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When out at networking events, or in meetings with clients, our designers at Hatch Interior Design are often asked one burning question, “€œWhat trends are you seeing in offices, shops, restaurants, clinics, and spas these days?”€ So, we thought we’€™d tell you! This is our first entry in the series ˜Commercial Design Trends€™, check back for future entries.

Kruikantoor by Tim Vinke as featured on the Hatch Blog: COMMERCIAL DESIGN TRENDS PART 1 – SMALLER SPACES

Commercial spaces are getting smaller for a number of reasons, read on to find out why. Pictured above: Kruikantoor by Tim Vinke.



In North America we have a nasty little habit – bigger is better. Well, this is one statement that seems to be changing when it comes to private commercial spaces. We are noticing a trend; business owners are selecting smaller spaces. There are a number of reasons for this:

Increasing Rent
As city centers grow and revitalize, commercial spaces have become increasingly expensive. With the cost per square foot on the rise, it only makes sense that business owners are looking to compress their companies into smaller spaces.

Location, Location
As always, your location could make or break your business – a great location often results in a company’s ability to win a larger market share. Depending on your industry you may be looking for a location that’€™s highly visible, located in a popular complex, has street access, or offers ample parking -€“ all of these factors can lead to increased lease rates. We have found that many companies are choosing higher rent spaces in better locations over larger spaces in less optimal locations.

Smoking Lily storefront as featured on the Hatch Blog: COMMERCIAL DESIGN TRENDS PART 1 – SMALLER SPACES

Smoking Lily, a 44 sq. ft. clothing store in Victoria, BC is a prime example of a great location taking precedence over the size of the space.

Slow Economy
It’€™s no secret that the economy in North America has significantly slowed in recent years. A slow economy can, for many businesses, lead to lower profits. Although the economy has slowed, rental rates seem to have increased forcing many businesses to consider smaller locations in order to survive.

Although a future blog entry in this series will divulge further on this topic, there is a huge shift towards spaces considered œsustainable. Although sustainability often refers to a decreased environmental impact, it also pertains to the longevity of a space. Smaller spaces require fewer, or in some cases, smaller furniture, fixtures, and materials. Smaller spaces typically use less energy as well all of these things making them more sustainable.

Watson Desking as featured on the Hatch Blog: COMMERCIAL DESIGN TRENDS PART 1 – SMALLER SPACES

The technological age is driving the switch to smaller offices thus spurring the need for compact, multifunctional desks that are shared by multiple employees. Pictured above: Fusion by Watson Desking.

Again, we’€™ll expand upon this in a future blog entry in this series, but technology has a huge impact on the way commercial spaces are designed and how they function. Businesses are moving towards cloud computing systems, keeping their staff connected with laptops, smart phones, and tablets from any location. This means that fewer dedicated workstations are required, leading to smaller physical business locations.

Specialized Industry
In order to remain competitive, many companies are becoming more specialized in regards to the products or services they sell. Rather than being everything to everyone we are seeing a shift to increasingly focused business models with a more boutique flavor. Pairing down usually allows your business to sell fewer things, often resulting in smaller physical footprints.


A major trend in commercial interior design is the move to smaller spaces. Increasing rent, the pursuit of better locations, a slow economy, a shift to sustainable spaces, a technology driven culture, and specialized business models are all factors that have lead to this trend.

» Need help condensing your business into a smaller space? We can help with effective space planning. Contact Hatch Interior Design located in Kelowna, British Columbia – Sustainable Interior Solutions for the Modern Workplace.

  1. […] last blog post addressed the trend of shrinking office and retail spaces. Among the reasons listed was a move […]

    Pingback by COMMERCIAL DESIGN TRENDS PART 2 – SUSTAINABILITY | Hatch Interior Design on March 21, 2012 at 8:49 am

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