The Difference Between Residential & Commercial Interior Design

Devon Willis

Interior design is a vast field that can be divided into many categories, based on various factors like trends, people's tastes and preferences.

The most basic classification can be made on the basis of the type of building for which the interiors are being designed: residential interior design or commercial interior design.

Residential Interior Design

Residential interior design, as the name suggests, refers to the branch of interior design that deals with the designing of the interiors of residential buildings. Most often, designers specialize in work on residential interior spaces, because the requirements of residential design and commercial design can vary. Projects of this kind could range from designing the interiors of a house that is yet to be built (in which case, the input of the client is incorporated at the architectural planning stage), designing the interiors of a new house or redesigning the interiors of an old building.

Commercial Interior Design

Commercial interior design is the branch of interior design that deals with the designing of commercial buildings and businesses. There are various types of commercial buildings, ranging from banks, offices, malls, schools, governmental projects and even amusement parks. Professional designers of commercial buildings often choose to devote their time to projects of a similar kind. For instance, designers who work on retail stores take up work on malls, boutiques, supermarkets and department stores.

Different Needs

The needs of the client and the factors the interior designer has to take into account can differ, depending on whether the building is residential or commercial. In a residential building, the client is an individual or family, and the designer has to take the client’s personal requirements and specifications into mind while working on the living spaces. The designer also needs to provide for the safety of the client and his family, while ensuring that the living space is comfortable and reflects the personality and tastes of the client.

Functionality and Brand Image

In a commercial building, on the other hand, the client is an organization and the designer has to ensure that the building is functional, and that it reflects the organization’s brand image. The definition of functionality can vary, depending on the purpose of the building. For instance, while designing the interiors of a school, the designer has to ensure that most of the equipment is child friendly, and provide appropriate sizes of furniture and other aids; in a hospital, ample provisions should be made for the ill, the weak and the disabled. Similarly, the interior design of a restaurant or coffee shop would be vastly different from that of a government office. The designer also has to keep the governmental and other safety regulations in mind, and provide an atmosphere that helps improve productivity.