Commercial Interior Design

The first impression counts especially when it comes to commercial interior design within the world of interior designing. Whether it is a shop, an F&B outlet, a retail space, showroom, office design or any other commercial place where you do business, the fact is design counts.

If your goal is to give your customers and clients a wonderful experience then you’ll definitely need an experienced interior designer who knows how to bring out your desired look and feel for your business premise.


Engaging A Commercial Interior Design in Singapore

Commercial spaces are all about catering to a large number of the public – retail outlets, offices, lobbies, cafes, and the list goes on. These spaces are more than just maximising how to use them, it also catches one’s attention and makes them feel welcome. To achieve these aspects in commercial areas, it is advisable to consult a commercial interior designer. The benefit of having an interior designer from Singapore is, they understand the needs and requirements of clients. And at the same time, they know how to work within a given budget.

This page will focus on the topic of what to take note of when engaging companies that specialise in local commercial interior design to suit different business needs.

Problems With Commercial Interior Design

Hidden Costs

Some interior designers are not transparent with the costs incurred when visualising your design and may only realise them or inform you after they have completed the project. This is a sign of unorganised project management that may lead to delays and cause disputes from the initial design agreements. With that said, ensure that everything is documented from start to finish of each engagement you have with your interior designer. Suggestively, there should be a black and white signed agreement document on every detail and stage that is being discussed.

This is so that both the client and designer can check back any details they might have missed or forgotten before carrying on with the project. The cost must also be laid out on each material being used, instalment costs, furniture and so on without any changes. Log on the dates for every meeting and get regular updates from the designer on the progression of the project.

Poor Quality of Work

As clients, you should be allowed to check on the quality of the work the designer has put on for the project. Before ending your contract with the designer, check every detail to ensure there are no defects and change of materials or design plan that you have no discussed. It is also good to take note of how to maintain certain materials and furniture and whether the designer can help if anything were to happen to them within the near future. After all, you have paid a large sum of money for their services, and as a client, you should be a hundred per cent satisfied at the end of the day.

There are cases of terrible experiences in which designers do not complete the project at all. This usually occurs when clients pay for everything upfront. A piece of good advice will be to ask the designer if there are instalment plans in which you can pay them specific amounts as the project is being carried on. This also avoids any hidden costs that may occur along the way as there should be an agreed amount of the price paid in each instalment period.

Unlicensed Interior Designers

It is highly advisable to research your commercial interior designer before engaging with them. Companies that have dealt with many clients before would have portfolios, testimonials and respond to enquiries promptly. They should also be under trusted licensing – in Singapore, there are a few such as BizSafe, HDB Licensed Contractors, Building and Construction Authority, CaseTrust – all of which they would willingly display on their website. With these licenses, should there be any disputes, they can be reported and tracked by the authorities.

Getting recommendations from other clients or companies that have used particular commercial interior designers are also advisable as it shows the designer has completed projects and has satisfied clients.

Finding the Right Commercial Interior Designer

Depending on your needs, there are many aspects of a commercial interior designer that will be the most suitable one for your business. For the retail interior design, an attention-grabbing and bright design of the front space would attract more customers. Cafes put importance on the ambience of the interior that most likely will keep customers engaged inside that result in profitable business. In most cases, the interior design of a company plays an essential role in establishing a corporate image that is easily recognisable and popular.

The following qualities of commercial interior designers would apply accordingly to each client’s individual business needs.

Asking the Right Questions

Commendable interior designers would ask the right questions when they survey the space for your business. Whether it be an office or a restaurant, they will be thorough enough on what can or cannot be done to space. At the same time, they can offer solutions and ideas that they have in mind that will benefit both in design aspects and your business.

Giving A Different Perspective

For business owners who do not have much knowledge of interior design, they might have unrealistic ideas. A trustworthy commercial interior designer would not give an immediate yes to all those ideas. They would come up with different solutions or other options that their clients can consider. What one visualises in their mind may not look ideal in reality, and they would be the first to spot that as they are ones equipped with that high level of knowledge and experience in design.

As a client, keep an open mind to these suggestions. If the designer is experienced enough, they would be able to convince you in going along with designs that you have never thought of and see it from a different perspective. After all, the end product of the project would also reflect on their job as a designer, and they would not want to add on to their portfolio a project that they are not proud of. It is a win-win situation for both designers and their clients – neither would want their business jeopardised by any plans or how their space looks.

Contractors Versus Interior Designers

It may be cheaper to engage a regular contractor, but interior designers are paid and expected to provide services that go beyond only knowing space structures. They not only possess the knowledge of what is best for the aesthetics of your space but also help visualise articulately on the concept or theme according to the purpose of each client’s business.

They also have contacts, resources and workforce that can provide clients with various options when it comes to advising on furnishing and materials. Thus, this saves your time and the hassle in looking for them from other companies. Most interior designers also have subcontractors that know how to handle wiring, plumbing and tiling. Hiring a designer is a one-stop packaged deal.


With all the information laid out regarding commercial interior designers, they could be an aspect to consider, especially for first-time business owners with no prior knowledge to fully maximising your space. They are great convenience as you only need to engage with one resourceful designer whom you trust and sees your commercial space vision eye to eye. Give your space that personalised look as they can design according to each individual’s own needs so you can expect your business will be given a unique edge.

Additional Design Tips

Monochromatic Auberge Within Chinatown’s Traditional Shophouses

The Chinatown of the past often celebrates the old and admonishes the new. It is all in good interest as it prevents the dilution of heritage and tradition. But in envisioning a stronger culture, it needs to grow and that is what needs to happen. Not that it should be determined to be a bad thing – the traditional neighbourhood will be the home for a new landmark in the Hotel Mono, an independent hotel determined in its resolve to stick to tradition with a strong monochromatic design-conscious statement. Led by one of the old design stalwarts in Singapore, William Chan from Spacedge Designs, the former budget hotel had done away with the common practice of conceiving the spaces with respect to the surroundings and reinvested in a distinctive black and white configuration that stands out against the medley of colours in the surrounding vicinity. The re-design was a radical transformation but it was something that Chan felt needed to happen, “I wanted to throw away the rulebook and not pander to the clichés of nostalgia and tradition associated with Chinatown yet do something simple yet different that still communicated a Singapore identity”.

Redesigned into a prestigious hotel

On its exterior over the row of six conservation houses, black and white fall in line – the street level is coated in black and the upper levels in white. Through the entrance, hotel guests will find themselves in similar surroundings. On one side of the wall, Eero Aarnio’s ball chair in the colours of black and white partially extends out from the wall, while another oversized bench over six meters flanks the opposing wall. Hotel guests can then choose from the 46 rooms that occupy the row of shophouses and check in at the reception counter that looks as though it is suspended in mid-air.

Budget and other constraints are always factored

Another conscious decision made was Chan’s agreement to move away from simplistic use of wallcovering and carpets in common hotel designs – in considering the budget constraints and the locality of the hotel, natural materials like concrete and tiles were used for the floorings and walls.

As its name suggests, the family room is ideal for a household that requires a large enough space to room together in a shared apartment. Equipped with two queen-sized beds across each other in a 25-square-meter allotment, parents can tend to their little ones or swap stories among extended families in an inviting area undeterred by boundaries. To catch a breather, hotel guests can lounge on the sofa or look out onto the street below from the traditional arched windows. In the bathroom, guests can let off some steam under the overhead rain shower or sit by the windowed ledge gazing at the people on the street. But to allay any questions concerning privacy– wooden shutters can be reined in to conceal the room from the outside world.

Every commercial design is unique

From the single room to the studio room, to the loft, no two rooms are ever the same due to the unique layout within the shophouses; however, each of the seven room types has its distinctive features. The loft is at the highest price point due to the 35 square meter space afforded to room a queen-sized bed, a king-sized bed and a sofa bed. Families are welcomes in this room as the duplex loft offers ample space for rest and play between both floors. Like many of the rooms in Hotel Mono, the same black line motif is visible across the rooms – in the loft, it is introduced as custom furniture, a cuboid structure that evolves into a clothing rack and staircase that leads to the upper deck. Up above, guests can get some shuteye in a queen-sized bed. Although the upper level may not be as ideal for guests diagnosed with somnambulism, glass balustrades keep any pillows or guests who toss and turn from falling over.

Over in the studio room, business guests who mix work and play will appreciate the segregation between work and rest areas. Guests can turn the studio room into a makeshift office where a desk positioned next to the windows is at the disposal of the global worker. When it is time for bed, guests can then climb into the queen-sized bed positioned within a cosy alcove. When the blinds are drawn, ambient cove lighting enhances the soothing vibes and illuminates the room for a soft warm glow to permit light reading. In the bathroom, the floor and wall tiles coalesces into a fine brown spray that was specifically chosen as a subtle reference to the buildings’ history.

Design driven option

Well since the Hotel Mono opened its doors to guests towards the end of 2016, hoteliers are taking a step away from the polish-and-shine skyscraping hotels for a truly authentic and design-driven option. In addition to never being priced out of a place to call home, the tourist crowd will indeed be swayed by Hotel Mono’s sterling proposition of staying within a monochromatic format and unique architecture within a heritage shophouse in the heart of Chinatown. While it lacks in colour, it makes up in sevenfold of personality.

From its previous function as a budget hotel, the six traditional shophouses will now room weary travellers in a design-led hotel with strong roots to the Singapore identity.

The family room is designed for families with children or larger groups of friends. Two queen-sized beds on opposite side of the room meet in the middle for hearty chats late in the night.

The loft is the premium option with two queen-sized beds and a sofa bed to accommodate a large group of six within the room. Its most striking feature is without a doubt found in the black metal cuboid structure that evolves into a staircase that leads to the upper deck.

In the lobby, hotel guests can check in at the reception counter that looks as though it is suspended in mid-air.

The loft is the premium option with two queen-sized beds and a sofa bed to accommodate a large group of six within the room. Its most striking feature is without a doubt found in the black metal cuboid structure that evolves into a staircase that leads to the upper deck.

The loft is the premium option with two queen-sized beds and a sofa bed to accommodate a large group of six within the room. Its most striking feature is without a doubt found in the black metal cuboid structure that evolves into a staircase that leads to the upper deck.

The studio is perfect for global business traveller. Work can be conducted in a conducive environment next to the window while sleep is designated within
the cosy alcove.

Hotel Mono,
Spacedge Designs,