5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces


The modern workplace has shifted dramatically in the past few years. Commercial spaces used to be bland, gray squares where people spend hours toiling away. Today's employees require something more — an office that serves them and improves their productivity. Interior designers and architects must keep up with these trends to craft structures businesses will be itching to rent or buy.

1. Adaptive Reuse

5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces

The Press Campus by Ehrlich Yanai Rhee Chaney Architects / EYRC - Photography by Matthew Millman, Brandon Shigeta, Costa Mesa Historical Society

Did you find the perfect spot for a new workspace, but there’s already an old building in its place? Call off the bulldozer — adaptive reuse and modern traditional interior design are now used for commercial spaces. These methods preserve historical and cultural value in older buildings while adapting them for current use. Architects and designers can improve their craft by working around what they can’t change and meshing today’s preferences with vintage styles.

These options are gaining popularity for their aesthetic appeal and because they’re catching the eyes of environmentalists. A report from the U.S. National Trust for Historic Preservation found recycling already-built structures with upgraded appliances and utilities is nearly always the most sustainable option. Since eco-friendliness is a proliferating trend itself, companies will likely be searching for such buildings to display their green efforts to customers.

Utilizing modern traditional design also saves a lot of time. Clients love the faster turnaround, and quicker contracts mean more cash flowing your way.

2. Flexible Workspaces

5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces

DB55 by D/Dock - Photography by Niels Vlug

Co-working spaces are also gaining traction — at a rate of 13% yearly. The pandemic caused many offices to decide on remote work, either in a hybrid format or online. However, that doesn’t mean people must sit at home all day. Buildings that can flex to accommodate groups or individuals from various enterprises are highly profitable opportunities in the real estate industry.

In the planning stages, architects can outline various conference rooms, smaller sections where teams can work together and areas for solo employees. Interior designers ensure each area has distinct furniture and decor so the space doesn’t feel wide open and distracting. However, keeping everything cohesive is important, as getting too creative can cause focus to wane. Comfort and productivity should be the driving inspiration behind designing and styling these increasingly vital flexible offices.

3. Alternate Lighting

5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces

Mr. Green's Office by MIA Design Studio - Photography by Hiroyuki Oki

While it seems odd to describe sunlight as “alternate lighting,” the office stereotype is humming fluorescent bulbs beaming down over cubicles. Widening the windows in a structure can provide advantages such as increased productivity, attendance, happiness, awareness, concentration and much more.

However, not every location has a generous amount of sun. Choosing light-emitting diode (LED) bulbs that mimic sunlight can help employers obtain the same perks in those areas. Plus, they support inhabitants’ circadian rhythms — their bodies’ sleep and wake cycle.

As the hours wind down, the lights shift to redder tones, signaling the day’s end and that it’s time to rest. Alternatively, they’ll have more blue light in the morning so those coming in while it’s still dark out can wake up naturally. A workspace that helps people feel energized during the day and ready to relax to prepare for a new one has much to benefit from, so venturing from the typical small windows and LEDs can help attract more residents and clients.

4. Biophilic Design

5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces

Squarespace Offices by A+I - Photography by Magda Biernat

Biophilic design is perhaps the biggest innovative trend shaking up commercial spaces. This style works in interior design and architecture to mimic nature as closely as possible in office environments, improving the employee experience. Like natural lighting, it doesn’t seem new to include what’s already around you, but consider how much workers gain from the changes.

Traditional commercial spaces are suffocating and stagnant. The walls are dull and the work areas are uncomfortable. Biophilic design recognizes humans are also animals and need the proper “enclosure” to thrive. It can reduce sick time, and potentially even double productivity. Employees love it because the atmosphere gets them in the zone and employers love it because happier teams mean higher profits.

When looking for inspiration, examine the three critical principles driving biophilic design — nature in the space and natural analogs. Plants and small bubbling fountains are simple to bring in, but you might want to use manufactured versions of larger decorative pieces like trees or stones. In terms of the entire space, decades of research show people prefer curved lines almost unanimously. Does that window, wall or picture frame need to have a straight edge?

5. Noise-Canceling Features

5 Interior Design Trends Shaping Commercial Spaces

Study Pods by Durasein

Whether the building is in a bustling city or full of loud calls, reducing noise is becoming a highly desired interior design trend. People ironed out the best ways to perform remote work and sales worldwide, so many more Zoom conversations are happening in the office. Closing oneself off in a small conference room with acoustic wall paneling and plush carpets makes meetings much more professional and focused.

City sounds have always been a pain point. Ensuring those noises stay outside the workplace or are muffled can make the property more appealing to those desiring a calmer space. Features like felted lamps for tall ceilings help ensure larger areas have a bit of auditory calm, while smaller changes like furniture placement, weatherstripping and curtains add to the effect.

Taking Commercial Spaces to the Next Level

The office has become very different in the past few years — and for good reasons. Usual workplaces are monotone and dull, but modern twists have made them nature-inspired, eco-friendly and employee-focused. The boons these updates grant mean more business owners will be looking for them in commercial spaces so they, too, can gain a competitive advantage.

Interior designers and architects must note innovative changes to impress their clients, draw residents and create structures that work with people, not just for them.

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