Pandemic lockdowns put shared workspaces on the back burner. One thing is certain… a rebirth of sorts is called for when people are asked to go back into the office. A new era is upon us and we must seize the opportunity to strike while the iron is hot! In 2023, office design trends aim to craft the ideal workspace where the focus is on functionality, creativity, and efficiency.
Whether you work in an office or in retail, the following trends compiled by our experts will surely help convince your boss to renovate your commercial space!
1. The office as a gathering place
Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, we look at commercial office spaces differently. According to Statistics Canada, 31% of workers currently work from home. As a result, office spaces have been redefined as a social places made for team exchanges and work. Days at the office have become an opportunity to break up the isolation associated with long months of working from home during the pandemic.
In 2023, the office is focused on innovation, conversations between employees, and meetings with clients. Communal work areas have become more important than individual offices, same with conference halls and peer office space.
2. Commercial space with a modern twist
The modern style is a force to be reckoned with. Inspired by the philosophy of architect Louis Sullivan, it respects a very simple principle: “Form follows function.” Above all, office furniture must be functional. This means scrapping unnecessary ornamentation in favour of geometric shapes with smooth edges and clean lines. This style also finds inspiration in the organic shapes and soft curves found in nature and embraces a variety of materials, from wood and leather to wool and teak.
The modern office will therefore have a sleek aesthetic with minimal furnishings and white or pale walls that keep the focus on the architecture and furniture. There must also be ample windows. You can still integrate touches of brown, grey, or even something a little livelier to contrast the natural materials used. In this respect, mid-century-type furniture is a must! And for even more originality, choose a loft-inspired style that combines a modern aesthetic with small vintage and creative details.
3. Classic style: A timeless trend
As the name suggests, the classic look never goes out of style. Unlike the modern look, it values more detailed mouldings and trim. And there’s nothing wrong with that! The watchword is the play on textures and materials. For example, choose antique mouldings, wooden floors, and contemporary furniture with a sleek design that doesn’t overload the space.
On the other hand, you could also pick furniture with extremely detailed touches, such as gilded handles, and discreetly add some decorative antiques for good measure (vases, chandeliers, silverware, etc.). However, that would mean opting for simpler walls and cladding.
Regardless of your take on this style, wood remains a great idea for your main pieces of furniture. When it comes to colour, favour light tones like white, grey, beige, and taupe, which can contrast window treatments or carpets, as well as some added touches of brighter colour in the décor.
4. Natural wood for warm workspaces
As in years past, wood remains a favourite for interior designers in 2023. It fits well with all styles, if you know how to match it with other materials. It also gives a soft and sophisticated look to any space. This material will bring warmth to your commercial office, whether you decide to add it to walls or furniture or make it the central element of the room by going with wood floors or walls.
Depending on the style you want in your office, raw or laminated wood works in both sleek designs and more sophisticated styles. Don’t forget to combine it with other materials like metal, concrete, or even marble to avoid a boring and uniform look.
5. Transparency in design and sourcing materials
Let the sunshine in! We want the light after months of being cooped up. Panoramic windows are a real treat because they enlarge the space and give us a dose of Vitamin D for good measure. A bright workspace is more stimulating for employees and brings a bit of nature indoors.
Use glass partitions as dividers where possible if there are limited windows in your office. This will help refract and spread light. Bay windows in place of full walls as well as mirrors and clocks made of glass or another transparent material will add more dimension to the room and open up the space. Moreover, the trend now is open and flexible work areas, which create a warm and friendly atmosphere in the workplace.
That said, transparency doesn’t end with the design you choose. If these last few years have taught us anything, it’s that buying local and sustainable products is important. Therefore, one of the top 2023 trends that is here to stay is opting for environmentally friendly materials whenever possible. Why not apply this trend when renovating your commercial space by choosing recycled or locally sourced products?
6. Relaxation areas to boost productivity
Happy and rested employees are the most productive employees. They need to be kept motivated and in top shape to reduce employee turnover and burnout. So, be sure to incorporate elements that help people unwind and relieve work-related stress.
An office design trend that achieves this and more is the addition of a rest area. This space gives colleagues a chance to mingle and develop relationships. It also provides a great opportunity to stimulate creativity. Couches, armchairs, ottomans… Everything is arranged perfectly to provide employees with a few moments of relaxation between meetings.
Many businesses are now providing designated spaces for yoga and meditation, which are proven to increase concentration levels when practiced on a regular basis. They are also adding green spaces and indoor gardens to promote relaxation. Some companies have even added spots to take a nap or play games! If you take the time to adhere to the standards, you could even attain a WELL certification. This certification is based on medical science that assesses the well-being of work environments.
7. Resimercial design: At home in the office
Who says you have to work in a traditional office with soulless cubicles and swivel chairs? A combination of residential and commercial, resimercial design creates the ideal setting: a casual comfort reminiscent of a trendy living room in a professional workspace. Resimercial design reflects a new labour market ideology that advocates for flexibility and offers tools adapted to employees’ needs during the day. Maybe you’d like to start work in your office and find yourself on a communal sofa at the end of the day?
A well-designed resimercial office includes different textures to create an authentic and human style through carpets, sofas, and ambient light instead of blinding fluorescent lights. Particular emphasis is placed on using tasteful decor to give a space personality. Resimercial design is a wonderful choice for companies wanting to improve employee well-being, which in turn improves productivity and creativity.
8. Nature indoors to help the space breathe
Plants are beneficial in any indoor space. Besides being good for workers’ mental health, they add a fresh touch to office décor. Adding some green plants or flowers livens up any room and will ease the cold vibe coming from computer monitors, desk lamps, and other fluorescent lights that often give the space a dreary look. Some potted plants in offices, suspended macramé planters, flowerboxes in common areas, and even a green wall at reception will complete the desired warm effect.
Whatever the type of plants you decide to bring into your commercial space, make sure there are big windows that let in enough light. And, above all, assign someone with a green thumb to look after them to avoid watching them die a slow death.
9. Design elements in natural colours
Natural colours remain on trend, in line with the plants and the presence of wood that bring a bit of the outdoors inside office spaces. Instead of the usual shades of grey, choose shades of sandstone pink, light green, beige, or light brown that are easy on the eyes and contrast the coldness of technological devices that fill our offices. Green is a favourite as it really complements touches of wood and brings energy to the space, while not being aggressive or distracting in any way.
Soft beige also enhances a minimalist look and gives rooms a warm ambiance. This year, blue is also on trend because it provides a calm and safe work environment. Avoid loud colours and instead pick cobalt, royal blue, or midnight blue.
For your relaxation areas, we suggest a few splashes of yellow to add energy and positivity to the work environment. To sum up, go with light colours for large surfaces and, if you like, and if the overall style permits, use small touches of brighter colours on accent walls.
10. Practical and aesthetic: Acoustic cabins and carpets
Fans of open concept office spaces can rest easy as that trend for corporate spaces is not going anywhere. However, this type of design does have one drawback: it lacks privacy. Team meetings could disturb nearby employees trying to concentrate on their own individual workload.
To address the problem, designated brainstorming spaces (or OfficePods) can be installed. Some companies like MyOfficePods or Framery offer this kind of office equipment, and it can even be built by one of our Verified Contractors! These pods are like mini conference rooms – they can host a small group of employees. They are designed with glass walls to create a feeling of openness while still encouraging productivity in an enclosed space.
Your design choice has to include proper soundproofing to prevent noise pollution. Whether it’s separating individual offices into cubicles or installing carpet, consider noise-absorbing materials and layouts to improve concentration.
In short, office and commercial space trends are rooted in a desire for community. The goal is to have a gathering place outside the home and a style that reflects the company’s personality. It can be daunting to navigate all the trends and make the right choices, so our experts have put together some trends you should avoid.
- Grey everywhere. Leave room for the softness of nature and refined tones, and avoid the cliché of sterile gray everywhere you turn. Be modern but add some life to your workspace. Your commercial space will not have its own character if you don’t stray beyond greys and whites with some small touches of colour. It will look the same as any other office…
- Carpets with bold patterns. Carpets with large and colourful geometric patterns are great but for relaxation areas only, not the entire office. There should be an overall sense of neutrality that leaves ample room for employees to concentrate and draw on their own imagination. When there is carpet with bold patterns, eyes are drawn to the floor and not to natural elements in the space and windows. Or even worse, it could become a distraction.
- Impersonal bathrooms. Your office bathroom is just as important as the rest of the space. On any given day, we spend less time in there than other parts of the office, but a water or bathroom break is part of everyone’s daily routine, so it might as well be a pleasant one. You can also make it memorable for clients who visit, ensuring they leave with a great impression of both incredible offers and the space!
- Open areas without defined space. Open areas allow an office to breathe but they must be well-defined. Don’t be shy about adding couches, armchairs, or desks to divvy up the space. Specify which spaces are for work and which are for relaxation and keep them separated to avoid bothering those who are trying to concentrate.
- Massive furniture. Even if you decide on a classic style for the décor of your office or commercial space, avoid massive furniture that is visually bulky with lots of bells and whistles. Simplicity is key when it comes to office furnishings, even if you want to go with antiques. Don’t overload the space and focus on ergonomics!
Timeless trends in office and commercial spaces
There are just some office trends that are timeless or age well. Here are some sure bets in office and design layout.
- Mouldings. Mouldings can really add some personality to the room. Baseboards, crown mouldings, chair rails… No matter what you choose, they’re a timeless feature that works no matter how you incorporate them.
- Pale wood. Whether you use it as a design element to make shelves or for your furniture, pale wood adds softness and beauty regardless of where it is found.
- Glass partitions. In addition to being on trend this year, transparency is an essential element of any successful company, both in terms of the physical workspace and company values.
- Architectural lighting. Don’t use recessed fluorescent lights. Instead choose stylized lighting that is out of the ordinary. Suspended fluorescent light fixtures add a decorative feature that personalizes your commercial space.
- Industrial style. This works if you rent office space where vents, pipes, and concrete are everywhere. The style can be breathtaking if done right. It adds a lot of personality to any office.
A design in your image
It is important to have a design that reflects the values of your company, both for clients and employees. Having an attractive workspace will make people happy to come in and work. Get inspired by these trends for your own office renovation project or maybe even for the construction of your own new workspace.
Are you looking for more ideas before you get started? We invite you to browse through our completed commercial projects where we have gathered a wide range of photos from our clients’ renovation projects, along with their price tags, all completed by 53-point Verified Contractors.
Marilena Tricarico has been a key figure in the interior design world for over 15 years. Her expertise and designs have been featured on the hit TV show Décore ta Vie for 10 years. Today, she shares her knowledge of the renovation industry with RenoAssistance as a video content producer and host.
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