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Commercial Office Renovation Guide: Checklist & Remodel Ideas

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Author: Sylvia Mauro | Senior Vice President
Commercial Office Renovation Guide: Checklist & Remodel Ideas

The office renovation process can be both exciting and stressful, so it’s important to have a detailed plan in place as soon as possible. We’re here to help guide you through the most important steps of an office remodel. From identifying your top priorities and determining your budget and timeframe to assembling the right team and creating a communication plan, we have you covered with our top strategies for a successful office renovation.

Check out our detailed renovation tips below and be sure to download our Office Renovation Checklist for a quick reference!

Identify Your Office Remodel Goals

If you’re planning an office remodel, you probably have at least one goal in mind. What you might not realize is how everything else may be affected. For example, if you’re looking to transform your office into an open concept layout, have you considered how your employees will adjust? Without cubicles or border walls, sound can travel, which can create noise disruption that distracts employees and hinders productivity.

To clearly define your renovation goals, take the time to carefully think about where you’re having trouble in your current office layout. Here are some questions to get you thinking:

    • What does the workforce look like?

Are your employees remote, in-person or a hybrid of the two? Consider if every employee will need a desk, or if hot-desking is more beneficial. If there are remote or hybrid employees, don’t skimp on conference room renovation. It’s important to consider the needs of remote employees, especially during meetings.

    • Do you need a new layout?

Open office layouts are everywhere, from Silicon Valley to rural suburban towns. This type of office design encourages collaboration and can prevent silos. However, you’ll need to thoroughly blueprint a new layout and consider where each employee will be located in order for this plan to work. You don’t want to put salespeople who are always on the phone next to employees who need quiet in order to concentrate.

    • Do you need more audio visual integration?

Are you looking to implement or enhance audio or visual capabilities for a conference room or boardroom? It’s amazing where technology has taken the modern office, so it may be time to invest in some technological improvements.

    • Do you need better sound management?

If noise travels faster than the speed of light in your office, you may want to consider investing in sound masking or acoustic panels. These can help you control sound levels so that your employees stay focused and visitors aren’t distracted.

    • Do you want a more visually engaging environment?

Are your walls white and empty? Does your space feel dull? You can liven up the space by incorporating wall art or corporate and environmental graphics to match your branding. Taking the time to select fabrics that match your brand colors or artwork that includes photos of your team shows pride in your company and makes your office welcoming and memorable.

    • Do you need better communication for visitors?

If you’re in a large office or a hard-to-navigate space, adding wayfinding systems is a great way to help visitors find where they need to be. You can also incorporate digital signage to communicate company announcements, play videos or host webinars.

    • Do you want an energy-efficient office?

If you’re adding technology, incorporating certain types of products can help make your office much more energy efficient. For example, LED video walls require 40% less power than projectors, LCDs and plasma displays.

You can also ask your employees if there are any specific changes they would like to see. They may have had issues you’re unaware of, so getting their opinion can only make your office better. They’re going to be working there too after all! Plus, your office renovation can serve as another way to attract and retain employees.

Create an Office Renovation Project Plan

Think about future company growth. Could you need more space in a year? Will certain employees need private offices? Do you foresee a need for more conference rooms or meeting spaces? It’s important to assess your current location for any advantages or amenities you may not have considered. Could you save money by moving to a different floor within the same building?

It’s also important to consider whether you own the space, or if you lease and the length of your contract. Just as you expect your employees to have a five-year plan, make sure you have one for your company that’s reflected in the renovation plan.

Consider Average Costs to Renovate Office Space

Office renovation costs will vary, depending on a variety of factors such as location, type and size of the renovation, and cost/quality of materials. An article from RenoQuotes states that outsourcing work, such as an architect or contractor will cost about 20-25% of your budget.

The same article provides a breakdown of average renovation costs:

  • Lighting: $120–$180 per light fixture
  • Floors: $2–$15 per square foot
  • Walls: $12–$180 per square foot
  • Kitchen: $6,000–$31,200
  • Bathroom: $18,000–$24,200

Commercial office space construction also depends on the building size.

  • Single story: $313 per square foot
  • Mid-rise: $562 per square foot
  • High-rise: $660 per square foot

The cost of painting can average $0.50 to $0.80 per square foot or $55 to $65 per hour.

As you can see, there is a wide range of costs per renovation. Please note that these are average costs, and are subject to change frequently.

Determine Your Renovation Budget

You may want to do everything at once, but a complete office renovation project may not be in the cards right now. What are the costs/benefits of renovating all at once or in phases? Having flexibility with your schedule may save you money in the long run. Either way, it’s important to crunch the numbers and think about how your office renovation project will impact employee productivity – and the bottom line.

You can also look for areas where you can cut costs. For example, glass whiteboards may be aesthetically pleasing but they are also expensive. Instead, you can explore other types of collaboration tools, like interactive whiteboards. These are equipped with the latest technology and can be easily transported, unlike glass whiteboards. Plus, you can use them as a collaboration tool in unison with your video conferencing software, making them a much smarter investment.

It helps to do your research first to have a ballpark estimate of costs for things you may not be familiar with. For example, if you’re looking to price a LED video wall for the first time, you may not understand the labor and parts that are involved as well as their associated costs.

Sample Budget

Here is an example of a simplified budget, rounded to the nearest whole number.

Percent of budget Price Pricing Example(2,000 square foot San Francisco commercial office space)
Architect/contractor 20% $74,592
Flooring $3.17 (per sq foot) $6,340
Lighting $3.91 (per sq foot) $7,820
Paint $6.9 (per sq foot) 13,800
Glass/Walls $172.5 (per sq foot) $345,000
Labor 10% $37,296
Total $484,848

Additional factors to consider:

  • Technology budget: Are you installing new or updated technology? Are there any additional costs, such as training or onboarding?
  • Price of furniture: This includes shipping and delivery fees.
  • Taxes
  • Cost of labor
  • Building or state fees

Setting an office renovation budget can be tricky, but with the right research and planning, it can help set the project up for success.

Think About Sustainability

One of the latest trends in building design is sustainability — and incorporating green initiatives into your office renovation can save you money. A resource guide from the Green Building Alliance includes a list of funding opportunities, and the Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy offers information on tax incentives for energy efficiency upgrades in commercial buildings.

Other sustainable cost-savings ideas include installing:

  • Smart building sensors
  • Eco-friendly building materials
  • Energy efficient lighting
  • Natural ventilation
  • Solar panels
  • A green roof or wall

Assemble the Right Team

You can’t renovate your office on your own, so you need to put together an experienced team. There will be specific building codes and regulations that you might not be aware of, so consulting with the pros is always your best bet.

The types of contractors you need will ultimately depend on your project, but some of the most common include:

  • Electricians
  • Architects
  • Plumbers
  • Audio visual experts
  • Interior designers
  • Large format printers

To make sure you work with reputable partners, you should ask for references or to see a portfolio of their work. Expect potential contractors to provide a detailed overview of their plans, an accurate budget, frequent progress reports and any other specific details you may need.

Internally, you should also appoint certain members of your team to be involved in the office remodeling process. You’ll need point people to be in direct communication with your contractors, so project statuses and directions remain clear.

It’s important to seek help from someone who understands all aspects of an office renovation – from soundproofing and acoustics to audio visual needs and environmental graphic design. DGI Communications is fully equipped to help with all of your office design and digital communication needs. Plus, the addition of ACT Associates to DGI enables the delivery of unbiased AV consulting services. The ACT Associates team includes experienced, dedicated, independent technology consultants, with a broad background in AV systems design.

Compile a Schedule & Timeline

The scheduling of your project will need to work for both you and your partners. If you have a strict timeline, like needing extra space by a certain date to accommodate an influx of new employees, let everyone you’re working with know about it.

Create a Communication Plan

It’s important to have all involved stakeholders (and employees) on the same page, which is why we recommend creating an all-encompassing communication plan. Figure out how often and through what means you will keep everyone up to date. Will there be daily check-ins? Weekly meetings? Detailed emails sent to employees?

However your scheduling works out, keep your employees in the loop. A quick company meeting and routine project status update will go a long way.

Ensure That Employees Aren’t Disrupted

In addition to meeting your deadlines, you also need to consider how your employees will be affected by working in an active renovation site. Are there going to be major disruptions to productivity? Will there be any potential safety issues for employees? It may be difficult, but you can try to schedule renovations after office hours to avoid any conflicts. You want your employees to be well-adjusted and productive, but the reality is that an office renovation project can be distracting and disruptive. It’s important to be as proactive as possible, clearly communicate the timeline and minimize possible disturbances to your staff.


Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

When you think of an office renovation, you’ll likely consider layout, construction and technology upgrades. While this is all true – and important – you should also think about finishing touches that can spruce up your office remodel and take it to the next level.

Office accessories can pull together a newly renovated space and provide a lasting first impression. Think about bringing in potted plants or flowers, new lamps and light fixtures, or artwork.

You also want to consider the building’s exterior. Does the landscaping need an upgrade? Do the signs need a fresh coat of paint?

The renovation process can be long, but keep your eyes on the future. And make sure you download our Office Renovation Checklist to use as a reference.

The team at DGI Communications is happy to help you navigate the renovation process! Contact us here and we’ll share our industry expertise.

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Sylvia Mauro | Senior Vice President

Sylvia E. Mauro has been with the DGI Communications since 1998. She began her career at DGI as a customer service representative and later became the manager of the sales support team and installation departments. Since 2009, Sylvia has served as a senior project manager and account executive for several of DGI’s top clients. As a member of the executive team, Sylvia is instrumental in informing the vision of the company from both a marketing standpoint as well as improving the customer experience.

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Office Renovation Checklist
How to Get Started with Your Office Renovation
For a quick, printable reference sheet, download our Office Renovation Checklist
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