Modern office design goes hand-in-hand with modern workplace culture. Creativity, collaboration and productivity thrive when employees are comfortable in their space. As more companies shift toward remote and hybrid work, the traditional cubicle maze setup is vanishing, making way for multi-purpose common areas, a focus on incorporating natural elements, utilizing wall space and more.
The best office interior design is the one that’s right your organization. It can be challenging to spot the trends that balance passing fads and evergreen design. We’re here to help with this guide to workplace interior design.
Common Area Design Ideas
Since nine out of 10 businesses are combining in-person and remote work as the new norm, common areas are necessary spaces. Common areas can include break rooms, kitchens, open work areas and more. Great office common space design reflects how your company does business and what your teams need to accomplish their goals.
A large space dotted with love seats and coffee tables works for impromptu brainstorming, quiet contemplation and study, but maybe not for lunch meetings and round-table creative sessions. A big round table, or lines of counters can give employees great spots to relax over lunch or have a spirited discussion, but they’re not great for long work stretches at the computer. The key is striking the right balance and offering your workforce different kinds of common spaces to suit the needs of their workday.
To expand on this idea, think about booths and nooks that offer privacy, but not isolation from the rest of the team. These flexible common spaces facilitate spontaneity and collaboration that is not easily replicated in structured, conference room-style meetings that are not always conducive to the aha! moment.
An intriguing design trend we’re seeing in modern offices is to make the conference room feel more connected to the common areas. We love the idea of using glass and acoustic management to keep the conference room private, but also flooded with light and open to the higher energy of the common areas around it.
Designating Space with Color
Color psychology studies how color affects human emotions and behaviors. Consider how, in Western cultures, red tones often imply a warning, or strong emotions such as excitement or anger. Conversely, in some Eastern cultures, red is the color of joy or luck. Depending on one’s upbringing, cultural background and personal experiences, color can influence states of mind as well as actions.
Think strategically about color and how you want to affect your team. Bolder colors may inspire excitement, while calmer tones may create a more serene environment. It’s in your best interest to choose colors that resonate with your company’s brand colors and mission.
Utilize Wall Murals & Environmental Graphics
No one wants to look at boring walls. Wall space presents a perfect opportunity to display who your company and its employees are and what you believe in. For example, a wall mural can tie your area’s natural beauty to your company culture.
Motivate, inspire, connect employees + encourage cooperation and well-being
Reinforce brand identity and corporate messaging
Can bring dimension to your space framed art, standoff wall panels, dimensional and lit logos and lettering or column wraps
Create a unique and unified visual environment
Offer privacy on glass walls and partition
Combine acoustic management panels with color, form and texture
Consider Sound Quality & Sound Masking
The sound quality in your office space is also crucial to your company’s workplace environment. No one enjoys loud ambient noise, be it from the world outside or the everyday dissonance of technology and conversation. Privacy often depends on well-managed acoustics as much as thoughtful organization of your physical space.
There is a wide array of products, from simple custom-colored panels to beautiful architectural elements that mask or dampen sound to create a calm, productive space for your teams to relax and focus on their work.
Incorporate Natural Lighting
We understand it’s not always possible to use natural light — but if you can, you should. Humans crave natural light and outdoor views and incorporating natural light can help reduce energy spending. Studies show that natural light in the workplace makes employees feel better rested and more positive.
Here are a few tips to incorporate natural lighting into any office space:
- Use smart glass panels that adjust from transparent to opaque with the touch of a button or app instead of interior walls. This allows natural light to brighten an office space.
- Keep the lines of your furniture and storage options clean and minimalist to allow natural light to reach every inch of your space.
- To give employees and guests privacy, consider partitions and architectural accents instead of walls.
- Use reflective surfaces to maximize the impact of your natural light. Gloss finishes, mirrors and lighter colors all boost light
Use Natural Elements
Bringing elements of nature into your office helps your workforce feel connected to the world beyond the office. Integrating flowers, container gardens, succulents and living walls can not only improve morale, but plants are also fantastic natural air quality monitors. It’s also beneficial to incorporate natural materials, such as wood, brick and stone in your architecture and design to mimic the feel of an outdoor setting.
Consider installing a waterfall or fountain for the cool, refreshing sound of flowing water. Water features can work in tandem with living walls and container gardens to double the impact. While water features don’t always require a huge amount of space, they do require some forethought for plumbing and proper construction.
Open Floor Plans
Wide open floor plans are a common theme when you’re designing a modern office space. Think about reconfiguring workstations to offer both private and public areas that transition seamlessly to allow employees to experience the environment that supports the work they do as they’re doing it.
Remember, some employees may be in the office every day, while others may only be in once a week or once a month. So, while not every employee will have a dedicated desk, they should have a designated space to work from.
Sometimes an office space suffers because no one quite knows how to utilize it. Knowing in advance how you want your space to function can help you make the right design choices the first time. A smattering of tables and chairs does not always make a welcoming space. The fluid workspace areas usually support both working and socializing.
Sliding doors are a great way to create transitions between public and private areas without taking up too much space. There are many options for material, size and hardware/function, from semi-permanent installations to rustic barn door styles.
Lounge Comfort Areas
From foosball to beer on tap, some companies are known for their legendary perks. Not every organization prioritizes this level of downtime, but there are a few amenities no company should skimp on.
We think every workplace space needs a basic kitchen space with hot and cold beverage options. It can be as simple as an appropriately scaled coffee and tea service and a water cooler, or as complicated as an espresso bar and a fridge stocked with juices, seltzers and fresh fruit.
Quality Conference Rooms
Conference rooms are arguably one of the most important spaces in an office. Employees, stakeholders and clients alike congregate in conference rooms. A strategically designed conference room can create an inviting and productive environment. Simple video and audio upgrades can make video conferencing with remote employees more productive. You can even implement LED video walls and interactive whiteboards for zoom calls and collaboration.
The conference room at Barry Callebaut Offices & Chocolate Academy has clean lines and modern technology, making it a great meeting space for employees and clients alike.
The Best Office Interior Design Examples
bluebird bio – bluebird bio used environmental graphics to create a unique wayfinding system through their office.
InterGen – InterGen utilized frosted glass walls to complement the natural lighting and serene ambience in their common area space. The walls provide privacy, while also creating a natural feel to the space.
Etsy Brooklyn Headquarters – Etsy’s office features a fresh and funky common space that’s on brand without showcasing the logo (check out those unique light fixtures). Industrial elements mix with live greenery, natural wood accents and pet-friendly floor surfaces for a casual feel. Natural light and a mix of seating areas facilitate all kinds of work and conversation.
Raheen Library at Australian Catholic University – Bold colors and clean lines offer a vibrant, productive common area with a casual approach to workspaces and a place for conversation and collaboration.
WeWork Yeouido Station – The main lounge is casual, professional and welcoming with pops of color that give the space character. It has specific areas for conversation (sofas) and breakout collaboration (booths) in addition to small and long, multifunctional tables. Airy and light, this space is augmented with invigorating live greenery.
Get Started Today
With broad expertise across a wide spectrum of industries, we are equipped to assist at the start of a new project or update existing spaces. DGI’s experts offer the solutions you need to bring your modern office design ideas to life.