Design 101: If You Build It…

Opening an events venue, updating your office, relocating your restaurant? This month we answer questions regarding considerations for commercial spaces. 

We are looking to open a new events venue and think we have it mostly figured out. What is the number one thing that people don’t know they need to consider? 

Hands down, acoustics. Lighting, temperature, floor plan, these are all things that can be adjusted with any number of effective solutions. But if your space has inappropriate acoustics, prepare for significant headaches. A consultation with an acoustical engineer now could save you a tremendous amount down the road.

Pro Tip: Did you know there are companies who specifically help plan for future musical performances? They can even help you secure the appropriate licenses. And yes, there are different licenses needed for recorded versus live music.

Is there anything we need to consider with lighting other than making sure we have enough? 

Absolutely, making sure you don’t have too much. Light control is a very important issue, especially when you have a space that will be used over the course of a day. Consider where the sun will shine throughout the day. Is there a space which will be occupied and a rising or setting sun will disturb the individuals using it? In the same vain, are there privacy or security concerns that call for the view to be blocked? 

Pro Tip: Allowing patrons to control the window treatments is a popular solution in some establishments, but always consider safety. Loose cords pose a significant strangulation hazard. Tethered cords are better but cordless operation is the preference.

What innovations in the world of commercial design should we consider adding to our project? 

While there are all sorts of interactive technology and expensive goodies out there, a very low cost and easy addition is simply adding charging stations or USB outlets. Not only will your clientele appreciate them, but it saves you from the problems associated with folks surreptitiously unplugging other items to use the outlet.

Pro Tip: People are going to take photos in your establishment, so think about designing a specific “selfie spot” for them to use. Adding your logo and hashtag in the background will help spread your information to your clients’ audience without using any of your marketing budget.

What does it make sense to spend more on initially? 

Our go to answer is typically flooring and furniture, but realistically you need to think about the cost to repair or replace any given item. We have had clients purchase bolts of extra fabric, rolls of additional wallpaper, a handful of spare chairs, all because they couldn’t afford the downtime to repair without a spare or because replacing one could mean every other one had to be replaced concurrently. Even chandeliers may be worth having an extra in the back for emergencies. 

Pro Tip: While we rarely recommend carpet outside of certain hospitality settings for those establishments where it is appropriate, consider carpet tiles in particularly high traffic areas. While not our favorite, it is easy to have a whole stack sitting in a closet ready to pop into place when they’re needed.

We were planning on using grey and white as our color scheme, will we have to worry about it looking dated? 

Nothing lasts forever, and grey and white is without a doubt on the decline in design circles. However, color psychology is about much more than simply color trends. You should carefully consider your branding, cleanability, lighting, and how refraction will make the goods or individuals in the space look. Don’t underestimate the power of green walls to make otherwise perfectly fresh meat take on a sickly pallor in your deli or pink walls to make skin look healthier in a dressing room.

Pro Tip: Visibility is an enormous consideration. Contrast and certain colors can aid visually impaired individuals, busy patterns and other color combinations can greatly increase the risk of injury in a portion of the population. Safety first.

Yaron Linett
About Yaron Linett 28 Articles
Yaron Linett is the principal designer of Formal Traditional, a full-service design firm located in Warrenton. To submit your interior design questions, drop him a note at yaron@formaltraditional.com or visit www.formaltraditional.com.

2 Comments

  1. Great article Yaron. Really helpful tips. We work with venues and also the artists that perform at various venues and you can certainly tell when the above tips were overlooked. Good interior design can improve your roi by attracting more people to the venue.

  2. Great article Yaron. Good interior design definitely adds to the meeting place. If it looks dull and drab it can make you feel dull and drab.

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