15 Design Trends for Commercial Interiors
Workplace Inspiration

15 Design Trends for Commercial Interiors

|Sep 14, 2018

Designing interiors for your commercial space is definitely not an easy task. You want the design to be cost-effective, current, and functional, yet also comfortable, unique, inviting, and engaging.

Furthermore, since expectations are continually changing, you must adapt your space regularly to match the current tastes of your employees, visitors, and consumers.  

Interior designers working on commercial properties must always ensure they understand their client’s workspace to create a design that’s relevant, appropriate, and functional.

In addition, the designers should not only consider the current trends in commercial interiors, but also consider future trends or trends that would stand the test of time, and include them in their commercial interior designs. The result is a commercial interior that looks good and is guaranteed to last for a long time.

The reason we treat commercial interior design with such a level of importance is that it has a direct impact on important results and outcomes.

You’ll find this article useful whether you’re looking to initiate a few design changes to help boost productivity or are looking to completely overhaul your current design.

1. Activity-based working

Many companies are migrating from conventional working practices with the aim of boosting productivity, and activity-based working (ABW) is one of the current trends companies are gravitating towards.

AWB is a strategy that lets employees choose where and how they prefer to work, depending on their work style and task, thus leading to lower employee turnover and higher productivity. It features a combination of private, team, open, and breakout spaces.

With AWB, employees are not assigned a workstation or desk. Instead, they are provided with various work zones where they can perform their tasks, be it individual or collaborative tasks or something as simple as making a phone call.

This approach places more emphasis on the work environment.

This does not mean that open-plan spaces will be done away with completely. They will still be around but will incorporate well-thought-out designs.

The future workplace will feature larger workstations arranged in clusters rather than rows and separated by screens to promote privacy. A few spaces within these areas will also be designed to cater for individual work. These kinds of workspaces have domestic-style interiors to make employees feel comfortable. These areas are also known as “comfort spaces”

AWB offers comfort spaces designed to promote team collaboration. According to research by Gensler, two-thirds of workers claim that working with others helps them to become more efficient.

Conversely, workplaces of the future will also have quite zones with minimal interruptions and background noise to help workers focus more. This means workspaces will feature things like separation of areas and sound absorbing walls.

2. Biophilic design

This is another popular design trend for commercial interiors. The biophilic design introduces natural elements into the workplace.

It's popular because the current trend of living and working indoors increases the innate need by humans to connect better to nature. That’s why biophilic design is most common in areas that are not situated near the outdoors, such as large metropolitan areas.

Natural elements such as plants and natural lighting have proven their worth on many fronts.

Research by Human Spaces shows that offices that incorporate natural elements can increase well-being by 13 percent and productivity by 8 percent.

The most recent trends in biophilic design don’t just stop at adding plants in the workplace. Rather, they use natural elements as a framework that yields patterns and forms for the interior design of the workspace.

Water features, rooftop gardens, access to natural light, nature-based wall dividers made from wood integrated with plant life, are some of the elements that are slowly creeping into the modern office workspace.

3. Design by artificial intelligence (AI)

Modern offices feature well-connected workspaces that allow for the collection of plenty of data. This can aid in building artificial intelligence software aimed at improving interior office design.

It doesn’t come as a surprise that AI can be used in interior office design because it’s currently being applied in a wide range of industries.

Nevertheless, the creativity required in design casts a doubt on whether AI can be used to perform this task perfectly.

During the initial stages of design, AI will offer numerous possibilities for designs and layouts, with human beings can select and tailor. AI software also provides designers with important suggestions on what improvements to make as they continue to work on the design.

For instance, when a desk is positioned very close to a meeting room such that sound from one becomes distracting to the other, the system would alert the designer.

An app known as Planner 5d, which helps people to do their own interior design has commenced work on integrating AI into the app.

Although it’s too early to make a conclusion about the capabilities of AI when it comes to interior design, the technology is showing great promise so far.

4. Meeting pods

Going by recent occurrences, meeting pods are perhaps here to stay. They are available in various designs, most of which are feature great practicality and aesthetic qualities.

For example, there is a pod with integrated power sockets, lockable wheels, and removable walls. Also, there is a glass meeting pod that boasts of the capability to block out the sound.

With more and more companies doing everything they can to develop a more collaborative environment, it’s safe to say that meeting pods could prove to be a force to be reckoned with in the interior design space.

5. Industrial elements

Industrial workspace design continues to gain popularity by the day due to its edgy, urban, and raw aesthetic qualities. Industrial design features elements such as exposed ceilings, graffiti signage, hanging pendant lights, brick walls, and more.

Although not every company goes completely industrial, a few elements have been integrated with more conventional commercial interior designs.

For example, pendant lights have continued to grow in their popularity because of their versatility. Other companies even go as far as incorporating brick-effect wallpaper to include a little bit of aesthetic interest to their workspaces.

Design Trends for Commercial Interiors

6. Mixed materials and texture

As manufacturing technology advances, we get to experience multilevel applications of materials and textures.

Current trends in commercial interior design use are incorporating the use of mixed materials that have rarely been used together in the past. For instance, most office spaces have combined the use of woods with plastics, stones, concrete, and metals in building materials and furniture.

The use of a mix of luxurious and raw materials help to completely transform the workspace. This is an awesome way to place more focus on the use of space and workspace zones. It’s one of the best times to be bold and experiment.

7. Data-driven design

In placing more emphasis on the unique requirements of every workspace, it’s of great importance to research and understands the organization. A great way to achieve this is to collect data in your workspace.

There are currently numerous devices and services that help to collect and analyze data about workspace use. From employee wearables to sensors installed under desktops, the office is becoming more integrated and affecting the design process of the workspace.

Humanyze, a US company, developed “sociometric ID badges,” which are a combination of accelerometers, infrared sensors, microphones, and Bluetooth to aid in the data collection process. The technology collects employee speech patterns, encounters, employee movements, and posture while ensuring they’re kept anonymous.

Another company that has embraced data-driven design is OccupEye. The UK based company fits their sensors under tables and desktops, to provide more insight  on space usage and help promote better workplace utilization

Nevertheless, the collection of data also raises privacy concerns. Companies need to make sure they inform their employees about why, where, what, and how they collect and analyze data. All this data will need to be collected anonymously otherwise many people will not agree with its usage.

For instance, several concerns were raised when OccupEye installed their sensors at the Daily Telegraph, a UK newspaper. These developments led to the uninstallation of the technology on the particular day the issues were raised.

When these services are applied correctly, they help organizations to develop tailored office spaces that encourage collaboration and positive performance.

8. Form before function

In the past, cost was the major factor driving decisions to buy office furniture. But with the continuing emphasis on ergonomic design, office furniture in a modern office needs to be cost-effective as well as comfortable.

This has seen the emergence of features like head rests on office ergonomic chairs, adjustable arms, and standing desks, ant-fatigue mats, and more.

Furthermore, consumers are seeking quality, and commercial office furniture is evolving to reflect this by including more durable materials like tempered glass, metal finishes, and rustic woods.

9. Resimercial design

More people are getting to understand this term with the continued integration of commercial durability and residential feel. As employees continue to look to the workplace to offer more opportunities to connect and grow with their colleagues, we gravitate more and more to the feel of residential spaces.

Relaxed, comfortable spaces are a perfect fit for employees who prefer to get off their desk to collaborate with small teams or for a peaceful, independent work. These spaces include bright colors, natural finishes, low coffee tables, and sofas. They give you the opportunity to relax and be creative.

10. Monochrome

Although maximalist interiors are continuing to get famous by the day, minimalists are also incorporating calming tonal interiors that use shades of the same color.

While the tone-on-tone style demands a lot of discipline and self-control, its results are incredibly sophisticated.

Other people still find a lighter touch on furniture, interiors, and design, in general, more appealing.

11. Collaboration over isolation

In a world of constant communication and increasing interaction, the modern employee is not so enthusiastic about being kept in a tiny cubicle with little or no natural light. Consequently, commercial office interiors are migrating toward a more collaborative dispensation, revamping their interior design layout to give rise to more open workspaces.

Workstations are divided with transparent or low panels. Alternatively, partitions could be eliminated completely and replaced with circular workstations that encourage an increase in knowledge transfer and communication.

Obviously, for many commercial interiors, its neither practical nor possible to conduct frequents overhauls. Rather, the focus is on creating smaller changes - such as applying a new coat of paint or considering new office furniture – that can create significant changes without using taking up so many resources.

12. Dual purpose designs

Prolonged budget tightening eventually makes businesses to seek new ways to save money. Commercial interiors provide a huge number of possibilities, as depicted by the widespread use of multipurpose designs.

Instances of this economic ingenuity are present in filing cabinets designed with slide-out seats that come in handy during all sorts of business meetings. Lounge chairs also incorporate tablet arms, meaning employees can work without being at their desk.

Our filing cabinet is sleek and durable and is designed to sit well under your standing desk. Most importantly it features smart storage to help you secure your documents and items.

filing cabinet - one of 15 Design Trends for Commercial Interiors

13. Deep tones

Deep cooling tones are the real deal. They are very good at depicting the totality of nature’s beauty. Consider using greys and charcoals that are tinged with greens. Also make sure to combine them with taupe, stone, and ivory to provide balance.

If you feel that the setting still appears a little reserved, be sure to include a few splashes of zesty lime or fiery paprika for color.

14. Geometric patterns

Geometric patterns integrated with the interlinked triangle are also finding their way into the workspace. These fantastic designs help the company to develop a true design statement that reflects the personality and leaves a permanent impression on people.

15. Environmental impact

Although green building is not an entirely new idea, hospitality owners are the eco-friendly trend to a whole new level. From delivery and disposal to materials and design, many business owners are continuing to place more focus on the environmental impact of their artwork, furniture, as well as other interior design elements. Eco-friendly practices such as recycled furniture are trends that will stand the test of time.


There you have it! These are some of the most popular design trends for commercial interiors. Derive inspiration from them to help you create a remarkable workspace transformation. By incorporating new commercial interior designs, you get to rally more benefits for your business in terms of brand development, staff satisfaction levels, and productivity.


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