Innovation Theory: A Guide to Commercial Design

Designing the interior of a commercial property can be a delicate process; risky in that you have to create an engaging experience for your potential guests and customers, but it’s got to remain as cost-effective and as efficient as possible at the same time.

Further to this complex mosaic of possibilities and processes, there’s the additional expectation that your shop will have to keep up with ever-evolving design trends and adapt to the changing tastes of customers and employees alike.

Fortunately for the commercial industry there a number of design cues and interior methodologies that can help commercial businesses stay current with their markets:

Dual-purpose Designs

Budget-tightening with design in mind is tough, so businesses are always looking for ways to save money. Lucky for owners, designers are always looking for ways to increase the functionality and purpose of spaces.

Dual-purpose pieces within your commercial space can take shape as storage built in to stair rises, filing cabinets with slide out chairs, even mobile and interlockable display cases or platforms that can accommodate a larger display, in-house stage for a holiday party or product launch event, etc.

Multi-purpose designs in furnishings and architecture like these examples allow organizations and businesses to reduce their overhead spending without sacrificing utility, adaptability and functionality.

Collaboration, Interaction & Company Culture

Commercial spaces are in constant flux in terms of what the latest interior workplace design blog says yields that best efficiency and happiness levels for employees and customers.

In the old days, an open concept approach was the be-all-end-all interior design methodology, while the 70’s and 80’s saw cubicle-centric designs take hold. In the early 2000’s, the open concept design came back, only for the 2010’s to introduce their own hybrid approach to workplace satisfaction. While all of these iterations have their pros and cons, the key is to increase collaboration and interaction between customers, staff, and the environment in which they occupy.

In commercial spaces, a full scale renovation may not be in the cards, but a functional adjustment of interior layout, a coat of paint and thought-out utility may be the ticket for increasing interaction and positive vibes through interior space. This is evident in the advent of multi-use workstations, shared offices and collaborative entrepreneurial spaces all geared at embracing small inside changes that make big differences.

To help increase and foster company culture in this redesign, invite the influence of your workforce into the conversation by instilling a strong sense of your identity into the new design. Highlight successful aspects of your existing space, and encourage risk-taking by instilling a sense of confidence and trust in your employees. This can be done by allowing the space to become more personalized, reflecting a sense of ownership and creativity, or dedicating a space to employees to make it their own.


Open concept spaces prompt the addition of smaller, quiet workspaces for employees to conduct impromptu meetings and gatherings in a confidential setting. Less formal that old school conference rooms, these mini executive spaces should be made readily accessible to employees to cultivate a sense of competence and independence.

Form Over Function

Expect to see new features in reimagined classics like office seating and standing desks.

It used to be the cost that was the primary influencing factor in a company’s purchasing decisions, but today, we’re seeing more and more evidence of attention to work-life balance, workplace satisfaction, and employee moods being taken into account. Having the additional capacity to accommodate these new design aesthetics and pieces adds to the comfort and usability of a commercial space.

Price is still important, but increasingly, we’re seeing more emphasis being placed on quality and craftsmanship. This style of ‘spend now, save later’ mentality is geared at advancing workplace sustainability, limiting ongoing spending and incorporating more expensive, durable goods and materials like woods, metal finishes, and tempered glass.

Deep Tones

We’re big fans of using colour theory to ramp up the level of perceived focus, invigoration, or stimulation needed for a slew of different property uses. Colour theory involves using specific colour palettes to pull forward a certain attitude, character, or personality from the people interacting with the space.

In 2016/17, deep and rich natural tones are quickly becoming the favourite flavour of sought-after commercial designs. Utilizing charcoals, greens, greys, and even ivories, creams and stone hues help to accentuate a dedication to the natural world. If this seems a little drab for your particular space, add a splash of amber, seaweed, or salmon colour to add some spice.

Eco-friendly Design & Infrastructure

Further to the use of natural hues in interior colour theory, allow your business to fall in line with the continual move towards eco-friendly and sustainable builds. There’s an increasing pressure to meet environmental, corporate and social obligations related to reducing pollution, waste and carbon emissions, and this ‘green’ design canon is a great way to interest your market.

Long gone are the days when overuse of glass as an architectural and aesthetic draw were considered inefficient. Advances in energy-efficiency have made glass a staple of innovative eco-builds that can show off your interior from anywhere. Photovoltaic glass includes the incorporation of futuristic solar cells, meaning that formerly inefficient window space can even begin contributing to the power generation of your commercial space, saving you money in the long run.

Green roofs are another example of an eco-minded design feature that can help maintain a desired interior temperature, reducing heating and cooling bills – further, they look great.

Multi-use spaces are important, but we also often forget how integral access to natural light and nature is to human beings. For this purpose, consider the addition of green walls and bringing nature into the space as well. The art and science of many reports and books regarding employee happiness and satisfaction lies within very basic needs – like potted plants, greenery, landscapes and views from office spaces, and natural light.

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