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Corporate Interior design

29 October 2017

We, as professionals, all live in a corporate environment about an average of 20 hours per week. We work, we socialize, we dine and manage our stress in the same office environment, and therefore, it is quite important to understand the design that lies beyond what meets the eye.

As an interior designer, I have met a good number of interior designers who treat office spaces like residentials. Although this may suffice for certain clients, it is crucial to gain a deep understanding of how to design an office environment fit to serve its purpose: to encourage a productive attitude and provide physical comfort for an 8-hour workday.

Here are some ground rules:


Brand is an essential element of any corporate office. This defines the company’s character and presence in the field and should certainly be considered in interior design to embody the corporate identity.

A company’s logo should definitely be exhibited in the most visible area. Recognizable to maximize visibility. A company’s logo is its trademark in the industry.

Uber Office Uber Office in San Francisco, California. source: arkpad.com.br via Pinterest

The color scheme can also enhance the spirit of the brand within the office premises.

Skype Office source: blog-emploi.com via Pinterest

Catchphrases never fail to catch attention. They always make a strong statement.

Braithwaite Office Braithwaite Communications in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. source: blog-emploi.com via Pinterest

Catchphrases also suggest the values and vision of the company

Catchphrases Office JetBlue Offices in New York, USA. source: blog-emploi.com via Pinterest

Space Planning

Corporate interior design has clearly evolved from the previously conventional desk and chair set-up to an elaborate mix of creativity-inducing spaces, workstations and isolated private nooks. Nevertheless, space planning concepts are still the same, only in different settings.

Ingress and Egress.

A well-designed office reception can certainly make any guest feel welcome. Most offices’ front desks are the front liners for brand exposure.

Orange Business Services in Moscow, Russia Orange Business Services in Moscow, Russia source: archdaily.com

Receptions also mainly function as the “receiving” area for incoming guests and staff. Therefore, it is important to have a welcoming atmosphere and a designated waiting area.

Office 44 Office 44 in Kiev, Ukraine source: behance.net via Pinterest

Hierarchy of spaces.

Executive offices are commonly zoned on different locations as opposed to office workstations. Executive areas tend to be more private, although there certainly are exceptional cases, and are more lavishly designed to establish a stronger impression when receiving clients and important guests.

Lançamento Comercial Lançamento Comercial in São Paulo, Brazil source: galeriadaarquitetura.com.br via Pinterest

Close proximity

Space planning always programs the proximity requirements of offices to determine which spaces should be adjacent to each other for more efficient communication and access. Although luxury is often a client requested element in corporate interior design, an office that is too spacious may cause a disadvantage in the design as dead spaces affect work performance (as employees are more likely to get tired of walking around big offices) and even the year’s rent.

freshome.com source: freshome.com via Pinterest

Private and Public zones.

Although 100% privacy is highly unlikely in corporate schemes, some areas still require a higher level of privacy than others. The level of privacy is most often defined by the acoustical requirements of a room in corporate office design. Boardrooms, telephone booths and higher executive offices would require a higher level of privacy for confidential discussions and better communication.

officesnapshots.com Satchi and Satchi, New York. source: officesnapshots.com via Pinterest

Lundbeck – Istanbul Offices Lundbeck – Istanbul Offices source: officesnapshots.com via Pinterest

Executive Offices

Executive offices are not a mandatory provision in every office. However, in cases that executive offices are needed, these areas would commonly require enclosed spaces for better demonstration of hierarchy and privacy.

Dinor Real Estate Offices in Dubai, UAE Dinor Real Estate Offices in Dubai, UAE source: officesnapshots.com via Pinterest


Workstations may or may not need enclosed rooms. Open office schemes are now a popular trend in office design as it facilitates better circulation and a healthier utilization of available space. Open office layouts, however, have demonstrated a decline in productivity as the decline in privacy makes it difficult for employees to focus on their work.

yellowtrace.com.au Techshed Office in USA source: yellowtrace.com.au via Pinterest

Meeting Rooms.

Offices would require separate meeting areas, be it for internal meetings or for meeting with guests and clients. Unlikely as it may seem, meeting rooms are commonly overseen, especially for low budget office design projects.

thewowinspiration.com source: thewowinspiration.com

Business Centre.

This should include printing areas, filing and storage. It is easy to miss this provision in space planning development, but this area is essential for any office, no matter the size of the company.

thewowinspiration.com Office of the Attorney General in Washington, USA source: blrb.com via Pinterest

Other considerations.

Space planning certainly does not end here and now. Other considerations, such as toilet ratio, circulation, IT rooms, etc., should clearly be considered. To learn more about space planning of corporate spaces, enroll now in our Online Interior Design course. Space planning is discussed in Module 5.

Furniture and Equipment

Furniture is one important aspect of interior design. One has to learn the purpose of the space in order to develop the right specifications for the interior design scheme. Corporate offices are dedicated to branding and productivity. It is but an interior designer’s job to facilitate this purpose for the wellbeing of the company involved.

One also has to keep in mind that office furniture need not to be luxurious and comfortable as office environments are not for the purpose of homey comfort. Instead, they have to promote activity and productivity. In this regard, residential furniture is less likely to be considered in office spaces. Sofas and lounge seating may be proposed for office lobbies but they need not be residential grade.

It is also important to consider the comfort of office chairs for proper back support. In this regard, ergonomics is an essential factor in furniture specification.

Reception Area

The reception desk is one obvious influencer in an office environment. It is the front liner in branding and imposing impressions to office guests. Therefore, these areas are usually designed in a grand way, incorporating the company brand. Proper storage spaces and comfortable seating should also be provided for the reception staff to avoid grumpy moods and cluttered appearance.

Google Office in Amsterdam Google Office in Amsterdam, Netherlands source: highsnobiety.com via Pinterest

Executive and Private Offices

As mentioned, executive offices are frequently more luxurious than common workstations. Basic requirements for an executive office would be an executive desk, an executive chair and a visitor’s chair for small meetings and consultations. In some cases, a small meeting area with a meeting table and chairs or a lounge area for more informal conversations may be requested.

source: archiproducts.com via Pinterest source: archiproducts.com via Pinterest


Workstations should be carefully designed to boost productivity in an office environment. Common workstations would require provision for computer connections and storage units. Comfortable seating should also be specified for an 8-hour workday.

It is a current trend to specify modular furniture for office workstations for greater flexibility for future office expansion.

officesnapshots.com Unispace Offices in Seattle source: officesnapshots.com via Pinterest


There is always the need for more storage in a healthy office environment. Despite the current revolution in computer filing technology, physical files are still often most useful for an office workload. Besides, clutter is always a taboo in an office space.

source: archdaily.com BPGM Law Office in São Paulo, Brazil source: archdaily.com via Pinterest


Communication includes, but is not limited to, internet connection, computer provision, CCTV connection and efficient provision of telephone equipment. Communication is a must in every active office space. Every interior designer has to learn how to consider this in the layout scheme and MEP Design.

source: commonsenseof.com source: commonsenseof.com via Pinterest

Materials and Finishes

Corporate offices differ in other project types in terms of materials and finishes. Corporate interiors are prone to wear and tear and a higher traffic in circulation is often expected. Therefore, commercial grade specifications are often proposed for office schemes. Acoustics is also one of the main concerns in offices due to the high level of activities and verbal communication.

Floor Finishes

Office spaces would often require office grade carpeting. Carpet tiles are often specified due to its affordability and easier maintenance. Carpets are also more likely to absorb noise, therefore may improve office acoustics. Suffice it to say, however, nothing stops an interior designer to be more creative in designing the carpet layout for interior aesthetics.

source: commonsenseof.com Panic Office in Portland, Oregon, USA source: decorfacil.com via Pinterest

Other more luxurious floor finishes, such as stone or marble are specified in more quiet areas such as the reception and meeting rooms. Timber parquets are less likely to be considered as they require higher maintenance and are likely the wear easily. However, they may still be specified for more private spaces such as the CEO’s office to impose the feeling of luxury.

bashooka.com Red Design Group Office, source: bashooka.com via Pinterest

Scratch proof surfaces

Executive desks and office workstations are often specified with commercial standard surface finishes such as melamine. This is due to the melamine’s durability and resistance to scratch, while still exhibiting a modern contemporary feel. Glass cladding may also be an option to protect the worktop surface.

euamodecoracao.com via Pinterest Bivi Modular Office Furniture source: euamodecoracao.com via Pinterest

In other cases, where luxury is required, surfaces may also be cladded with leather.

Furniture and Fabric

Commercial grade furniture is not just durable and easy to maintain, they are also easy on the budget as they tend to be less luxurious. Needless to say, this does not have to mean a compromise in aesthetics. Fabric specifications would typically require a minimum of 30,000 rubs in the Martindale scale. This would provide higher resistance to abrasion.


Adobe Office Adobe Office in San Francisco, California, USA source: design-milk.com via Pinterest

Corporate interior design is simple, yet one has to gain the right guidelines to be able to execute the work well. The purpose of this blog is to provide the basic design guidelines on dealing with corporate interior projects.

Beyond these basic parameters, it is apparent that corporate office interiors have evolved in the last years. Space planning has been revolutionized by more creative concepts, thanks to the Google for setting a standard in office design and aesthetics, interior designers are now more challenged to design offices to stimulate higher creativity and increase production rates.

Our next blog shall be an inspiration blog to celebrate the new interior design concepts in corporate office design.

Are you in love with Interior Design? Learn more about Interior Design by signing up on our online Interior Design School to get your accredited diploma in Interior Design and be a fully certified Interior Designer.