What is Commercial Interior Design?

November 20, 2020
commercial interior design project in Colorado

When you think of interior design, what comes to mind? If an idyllic, stylish living room straight off the pages of Architectural Digest is the first image you conjure up, you’re not alone.

Residential interior design tends to get the lion’s share of our collective attention. But there’s a highly impactful branch of this industry we should also explore: commercial interior design

Designing a public space differs from home design in several key ways. Where residential interior design aims to create a livable, inviting environment for the homeowner, commercial design centers more on functionality.

When a designer enters a space, they must take space limitations and building code requirements into consideration. Rather than building off one’s individual taste, they must create an environment suitable for the many customers or employees that will share the space. 

Let’s explore how your business could benefit from commercial interior design and what the process entails from start to finish. 

Why Does Commercial Interior Design Matter? 

A commercial interior designer assists in implementing the style and layout of retail stores, office buildings, restaurants, hotels, and other public spaces. Taking into account space limitation and safety, they fuse together functionality and style. The goal is to add value to the business commissioning the design project. 

The time and money spent on commercial interior design aren’t invested purely to achieve a certain aesthetic. It helps to create an environment that flows with the existing layout in a practical, appealing manner. At the end of the day, effective design can capture the attention of more patrons or display the ethos and principles a company stands for.

Related read: What is Commercial Construction?

What Does A Commercial Interior Designer Do? 

Behind every successful commercial project is a knowledgeable interior designer. From drawing up blueprints to picking out furniture, they are there every step of the way. Here are some of the major roles of a commercial interior designer:

Working within their client’s budget. The scope of a project will depend on where a client is at financially. Before any planning can move forward, a commercial interior designer will sit down with the prospective client and discuss their vision and how much they can spend. 

Space distribution and layout. One of the key facets of commercial design is functionality. Taking proper measurements and creating a layout that makes sense are huge parts of their job. From there, they can plan out spacing, draft up schematics, or even create a 3D rendering of the design concept.

Selecting materials. Once a direction is nailed down, the designer will get to work hunting down the necessary materials. This can include items such as lighting, furniture, artwork, flooring, and more. With a network of suppliers at their fingertips, this can all be done efficiently and locally in most cases.

How Long Does Commercial Interior Design Take to Complete? 

Each project will vary. Generally speaking, it could take anywhere from 4 to 6 months for a design project to come to fruition. This estimate can vary greatly in either direction, though, and is only meant to give you a good understanding of the general timeframe of things.

Keep in mind it could take far longer than that depending on your company’s needs. Factors such as building size, last-minute changes, construction, furniture availability, permits, and more can all push you past a 6 month finish time. 

How Does the Design Process Begin? 

Interior design can begin before a building is even built. This allows the designer to plan around important factors such as the floor plan and measurements. They’ll work side by side with manufacturers and contractors to help make structural decisions such as architecture, ceiling design, and lighting. The designer will also confirm any construction code requirements before they make any decisions. 

If the project involves an existing building, the interior designer will take measurements and design around the structures already in place. 

Regardless of whether builders are renovating or starting from scratch, this is when the designer does the bulk of their planning. At this point schematics and blueprints are drafted. A designer will create an as-built drawing to represent the finished layout and furniture placement. 

Once schematics receive a green light, a designer will seek out necessary permits and endorsements. Once all the paperwork is completed, the designer will seek out all the materials necessary to bring the space to life.

Related article: 7 Things to Know Before Starting a Construction Project

Completing an Interior Design Job

As a final precaution, the designer will go over the layout with their client and make any minor alterations. And now the real fun can begin. With plans solidified and materials acquired, the design can finally start to take form. 

At this stage of the process, contractors will work on the site to build and modify the space. Slowly, the design will jump off the schematics and into the real world. Contractors will install lighting fixtures, paint walls, and add in the stylistic elements of the overall design. Next, furniture and final touches will be placed. And just like that, the commercial interior design project is complete!

How to Choose a Commercial Interior Design Contractor

Choosing the right contractor for you is a vital step in the interior design process. Start with reviewing the contractors nearest you. To be sure you’re dealing with a true professional and be sure to confirm your designer is licensed and insured. This can save you a lot of trouble down the line. Choose one or even a few companies you align with and have them draft up a bid. A bid is basically a pitch of their plans and estimated costs for the design project.

Once your bids are in, compare your options with a careful eye. Be realistic with your budget and what you hope the end result will look like. As you narrow down your options, be sure whoever your front runners are will accommodate your communication needs. Do you want to be looped in on a daily basis? Weekly? Or perhaps you want a more hands-off approach? Be sure your contractor can adhere to your needs throughout the entire process. 

Are you looking for a commercial interior design contractor in the Northern Colorado area? At H3 Construction and Design, we are the industry pros you’ve been searching for! We are committed to designing a unique, functional commercial space you and your cohorts will love. 

Ready to start your commercial interior design project? Contact us today!

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