Things to Keep in Mind While Designing Commercial Interiors



The interior design of a commercial space greatly impacts customer experience, employee satisfaction, as well as overall brand image. Thoughtful design choices reinforce the brand identity in addition to business goals. Designing the interiors of a commercial space is an exciting yet meticulous process. The ambiance, layout, furnishings, alongside lighting, as well as visual elements have a profound impact on the end-user experience, along with brand perception, as well as overall business success. For retail, hospitality, healthcare, and office spaces, interior design directly influences customer satisfaction, worker productivity, and profit margins. Here are 10 important things to remember when undertaking commercial space planning as well as designing commercial interiors:

1. Understand the business, brand, and target audience

This is the most critical first step. Thoroughly understand the nature of the business, what they offer, their target audience, brand persona, and what they want to convey through the space design.  For example, the approach to designing an upscale restaurant would be completely different from that of a preschool. The restaurant may aim for an elegant, sophisticated look with muted tones, while the preschool requires a fun, vibrant, and colorful design. Know who the primary users will be – just employees or also customers? Research the brand identity and showcase it through the interior elements like colors, signage, artwork etc.

2. Identify the client’s goals and objectives

While coming up with aesthetic design choices, do not simply let your style and preferences dominate. Keep the client’s perspectives and goals in mind. Every design decision should ultimately align with and fulfill their business objectives. For example, a retail store would majorly want layouts that encourage customers to explore the entire premises and maximize purchases. A clinic would need designs that convey hygiene, sterility, and professionalism. Understand what experience the client wants customers to have in the space. This informs form and function.

3. Accommodate accessibility and inclusion

The design has to allow easy movement and usage for employees and customers of diverse physical abilities and disabilities. Follow ADA guidelines on door widths, ramp slopes, seating spaces, counter heights, accessible technology etc.

Also consider age groups (elders, children) who may be frequenting the commercial space. For instance, restaurants may need booster seats and play areas to accommodate families. Choose furnishings and flooring suitable for seniors and individuals with limited mobility.

4. Prioritize utility, ergonomics, and workflow

A commercial interior must serve its primary function above aesthetics. Form must follow function. The furnishings, layouts, and decor elements should not interfere with or hinder usage and movement within the workspace. For example, a professional kitchen requires optimal counter space, storage for ingredients, and zones for different tasks. Placing decorative pieces in the kitchen can obstruct the chef’s movement and lower efficiency. Similarly, a clinic needs more privacy and noise reduction as compared to a candy store.

5. Allow flexibility for future changes

The needs of any business keep evolving with changing technologies, workstyles, health regulations, and consumer preferences. Trends also come and go. This necessitates the design to be dynamic and easily modifiable. Use movable glass partitions instead of permanent drywalls whenever possible. Though initially costlier, glass allows natural light permeability and enables resetting wall positions. For expansions or layout changes, glass walls can simply be detached and installed elsewhere without major demolition.

Opt for modular furniture systems over heavy built-ins. Modular configurations with partition panels, desks, storage units, and workstations make rearranging or adding workspaces efficient and affordable. Built-in cabinetry has a more residential aesthetic but cannot be shifted around easily. Have multipurpose furniture like coffee tables with lift-up tops to double as work surfaces or ottomans that can serve as extra seating. Specify convertible elements like sliding partitions, Murphy beds, and roll-away screens to activate or deactivate zones.

6. Incorporate eco-friendly and sustainable elements

With rising environmental awareness, sustainable design is becoming a priority, even for commercial spaces. Be it recycled furniture, natural materials, energy-saving lighting, or non-toxic paints, such choices appeal to eco-conscious consumers while benefiting the environment.

Even small additions like indoor plants, natural ventilation, or daylight maximization can hugely enhance space aesthetics while lowering electricity usage. Many certifications like LEED now assess sustainability compliance.

7. Optimize natural light and lighting design

Proper lighting is extremely essential for an inviting and productive commercial space. Strategic use of LEDs, accent lighting, chandeliers, and external views allows maximizing natural light. Carefully consider the lighting intensity, temperature, and directionality to create the desired ambience.

However, also evaluate sun angles and avoid glare. Coordinate electrical, lighting, and HVAC plans with architects and engineers early on. Lighting greatly impacts human health, mood, and performance.

8. Design ergonomic and functional furnishings

The furniture and fixtures should balance aesthetics with practicality and ergonomics. For instance, an avant-garde metallic reception desk seems striking but consider durability and technology integration. Commercial furniture sees heavy usage so ensure it is comfortable and engineered for long-term functionality.

Seating, workstations, and counters should be at appropriate heights and distances based on end-user dimensions and tasks. Enable storage, cable management, mobility etc. Multi-functional and modular furniture allows altering layouts easily.

9. Use the psychology of color and textures

Color greatly impacts human psychology and behavior. Leverage this to achieve specific outcomes aligned with the brand vision. For example, blue and green denote professionalism in an office; red stimulates appetite in a restaurant.

Similarly, textured walls or soft furnishings add tactile comfort. But limit these to spaces needing hygiene and sterility. Cohesively coordinate colors, textures, patterns, materials, and lighting. Balance warm and cool tones.

10.  Coordinate work across disciplines

Coordinate closely with architects, engineers, contractors, and clients throughout the design and construction process. Collaborate with graphic designers for branded environmental graphics, wayfinding signage, etc. For renovations, collaborate with existing vendors to match wood tones, pavements, etc.

Interior design combines architecture, engineering, and art. Maintain clear communication and ensure alignment of floor plans, utilities, load-bearing elements, and lighting layouts. Participate in MEP coordination. Prepare 3D renderings, mood boards, material palettes, and branded FF&E packages.


Designing appealing yet highly functional commercial spaces requires understanding the brand and target audience, optimizing lighting, allowing flexibility, using the psychology of color, accommodating accessibility, blending ergonomics with aesthetics, coordinating across disciplines, and incorporating sustainable elements. With careful consideration of these key aspects, you can craft spaces that are both beautiful and business-enhancing.

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