment is what the client is expecting.
- Revisions: Changes are made based on any budgetary considerations or design desires.
- Final Design Approval: Client makes final changes and approves details of the design.
- Construction Administration Phase: Designer, contractor, or both, coordinate tasks and schedules for a quality completion.
- Punch List Walkthrough: Designer ensures everything is done to client satisfaction before the key is turned over and the project is closed.
The commercial interior design process can take 12 weeks to 18+ months, sometimes longer depending on the scope of the project. Remodeling a small office might be done quickly while renovating a trendy restaurant could take several months.
How Commercial Interior Design Improves Public Spaces
Studies of human psychology show how our environment impacts our thoughts and feelings. The interior of your business impacts how customers and employees work, learn, or perform day-to-day tasks.
Great commercial interior design increases employee engagement
A well-designed office will help employees feel valued and engaged with the company. Proper lighting, comfortable furniture, and accessible meeting spaces improve employee retention and performance. Creating spaces where employees can connect encourages innovation and problem-solving. This can lead to greater profitability. Shared work areas or positioning certain departments near each other can encourage collaboration.
Supporting employee well-being is good for productivity and the reputation of the company. Attractive amenities like technology, natural light, and outdoor spaces are also a great way to attract talent.
Creates cohesive spaces
To create a cohesive space, all aspects of the room need to be part of the design including safety features. You may not notice smoke detectors and ventilation systems in your favorite Denver restaurant, but they are there.
Designers account for code requirements and issues like noise during the planning phase. They’re reviewed along with lighting, seating, and color. Each feature can complement the design or create a distraction if not planned well.
The atmosphere you design for your business helps attract your ideal customer. Having an eye-catching interior can mean a lot of free marketing if your space is Instagram-worthy. Wall scouting is a popular trend where Instagram users travel to pose in front of a specific backdrop. A striking mural can spread the word about your business from these posts with your tagged location.
Benefits of Hiring a Commercial Interior Designer
Besides a stunning finished space, there are many benefits of working with an interior designer.
Designers are an advocate for your business
Most commercial interior designers have an expansive network of trustworthy connections. They’ll share preferred contacts leading to a seamless project. Their access to products and contractors may be exclusive and can take your space to the next level. Their industry knowledge and vision for your space will make them valuable advocates. You’ll be grateful to have someone help you problem-solve when issues inevitably come up.
Trust us, sooner or later, something will come up.
Interior designers are experts on space and trends
Commercial interior designers will maximize your space to meet your goals. They’re up to date on demographics and industry trends that may affect the design. A designer for commercial office space may suggest modular furniture for hybrid work environments. This gives the client flexibility to meet the needs of the changing work environment.
Skilled commercial designers know how to embrace architecture and the environment. An interior designer in Denver may consider large windows to highlight the Rockies. They’ll know when to showcase features and what can make your space feel outdated.
A well-planned interior has a lower environmental Impact
With so many decisions it can be easy to overlook your impact on the environment. This is an important consideration as buildings emit 40% of all carbon emissions. To reduce this impact, commercial designers can incorporate sustainable technology into the design.
During the planning phase, the embodied energy of a project should be considered. This is the total energy used during the design process. It includes the production, manufacturing, and transportation of all materials. A skilled designer can help find materials with the lowest environmental impact.
How to Get Started Working With a Commercial Interior Designer
Designers for commercial spaces can create the ambiance you need to inspire your customers and employees. They’ll translate your ideas into designs that help you reach your business goals.
Spark Interiors specializes in residential and commercial interior design in Denver and Summit county. We combine style with purpose to reflect your brand and support day-to-day activities.
ABOUT SPARK INTERIORS
Residential or commercial, at Spark Interiors we specialize in modern, full-service, eco-conscious remodels and renovations. We are a Denver-based interior design firm serving clients from the Metro Area to the Vail Valley, and everywhere in between.
We offer our clients a white-glove experience where we take care of everything. This includes designing the new space, coordinating purchasing of all materials and fixtures, construction oversight, and final installations – because we know that you have a busy lifestyle and trust us to manage the details.
Schedule a call with Spark Interiors for a custom quote on your commercial interior project.