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Why Offices are Starting to Look and Feel Like Home

Homey Office

Homey Office

Installed Hand Crank Conference Table

Installed Hand Crank Conference Table

Open Office Concept

Open Office Concept

Why are our commercial spaces beginning to feel a lot more like home? Read this article to learn more about the trend and homier office designs!

Home-like office design is a strategy that can help attract talented workers.”
— Formaspace
AUSTIN, TEXAS, USA, December 18, 2017 / -- Close your eyes and imagine the setting: On the left are inviting overstuffed sofas that practically beg you to sit down for a spell to read your weekly reports. Behind you is a brass-trimmed bar with an impressive Italian espresso machine that makes the perfect flat whites to fuel those impromptu afternoon get-togethers. A few steps down the hall is an exercise room, kitted out with colorful yoga mats on a gleaming hardwood floor, which beckon you to stretch out and meditate. Sounds like the ideal, well-appointed luxury home, doesn’t it? Yet, thanks to major changes in commercial office design trends, more and more of these residential home design features are finding their way into commercial office spaces. Today, we ask the question: what’s driving architects and designers toward creating comfortable office spaces that feel like home?

How to Spot the Trend of Residential Interior Design Infiltrating Commercial Office Spaces

Not sure which design elements make your workplace more like a homey workplace?

Check out our handy field guide:

Field-spotters Guide to Homey Offices

- Warm, natural wood surfaces, textiles, and carpets designed to counteract traditional cold, sterile office environments.

- A wider variety of “curated” furniture selected to make each area within the office unique, e.g. fewer “bulk orders” of identical systems furniture.

- Convenient placement of “chillax” areas with comfortable sofas and seating for reading and impromptu meetings.

- Informal, residential-style interior lighting, such as free-standing table lamps.

- Communal dining tables and coffee/drink bars for employees to meet in informal settings.

- Art and collectible conversation pieces that reflect employee talent, taste, and interests.

- Non-traditional functional spaces, such as gyms and exercise rooms, showers/changing rooms, as well as private areas for nursing mothers or religious worship.

- Convenience offerings, such as on-site kitchen food service, concierge services for errands (such as laundry), shared vehicles or commuter vans, and electric vehicle charge points and bicycle storage for bike commuters.

Take a Tour of “Homey” Offices with Residential Design Elements

Let’s take an inside look at some of the companies using residential interior design to transform their offices.

Pinterest Employees Incorporate Collections from Home into Their Office Decor

As you might imagine at a company that helps people create visual collections of their favorite ideas and projects, Pinterest, the seven-year-old San Francisco-based social media company, has an eclectic look that reflects their mission.

The Pinterest office vibe is very casual and homelike. Not only do the employees eat together at large family-style communal dining tables, they also bring their passions from outside of work into the office, including prized collections of favorite artworks and antiques.

Home Design Elements at the Pinterest Office:
- 1950s dinette set brought in by the founder to fill original space.
- Display galleries for employees’ personal collections of typewriters, radios, and other collectibles.
- Communal dining at the company kitchen mess.

San Diego–Based Real Estate Company Hughes Marino Uses Residential Design Elements to Help Build Company Culture

For commercial real estate brokerage Hughes Marino, gutting out their 12,000 plus square foot headquarters was the best way to create a homey office environment that matches the company’s family-style culture. The result is an award-winning design by Gensler that supports Hughes Marino’s vision that employees should be “happy and successful, not just in work but in life.”

According to COO Shay Hughes, “We are a family business, and our team members treat one another like family. We wanted them to feel at home. We wanted our guests to feel at home. We were committed to creating a space that felt cozy and welcoming because everyone knows that happy employees are productive employees.”

Home Design Elements at the Hughes Marino Office:
- Open floor plan with a “Living Room” at the center that flows from one functional area to another.
- Groupings of comfy sofas for seating employees at all-hands
- Baby-grand piano and guitars for impromptu jam sessions.
- Residential-style lamps and other lighting elements that add warmth.

Tour de Force: the Headquarters of Minted, where the Company Mission Aligns with Its Curated, Residential-Inspired Office Design

If you are a fan of unique designer products, you may be familiar with Minted, the SF-based firm that sells a wide range of furnishings created by small-scale artisans and designers.

Naturally, the Minted headquarters in Jackson Square is kitted out with many of the products that it offers for sale. Not only is it an inspiring place to work, this “eat your own dog food” approach also allows its employees to familiarize themselves with its roster of designers and products. The result is a warm, comfortable and casual home-like office atmosphere that thrives on an artistic, industrial look which is at the foundation of the company’s creative spirit.

Home Design Elements at the Minted Office:
- Look-and-feel of a converted loft with industrial look elements softened by home-like elements.
- Overstuffed furniture, floors, and wall-coverings kitted out in natural designer textiles.
- Floor with bleached herringbone pattern underscores industrial heritage of the building.

The bottom line: Not only is Minted’s office attractive in person, it allows them to leverage their investment by serving up authentic “Instagram Moments” on social media that promote the company’s products. Importantly, this also helps get a message out to potential employees that share Minted’s passion for art and design.

This brings us to our next point: Home-like office design is a strategy that can help attract talented workers.

Why do it? Attracting Employee Talent is the Holy Grail for Creating Home-Inspired Office Designs

As we’ve written about recently, the commercial office furniture market is changing rapidly. Sales of traditional office systems (e.g. cubicles and the like) are making way for more casual, homelike furniture choices, such as comfy sofas and tables and communal desks and benches.

What’s the reason for the change?

Read more ...

Kelsea Marshall
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