We often hear from our commercial or corporate clients that they are seeking an interior with a fresh look — “Something different!” they say, “Not your typical office.” While this is undoubtedly the appeal heard from many a business owner these days, few clients know exactly what they are looking for when they toss out descriptions such as ‘sleek,’ ‘exciting’ or ‘different.’
In a lagging and thus ultra-competitive economy, any and every step that can be taken to place oneself ahead of the competition is considered. Up-to-date interior design that is stunning and memorable can be just as great a competitive edge as professional marketing and good business practices.
Like branding, decor acts as the visual embodiment of a company’s personality and quality, and indirectly, its success. An invigorating professionally-designed space legitimizes a company, causes employees and visitors to feel comfortable, and inspires a sense of confidence in the superiority of the business and its services.
Most importantly, the design of a commercial space should reflect the company’s values, lifestyle, and individuality. As a place where people spend time, conduct business and showcase themselves daily, the furnished workplace deserves a significant share of attention. Unlike homes and residential spaces that are typically highly individualistic, commercial spaces too often receive minimal effort. Furnishing may consist of overly simple contract furniture and bland dividing walls, thrown together with little consideration. In reality, a thoughtfully-designed office space is as important to its users’ well-being (and the business’ professional image) as any home, and as such, it deserves the same ingenuity and personalized creativity that accompanies residential design.
To lay the foundations for personalized thinking and a space that diverges from “average” decor, business owners should think closely about the negative aspects of typical commercial design that they see so often and find boring, overused or uninspiring. Examining each aspect individually — from lighting to color to wall shape — and brainstorming examples of positive modifications will help business owners break out of the mould of typical design thinking and build a list of new ideas.
A family doctor recently commented to us that medical offices are often depressing and sterile. Upon deeper thought, he expounded that in the typical spaces he sees, walls are uninspiring, decor is dated, and plain lighting makes the interior look stark. By addressing each concern individually and approaching commercial design as one would a personalized home, the creativity starts to flow. In the course of the design process, potentially plain walls became bold accents of color, and simple lighting became varied with new sources such as sconces and pendants. Additional decorative flair and unique accents (a designer can provide lots of ideas) were drawn from personal interests and the character of the company, rather than defaulting to irrelevant decor that is boring and uninspired.
Adding creative detail to every element of the design from the very beginning of the process will ensure that users’ attention is captured and kept. With a space that reflects an excited design taste rather than a resigned one, the experience of the workplace will be memorable for visitors and invigorating for employees.