Commercial Design vs. Residential Design

We’ve seen the trend in interior design where the segmentation between commercial design and residential design is fading. Clients are asking for home offices with a corporate feel, and kitchens modeled after restaurants, and there is a huge demand for boutique hotel bedrooms and in-home spas as bathrooms. In contemporary design, commercial furniture, materials, lighting, and fixtures are used to replicate luxurious commercial environments. Consumer interest in commercial-inspired design has reached such a high that, as an example, the Wynn Hotel in Las Vegas opened a home furnishings store.

This is not a one-way street. Residential elements are also creeping into an increasing number of commercial designs as clients ask for their commercial spaces to “feel more like home.” The natural melting of the live-work-play community is growing as more people want to live closer to their workplace or, in some cases, in the same building. New studies about productivity and innovation have prompted employers to offer employees a more comfortable and personalized workspace.

We have lived so long by the distinctions of the two “types” of design, that at times, a transition into something more ambiguous is overwhelming.

Residential Design:

The first misconception about residential design is its simplicity. First, residential design begins as a partnership between the architect and interior designer making sure that the home is safe and structurally sound. A designer who primarily works in homes will sometimes specialize in a particular area such as the kitchen, offices, bedrooms or custom furniture and home appliances.

Interior design projects sometimes involve planning entirely new construction, renovating an existing space, or historic renovation which can include adding or elimination of entire walls, designing ceilings, window locations, lighting, technology needs, appliances, and more. Only once the basic structure is finished can the designer begin choosing the right textures, colors, and layout. The interior designer makes the home livable, creating a comfortable environment in which to relax and carry out daily tasks.

Commercial Design:

The commercial design follows the same process. Architects create buildings with a robust infrastructure, ensuring that it meets local building code regulations before the designer can begin with tones, textures, and furnishings. However, the larger spaces sometimes demand a greater responsibility for structural integrity and functionality. Commercial design also requires greater infrastructure needs. These buildings need bathrooms for employees and visitors, elevators for people and heavy freight, parking lots, and cafeterias.

Everywhere you go has been carefully designed and created with a distinct purpose and plan. Further complicating the design plans, designers often also incorporate marketing tactics to influence behavior. For this reason, there are numerous specialization areas associated with commercial design.  Designers specializing in buildings like restaurants, clubs, hospitals, and corporate buildings.

Despite their differences, there is no denying that both interior and hospitality designers are realizing the trends that are taking over. From industrial working-living spaces to hotel design, designers are learning to pull insight from the other side. Home décor has taken on many aspects of hospitality design, and hospitality design is leaning towards making hospitality feel more like home. We’ve come to learn that design should be less about the spaces and more about the clients. Too often, designers define themselves by the types of projects they do, when in fact, designers of interiors all respond to customers various needs and deliver project-specific solutions.