10 million. 10K. Anywhere in between.
Whether you’re remodeling your retail space or building a new healthcare facility from the ground up — you have a budget for your design.
You want to spend that money wisely, on design features that will have the most impact.
Here are 3 commercial interior design essentials where you absolutely cannot skimp:
The very first factor you need to consider in any commercial design project is the function of the space:
- What will happen there?
- Who will be using the space?
- How will they be using it?
- What’s the flow of people through the space?
When you spend time asking these questions (and answering them!) before your design, you end up with a space — and by extension, a business — that runs more efficiently. That’s why space planning is so vital in commercial design.
Space planning revolves around function — how your business runs — but it’s also about flow and comfort; you want a place that makes your employees and your customers feel positive and inspired. Space planning also considers how the people in your space interact: should the front desk face the door, so people can be greeted as they walk in? Do you need an informal gathering space (like a few comfy chairs grouped by the windows) in addition to your conference rooms? And space planning takes into account your future vision for the business: should you allow for additional cubicles, as the team grows?
Yes, there are often design aspects that you cannot change, especially in a remodel versus a new build. Say there’s a loading support column smack in the middle of your conference room. But a creative and experienced interior designer can take these scenarios and turn an eyesore into an aesthetic, functional accent.
It’s not something most people notice right off the bat, but that’s actually why lighting is so important.
With the right lighting:
- Products & offerings are readily visible and accessible
- Employees are productive and doing their work done safely and accurately
- The atmosphere is perfect.
Because lighting impacts all of the above.
And when you don’t get the lighting right:
- Customers aren’t noticing the products you want them to notice
- Nobody can see the work in front of them (“Uh oh, took a little too much off the top”)
- The mood just feels wrong.
The right lighting presents a space in the best possible, well, light (okay, that pun was intended).
To make sure your lighting is impeccable, you need all 3 layers of light:
- Ambient light (the main light source for your room)
- Task light (the focused light that lets you see the words of the report you’re reading)
- Accent light (light that highlights a specific area or feature)
One more key point about the right light: it can actually save you money in electric costs. Go LEDs.
The Wear-and-Tear Items
There are the design elements that get looked at:
Then there are design elements that get used.
All. The. Time.
That’s where quality and longevity matters most.
Case in point: flooring.
It gets stepped on, run on, dragged on. And it’s expensive (and a hassle) to replace. That’s why, in your design project, the material you choose for flooring *must* be durable, something that will look good and stay strong for a long, looooong time, even while everyone steps all over it.
My personal pick: porcelain tile. It’s super strong and non-porous, built to weather tens of thousands of footsteps, indoors or outdoors. Plus, nowadays it’s available in a range of fun or sophisticated colors and styles, so it can suit any space. There’s no compromise on style.
Heavy-use furniture also falls in this category. Think desks in a classroom or bedside tables in a hospital; they’re jostled, leaned on, pushed and shoved and basically abused — yet you can’t afford for them to break. Here, plastics like melamine make a smart choice, sometimes reinforced with steel and dressed up with a laminate finish. For furniture covered in fabric (or for cushions), go with vinyl or microfiber. It’s strong, resistant to stains and to water, and cleans up easily — yet is cozy and comfy.