How to design commercial office space

Office design in the 21st century is not just about ergonomics, as it was a couple of decades ago. A well-designed office shows customers the concept of the entire company. The interior should sell products before the potential customer sees them. A cozy and beautiful office makes jobseekers want to work in that firm, which means the design solves the issue of hiring employees.

Global corporations often allow employees to work freelance hours. Including at night. And everything in the office should be arranged so that a person would feel comfortable to be in it as at home.

Taking care of employees’ health, large companies equip gyms near their offices.

Ergonomics of the workplace is aimed at productivity and, consequently, at the development of the company as a whole. Thus, the office today solves many problems and the design project should take into account each of them.

The main differences in the design of office and living space

It is important for the designer to understand that working on a commercial project is different from the process of designing a house or apartment.

  1. Office renovation has a clear deadline. Any delay means unnecessary costs. Therefore, the work of design is regulated and threatened by large fines in case of schedule violations. In the design of private homes, there are no such boundaries.
  2. Work on the interior of a commercial facility begins most often without a contract. This is due to the peculiarities of the coordination of all processes related to the legal side of the issue. The contract is signed about a month after the customer has confirmed his agreement to work with the designer. In order not to lose time, the performer begins work on the basis of a letter of guarantee.
  3. Unlike private clients, corporations have virtually no emotional component when making decisions.
  4. Office design in general has a clear structure. Work on a commercial project is faster if it is broken down into tasks and parallelized processes.
  5. When working on an office, the designer has fewer meetings with decision makers than with private clients. But he is obliged to get these meetings, not to solve serious questions through intermediaries.
  6. If a designer makes mistakes in a commercial project, it will affect his reputation. For several years, he will not be able to participate in tenders.
  7. For a residential project, money can be received more quickly. Companies can pay only 3 months after the project is delivered.
  8. Commercial objects for the designer are more profitable than residential.
  9. Realized office interiors are easier to place in the portfolio because they are not private.

Layout: defining zones

Developing an office plan, the designer takes into account the interests of the company executives, all employees and clients, whose reception will take place in this building. It is necessary to maintain the general style, but keep in mind the tasks that each zone solves.


The reception introduces clients, partners who come to negotiate, and potential employees to the company. Everyone who is unfamiliar with the company makes the first impression by this area. Therefore, the design should evoke only positive emotions.

The interior of the reception reflects the corporate style. For the receptionist, a counter is set up that is convenient for the employee and guests. This is the main object, and it is often made to order.

It is necessary to create a corner where guests will spend their waiting time in comfort. It is better not to use partitions designed for the working area, and replace them with live plants in tubs.

Conference room and meeting room

The meeting room differs from other office spaces with its strict design. Minimal decor – all the attention of visitors should be focused on the issues at hand. The area of the conference room is calculated on the maximum number of participants of large meetings.

The central object in the interior of the hall is a massive negotiation table. For safety reasons and from a psychological point of view, it is better to have a round table. This also applies to furniture for the meeting room. At a round table, there are no dominant faces, everyone speaks as equals.

Office of the head

The interior should distinguish the head of the company, but it is important not to overdo it. It is unethical to put leather sofas for millions in the office and cover the floor with expensive carpets, when all the other rooms are equipped with chipboard furniture and sustained in a minimalistic style.

The design of the executive space should be quite austere. Business processes allow company heads to receive clients in their own office, but not at their desks. In this room, there should be a corner for receiving guests. Zones can be divided by mobile partitions, screens, furniture.

It is appropriate to hang award sheets on the walls, set aside a corner for the appropriate items.

Do not forget about personal space. Ideally, if the office provides an enclosed area for rest, where you can place more decor than in the rest of the room.

Recreation room, relaxation area, gym

Most often, employees of companies rest in the kitchen, where they can talk about personal matters over a cup of tea or lunch. Here the interior design should provide storage areas, installed appliances. A refrigerator, microwave, coffee maker, kettle – the bare minimum. Tables, sofas and chairs are installed.

The main principle in the planning of areas: relaxation is both a change of place and a change of activity.

In the offices of large corporations, in addition to the kitchen is allocated space for relaxation areas and / or gyms. The relaxation room can only partially match the overall style of the office. The decoration, furniture, sound and light are all aimed at allowing the employee to forget about the work processes for a while and switch their minds to a different direction.

A sports hall is equipped according to the area allocated for it. A running track is installed, a place for exercises with free weights is determined. Often a separate room is arranged for yoga classes. If such rooms are provided by the project, one should not forget about the rooms where employees can change their clothes and take a shower.

Working place

In the working areas all the principles of ergonomics are used: safety, functionality, aesthetics, health care.

Most often, offices are planned according to the principle of open space, but even with such an arrangement, each employee has the right to a personal area when no one disturbs anyone. Places are divided by mobile partitions with soundproofing. You can separate the desk of each employee or divide the room into microzones of 4-5 jobs. It should not be allowed to feel that the room is cramped.

Desks are organized so that the surface looks neat and there is no sense of clutter. The task is solved with the help of thought-out organizers on the desktop, drawers for storing personal belongings. It is important to understand what office equipment each employee needs, and to consider its location.

The world factories that produce office furniture for several years offer a collection of mobile models and furniture-transformers. Firstly, pay attention to desks, the height of which can be changed without taking away from the work process. The employee can change body position, work standing or sitting, which has a positive effect on health and improves performance.

Choosing the type of layout

Having understood the business processes of the company, having defined the zones, it is possible to discuss the type of the layout.

Open space

In favor of open spaces, managers are often in favor of economic considerations. After all, according to the norms for each room should be installed its own engineering systems.

Leaving the space completely without partitions is not recommended. Many people find it psychologically difficult to work, knowing that there is someone behind. And if there are constantly more than four people in front of their eyes, it also has a negative effect on productivity.

In open space are organized so-called cubicles – individual partitioned zones. The choice of partitioning material comes from the budget of the project. But it is preferable to take screens with a sound-absorbing effect. Especially if the office is set up for call centers.

The work zone has a minimum of decor. Elements reminiscent of corporate style are acceptable. It is possible to include in the interior design live plants without fragrance, not blooming.

Cabinet type of office

Rooms are provided for different departments of the company. This type of layout favorably affects the performance of employees, causing a more trusting relationship. With the cabinet type, it is necessary to carefully think through the routes of communication between departments.

Despite the division of office space by walls, the unified style in the design of all rooms is preserved.

Mixed layout

Large workspaces are combined with offices. But the rooms may not be separated by a solid wall. The boundary can be set with the help of glass partitions.

The Japanese variant

Japan has a strict hierarchy, including in interior design. The workplace of the head is placed in the center of the office. The company’s chief executives sit facing the employees. Partitions are not allowed and as such there is no personal space.

The classic Japanese type is not common in Russia, but is acceptable in the design of commercial offices for a number of areas.

Selection of furniture for workspaces


The best desk models are those with adjustable height. The tabletop area should be large enough to accommodate a monitor, papers, office supplies, and a landline phone. Office equipment is not placed on the desk. More often set up a remote connection to the printer and other office equipment. But the path to it should not take much time.

If customized equipment is required, it is placed on shelves, freestanding tables, but not on the work surface.

Modern desk design provides cable channels in which you can hide wires.

Furniture for sitting

Work in the office assumes that a person spends more time at the computer, a lot of sitting. It is important not to skimp on quality office chair models. The chair should have a high back, equipped with a headrest and armrests. The base on five wheels provides mobility of the chair, which will allow you to change the position of the body during the day. The castors themselves are ideally rubberized. Such chairs move almost silently.

According to European standards, the seat is at a height of 70-75 cm. But everyone’s physiology is different, so it is worth paying attention to models with adjustable seat height and back tilt angle.

Storage systems

Each workstation is provided with a drawer for storing office supplies, documents and personal belongings. If the furniture is often planned to move, consider rolling models. Looks neat in the interior design of side tables.

Stationery that is generally accessible is better stored in a separate room or in a cabinet. Stored on open racks of pens, stacks of paper, notebooks look messy.

Racks with through shelves will help to zone the space and serve as a place to store books.

Do not forget about the placement of outdoor clothing and shoes. It is undesirable to use open hangers – they create visual chaos in the interior. It is better if employees hang jackets and coats in a closed closet. Often in the design of commercial spaces, forget about places to store outdoor shoes. It is ideal to think about where boots and boots and replacement shoes can be stored. At the same time, do not forget about the slushy weather and provide easy-to-clean containers.

Office design should not be left without decor. Commercial space is decorated in accordance with the kind of activity of the company

Decor in the interior of the office

In firms where there are a lot of creative positions, there is more decor. But the elements do not distract from the work. Each detail performs its function.

A firm that sells air conditioners or is engaged in financial operations is more likely to choose a strict style. Visual clutter will not be tolerated here. But even in a stylistically austere interior, you can’t do without accessories. Ideally, the design of decorative elements is subordinate to the corporate style of the company.

There are a number of objects that are appropriate in any office. The appearance depends on the general style of the premises:

  • Clocks;
  • Flip charts, magnetic marker boards for notes;
  • Motivational posters;
  • Diplomas and awards;
  • Books corresponding to the company’s activities;
  • Live plants, panels of stabilized moss.


Natural light is the most comfortable for the human eye. Placement of workstations should be designed so that on a clear day there is no need to turn on additional lighting.

Employees should not be seated with their backs to the window. The gaze will constantly fall on the dark corner, which will soon reduce vision.

The light from the lamps should not be dim. For offices, choose lamps with a neutral or white light. Warm lighting promotes relaxation and reduces performance. For the workplace of employees who work with papers, it is worth providing compact lamps on a clip or clothespin. Lamps with directional light will not distract others.

Many modern companies have switched from general overhead lighting to spot lighting for each workstation.

The design of relaxation areas includes soft, warm light with the ability to adjust a comfortable level of brightness.


Renovations in offices are carried out less frequently than in residential areas. The finishing should be durable, non-marking and easy to clean. For ceilings, walls, floor it is necessary to choose materials with sound-absorbing properties. Particular care should be taken about soundproofing in the gym, meeting rooms.

Metal, concrete, marble and ceramic tiles reflect sound and do a poor job of sound absorption.

Glass partitions instead of walls help to visually increase the space and avoid the feeling of a maze. If the budget allows, install walls made of smart glass, the transparency of which can be adjusted.

If the interior design allows for homely comfort, you can include more textiles. For example, hang light curtains on the windows instead of blinds. But it should be considered to what extent the company can afford the timely cleaning of such curtains.

Color in the interior of commercial premises

For the office, a neutral basic palette is often chosen. But the interior in a solid pastel palette looks boring and leads to despondency. Accents can be placed with the help of corporate colors, and pay attention to the colorful decor. Intense shades of blue, lemon, turquoise and green enhance performance.

Strict interior design is well-supported by the beige and chocolate palette. In such a range is easy to fit the furniture made of natural materials. Shades of gray are harmoniously diluted with orange, lilac or blue.

Take into account what side of the building the windows face. If on the north side, take as the basis warm colors. For the south side, it is better to take a cold palette.

Ergonomics in office design

The main task of a commercial space project is to increase the efficiency of employees. In addition to properly selected furniture, lighting, the designer can lay down other parameters that affect productivity.

  • Study the business processes during the collection of the ToR. By understanding the internal structure of the company, you can create an interior that is comfortable for each employee.
  • Take into account the interaction between departments. Build the layout based on how people communicate with each other on work issues. Do not allow long distances between closely interacting structures.
  • Keep in mind that in the summer, it is hot for those who sit by south-facing windows. 80% of people complain about drafts if the air movement in the room is higher than 1 m/sec. Consider the ventilation system, types of air conditioners, and other technical features that affect thermal comfort.
  • Find out how comfortable the chosen type of layout is for the employees. Managers are more likely to choose open space, while not always most team members want to work in a large open space. Studies show that people are more comfortable if they have a wall behind them. And in the field of vision enters no more than 4-5 people (these tasks are solved by seating at an angle in relation to each other and the placement of mobile partitions).
  • The way to the HR department should be in such a way that a jobseeker sees the best moments of the company. This way, the company will psychologically arrange the applicant to join the team beforehand.


The style of the office reflects the essence of the company. Ideally, if the interior design continues logically corporate style, provided that it has established itself in the market and the firm does not plan to rebrand.


Strict design, not suffering experiments. Expensive furniture made of natural materials. The style is more suitable for a cabinet type of layout. Choose classical style for respectable companies with long tradition in business.

Modern, Art Deco

A freer version of the classic style. Lots of lines taken from nature. Allows you to include in the interior luxurious, sometimes pompous elements – wood carvings, stained-glass. The main thing is that the decor should not distract from the work.

New York, American style

The best design option for open space, which, in principle, came from the United States. There are no superfluous details, the walls are mainly made of glass. The furniture can be inexpensive, a lot of shelving, low partitions are allowed.


Strict, minimalist and light. Furnishings made of natural materials. Respects personal space of everyone. Reflects steadiness and solidity of the company.


Unusual, experimental look of the interior, strict lines, absence of decor and maintaining order. But the main materials of this style are metal and glass, which doesn’t solve the problem with soundproofing. Suitable for small offices and office type of layout.


Futuristic design is ideal for commercial IT-space. Reflects desire to develop digital technologies, desire to solve non-standard tasks.


Great for offices, located in buildings of former factories and plants. Brick walls, open communications, high ceilings themselves dictate how to decorate the office interior. The loft is ideal for creative spaces. It is not easy to combine it with a strict corporate style.


Only functional furniture, no superfluous, impractical elements. Minimalism is combined with the principles of ergonomics as much as possible.

office space

What makes up the cost of an office design project?

The designer calculates the cost of the project based on the following factors:

  • The area of the object.
  • Whether a turnkey repair or a cosmetic upgrade of the space is required.
  • Whether the design project includes 3D-visualization.
  • The timing of the project. Urgent work is paid higher.
  • The features of the room, the differences between the existing and desired layout.

If the customer wants to reduce the cost of implementing a design project, the designer can help with this. For example, rework the interior layout. Open spaces are more advantageous than the cabinet system due to the fact that each room with a door requires its own set of engineering systems. And this significantly affects the cost of repairs. You can reduce the number of rooms. For example, consider how much the company needs separate meeting rooms.

Perhaps not all employees require assigned workstations. For people who are often away on business trips, you don’t need personal desks and computers. Mobile desks with the ability to accommodate a laptop are sufficient.

Avoiding brand-name vendors will affect the total amount of the project. A designer with extensive experience has a large base and can offer quality alternatives to expensive furniture, materials, and engineering systems.

Choosing sound-absorbing materials, you can stop at PVC, which copes well with sound insulation.