10 Things to Consider When Designing a Commercial Space

designing a commercial building

Property is, and has always been one of the most constant money makers in the planet. It symbolizes power and wealth. Whether we’re talking acres of farmland or a condo, being able to possess your own space always inspires a feeling of confidence. However, this is something that doesn’t just apply to residences. It also applies to offices and shops. A business that can have its own space is showing the industry that it is ready to take on the world.

Owning a commercial space has several advantages. First, it is a generally stable asset. Even throughout recession, there are always businesses looking to rent spaces. Rental increases are fixed, so commercial space owners can get great returns on their investment. It is an asset that depreciates well because of how flexible it is–the space can be used for different kinds of businesses in different kinds of industries. It is has a greater value than residential property, and thus residential condominiums always allot certain areas of the building as commercial space.

Having a commercial space is great by itself, but in the same way you wouldn’t want to live in an apartment that doesn’t feel like a home, you wouldn’t want to work in an office or a shop that doesn’t feel like one. A commercial space that’s dreary and drab is unwelcoming and uninspiring. This is where commercial interior design comes in. This is the process by which a designer works with a client to develop a plan to establish and refurbish a commercial space. Commercial interior design deals in more than just picking out the perfect wallpaper–it also involves determining the right construction materials, the correct wall placement to match the layout, the best electrical and plumbing systems to serve the needs of the space, and coordinating with the most suitable people for the job. A commercial interior designer shouldn’t only know how to make a space pretty, but he/she has to have a strong, active knowledge of the workings of architecture. A good commercial interior designer effectively combines function and aesthetic in his design plan, and is capable of being flexible with respect to specific building policies or landlord edicts.

Commercial space design is important because of how it reflects a business’s concept, work ethic, and elegance. For most people, the office or shop is the first impression they will get of a particular brand. A well-designed space has a clear-cut plan and will give off a good vibe–not just for your clients but even for your employees. The working environment is an important factor for employees, and a great-looking office increases their energy and motivation. A well-designed commercial space is also highly sought after by property investors because an attractive space has higher resale value.

designing a commercial building

Looking into designing a commercial space? Here are 10 things to consider:

1. Work within your budget. How much capital has been set aside for interior design? This is the most important jumping-off point. You may have come up with a smart design plan, but do you have the finances to cover it? The budget should be pre-determined prior to drawing up schematics in order to keep you from raising unreasonable ideas. It should be realistic, giving you enough wiggle room to spend on quality items but not splurge on unnecessary luxuries.

2. Work with the space you have. If you are fortunate enough to get an entire floor to work with, allotting enough space seems easier. However, not all commercial spaces are lucky. You could be left with a tiny corner to work with, but that shouldn’t discourage you. There are a lot of tricks to help you maximize a small space. One is to install more windows to make the space brighter and seem more open. Use glass partitions to separate cubicles rather than opaque ones. Cultivate as much space as you can by minimizing the amount of clutter in the space.

3. Work with your image. What do you want to present to your clients? If you want to be seen as modern and upbeat, your commercial space should be that way too–your color scheme should be vibrant, peppy music should be pumping around the space (if you’re allowed to have that). If your brand is more refined and elegant, classical music and muted colors are the way to go. The idea is that your design has to be consistent with your vision and mission so that people know that what they see with you is what they get.

4. Work with your purpose. What exactly will you be using the commercial space for? Is it a private office for purely for back room operations? A kitchen? A convenience store? Your design plan relies heavily on usefulness–it should focus on reaching the goals of the company. Come up with a theme that highlights your vision and brings all the components of your space together in recognition of that. For example, a restaurant’s goal is to serve food. Therefore, the elements of that space’s design should be about allotting enough room for the kitchen to work and creating a dining-room layout that maximizes the waiters’ ability to move around quickly.

5. Work with the best materials. Best doesn’t have to equal “expensive”. Glass and stone are excellent foundations for decorative items. You can also work with different textures to give your walls some personality, like wood, metal, and cloth.

6. Work with the most efficient contractors. The execution of the design plan lies on the shoulders of several teams of people. You need to ensure that they are capable of bringing your vision to life. Hiring cheap but incompetent labor could result in sloppy work, and the loss from that will be a lot harder to recover. Get workers that really know what they’re doing, and be a motivator to them by showing your appreciation for their efforts.

7. Work with the right flow. How accessible is your space? It needs to be something people can easily trickle in and out of without bumping into one another. If it’s a store, it needs to make assistants mobile so that they can serve customers quickly. Wares also need to be within reach. This is where your layout comes in.

8. Work with the necessary lighting. A commercial space needs adequate lighting, both artificial and natural. A dim environment contributes to making workers sluggish, but light is invigorating. The best way to encourage natural light is to install lots of large, panelled windows.

9. Work with the law. We are subject to the government, and the commercial space design should respect the rules. Be very clear on building codes, permit requirements, government policies and safety standards, and be conscientious about accounting for them in your plan.

10. Work with your neighbors. It’s good to always remember that you are not the only person in the area. Respect other tenants by keeping noise levels to a minimum. This includes ongoing construction work, music, and raised voices. You never know when a neighbour could be a potential client someday. If your landlord has any specific requests, honor them. Remember that you are the lessee of the property.

It seems like a lot to take in, but thankfully, designing a commercial space doesn’t have to be a solo job. Consult with other designers and get feedback. Encourage employees to share their ideas (and giving them due credit, of course). Design magazines are another good source of inspiration.

Designing a commercial space is all about working with your vision, your resources, and even your limitations. The main thing is about putting your mark on the property you’re occupying, and letting your ownership show.