While residential interior design focuses on the homes we live on, commercial interior design is tasked with conceptualising spaces for businesses. This includes banks, hotels, lounges, restaurants, retail spaces, and the like.
The distinction is important because the design needs of businesses and homes are different. You need a livable, welcoming space to live in but a functionally optimised environment with style elevated towards financial gain when you’re working.
Decorating more public spaces can create visually compelling environments that either follow a particular theme or simply bring a new level of attention to an otherwise humdrum area. Although the best commercial interior design often goes largely unnoticed, it does have a notable impact, adding value to a building and improving the space for those spending time inside it.
A Working Definition
Commercial interior design refers to the work done in mercantile spaces, including hospitals, lobbies, offices, stores, and theatres. It begins with a plan being hammered out, with designers working alongside architects to establish the elements that go into determining how the finished space will look. Designers then work within the completed area, adding décor and furniture, to make sure the original model’s requirements are met.
Why Is it Important?
In terms of retail shops, well-designed spaces will be more attractive to customers, encouraging more people to come into the store and persuading them to spend more time there. Commercial interior design projects may also have larger goals, like organising a theme that properly projects a certain corporate image. A software company may, for instance, furnish its lobby with a modern twist to convey an impression of efficiency and their focus on the future, both of which are common themes when it comes to modern design.
Designers working in this field will need to understand their clients’ needs and achieve these whilst working on a strict budget. This usually involves meeting with the head of a construction or renovation project, as well as the architect, if there is one, to brainstorm. Models of computer simulations or sketches may then be required, which help clients visualise the new space. Later on, the designer will need to find furnishings and fittings to go into the finished rooms.
The Necessary Skills
Commercial interior design work uses a wide range of skills, the first being an ability to listen and understand clients’ plans. Good designers will suggest new ideas in keeping with the overall aims but must ensure they deliver what they are asked to. A good understanding of the elements of design is necessary also, like colour, form, and line, along with a good grasp of the history of design and current trends. Finally, a network of suppliers is needed to provide the proper carpeting, furniture, light fixtures, and wall art.
Any existing design styles can be used, and totally new ones can be created! Contemporary designs are the first choice for corporate lobbies, government buildings, and offices for companies focussed on technology and software. But it’s also popular to draw from the past, with traditional décor like natural wood and more rustic visuals.