Office Design

Workplace Design Trends: Looking Ahead to 2021

Believe it or not, 2020 is almost over. While the past nine or so months have been challenging, frustrating, and even frightening for many professionals, the arrival of the New Year offers everyone hope for a better future. Just what 2021 will bring for business leaders and professionals still remains to be seen. However, today we’re going to review the current state of office design and take a look at some key workplace design trends that we expect to see both long term and short term. 

Long-Term Office Design Trends

The long and short of it is that COVID-19 will likely dictate much of the design-based decisions business leaders make in 2021. It is worth remembering though, that COVID-19 will not last forever. At some point, businesses will be able to resume “normal” practices. And when that happens, expect a number of new trends to take hold. 

For reference, consider that in the aftermath of the 2008 recession, many businesses decided to renovate their workspace and adopt a new, restoration-hardware style. Similarly, it’s fair to predict that many businesses will be ready for a fresh start in a post-pandemic world –– whenever that becomes a reality. The design world will come up with something to reinvent itself sooner than later, that’s for sure.

Just what those long-term office design trends will be is difficult, if not impossible, to say at the moment. Some remote tech trends will probably stay in place, but employees will likely relish the chance to collaborate in person again. In the same vein, individuals may spend more time in the office in the future, but they may no longer value the residential nature of certain commercial spaces. To explain further, a big design trend before the COVID shutdown was “resimercial” (residential & commercial), meaning that new build outs were trying to make their businesses feel more like home by adding residential touches. It remains to be seen what will happen with the world when people return to offices but we have found some patterns in our research when it comes to 2021 design trends.

Short Term: Creating a Safe Workplace in the Era of COVID-19

Recent scientific breakthroughs relating to a possible COVID-19 vaccine have, understandably, given many reason to be optimistic about their professional prospects in 2021. However, for at least the next few months –– and likely through a large part of 2021 –– many businesses will need to make changes to ensure the safety of their staff and customers. COVID-19 is still going to be with us for a while longer. 

The good news on this front is that many businesses have already taken certain steps to rethink their office space to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 infection and spread. Some elemental design aspects that companies may incorporate moving into 2021 include: 

    • Increased separation between employees. This could take several forms. Some companies may decide to revert to cubicle-style seating. Others may decide to install dedicated workstations with temporary (or permanent) paneling. Open benching and a ton of shared space is on hold for the time being. 
    • Greater use of virtual technology. Odds are, most professionals have already adopted new tech tools to stay connected remotely. Expect this trend to continue even as more and more businesses “open up” again. If your team doesn’t already have access to spaces that allow them to comfortably communicate virtually, it may be time to create smaller meeting spaces where an employee can take video conference calls privately. Or by switching to cubicle-style seating, employees can have more privacy at their desks for video calls and virtual conferencing.
    • Contrary to popular belief, Hot-desking is not necessarily over. This is because the concept means that your space is more flexible. When you have different shifts of employees coming in on different days, you don’t need as many desks – even after allowing for social distancing. Adding sanitizing supplies to each desk will help eliminate fears of passing germs from one desk user to the next.
  • More employee autonomy & flexibility. Though professionals may not be able to engage with each other directly, new office protocols will almost certainly give employees greater personal autonomy. This means that pros may be able to set their own schedules, work remotely, and prioritize their desk as they see fit. With more employees working from home, it may be time to evaluate how much office space you really need and ensure that every portion of your office functions efficiently.

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we have years of experience working with businesses of all sizes and in a wide range of industries. We may not be able to predict the future, but we can help your organization design, build, and furnish an office space that perfectly suits your needs today and tomorrow. Contact us here to learn more and to implement the 2021 design trends.

Office Design waiting room design

Medical Office Waiting Room Design with COVID-19 In Mind

COVID-19 has touched nearly every industry over the course of the last year. However, no group has been more directly affected than healthcare and medical service providers. Indeed, the strain placed on professionals in the medical field over the past nine months has been nothing short of massive. As a result of the pandemic, business leaders have had to rethink the way they use their office space to protect their staff and patients from infection. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to determine how best to optimize medical office waiting room design given the current situation. Still, it is possible for business leaders to make smart decisions about the future of their office space without taking unnecessary risks. 

The Current State of Medical Office Waiting Rooms

The reality of the moment is that medical waiting rooms are changing. Rather than having patients come in and sit down in a public space together, some medical facilities have adopted new means of welcoming and processing patients. Perhaps the most efficient way for medical facilities to schedule appointments is to have virtual check-ins. Alternatively, many medical facilities now require patients to wait in their car (or at least outside of the building) once they’ve been checked in. Further, typical aspects of medical waiting rooms –– like shared common areas, juice and snack bars, and play spaces at pediatrician’s offices –– have been shelved for the foreseeable future. 

The few waiting rooms still in use in medical facilities are likely to be very scaled back. These areas may only accommodate one or two individuals at a time. (I.E. they may only have one or two chairs spaced very far apart or chairs taped off to enforce social distancing guidelines.) Of course, any space where a patient has to wait to see a medical professional should be sanitized frequently and it should be as socially distanced as possible. 

The good news here is that many patients will expect and even welcome these measures. Few patients are going to be upset about waiting in their car, waiting in an isolated area, or going straight to a private area. Note, it is a good idea for medical facilities to inform their patients what to expect in terms of their wait when they make an appointment. Giving them information online –– or even written out on a sign near your entrance –– can help adjust patient expectations and ensure everyone stays on the same page.

Medical Office Waiting Room Design Next Steps

At this point you might be wondering what business leaders can do to improve their medical waiting rooms. Remember that waiting room enhancements are designed to improve the patient experience. However, given the current situation with the pandemic, the key to ensuring a good visit for most patients is keeping them safe and socially-distanced. So the fact that so many medical facilities have taken steps to accommodate visitors remotely is a good thing. In a way, this may even increase the efficiency of a given medical facility and streamline the process for patients. 

For now, the best way to improve medical office waiting room design with COVID-19 in mind may simply be to keep it clean, welcoming, and –– as often as possible –– empty. Adding barriers or reducing seating may help patients who do have to sit in the waiting area feel comfortable. This space can also be repurposed to accommodate for COVID-19 and temperature testing. Again, in a strange way, showing that your team is taking the pandemic seriously can act to assuage the concerns of your visitors.  

In the future, medical waiting rooms may again become a focal point for organizations. And measures like creature comforts and shared areas may again become valuable features. 

Contact Us

At Key Interiors, we’ve partnered with medical facilities for many years and we appreciate the challenges businesses in this industry face. We can work with your organization to develop new office design plans that will serve you well today and into the future. Contact us here to learn more. 

Office Design

Small Office? Ideas to Make the Most of Your Space

Is working in a cramped office causing your workers to feel uncomfortable, less motivated, and less productive? Over the long-term, these issues can have a negative effect on your business and your bottom line. Don’t lose hope! Sometimes you don’t have to move or expand to make your small space be a lot more comfortable.

Ideas for Paint Color 

As you may know, color can play an important role in how our brains evaluate space. Dark colors tend to absorb more light and make a room feel smaller. Alternatively, light colors make a room appear bigger and more inviting. Soft tones of green and blue are especially effective at creating a welcoming atmosphere that also gives the impression of a larger space. And, you may not have this on your list of small office ideas: painting trimmings and moldings with a lighter color than your walls. It can make your small office appear even bigger!

Create Flexible Spaces

Create multi-use spaces. Start with the mindset that each room should have more than one use. You may not be able to have just a reception area – you may need to also use this space for small breakout meetings. Your conference room might need to turn into a place where people can sit to eat lunch. Consider things like movable walls between two rooms.

Another way to double-use space is by encouraging people to move around. Don’t claim a desk and park there. If you’re away from it, there’s no reason someone else can’t sit there. This decreases the amount of necessary desks. Just because there is an increased highlight on hygiene doesn’t mean free address/hot desking is going away. If you keep wipes at every desk and encourage the user to wipe his/her space down when they leave, this will eliminate employee fears. This system also encourages employees to be tidier.

Make Sure You Have Tech

Make sure you have plenty of easy access and fully functional technology for all employees. This makes it easier to have some people working from home and thus decreasing the need for so many people in a small office.

Lighting Ideas 

For years, companies used cheap fluorescent bulbs to light their offices. Fortunately, that’s beginning to change. Not only is fluorescent lighting dull and outdated, but it’s also harmful to your workers. Many employees report feeling more anxious and depressed when working in an environment lit by fluorescent bulbs. Not only does natural and bright lighting help employee mood and motivation but it also helps a space feel larger which helps with claustrophobia in a small office space.

The Bottom Line

Coping with a small office space can be stressful. Rather than just putting up with a cramped workspace, why not improve your surroundings? By following the tips above, you’ll have an office that is more inviting, more spacious, and more productive!

Want to learn more about redesigning a small office? Contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

Office Design

Quality Commercial Interior Designers: 4 Ways to Find the Best One

Redesigning your office or workplace is a major endeavor. It takes time, effort, money, and — perhaps most importantly — the right skillset. Without a qualified interior designer, your renovation project will likely not turn out the way you were hoping. As a result, you’ll need to make sure you find the right person or business to meet the demands of your project. So, how do you know you have a qualified commercial interior designer on your project? Here are 4 key considerations that will help you get started!


Your commercial interior designer must be willing to listen to your ideas and how you want your office to feel. They should incorporate your feedback and specific items that you want in your space. You and your designer should be able to get along well enough to be able to communicate clearly and get the job done to both of your satisfaction.


The best designers or design companies have a diverse portfolio. If you work with a company with several designers like Key Interiors, often they will have a designer who has done something similar to your industry or business. This helps them have a little context and incorporate learning from their previous jobs into your office design. We work with every business from manufacturing to healthcare and more.

Make sure that the design company can take your project all the way. Not every interior designer can take your renovation from the planning stage all the way to the finished product. This is why it’s extremely important to check out interior designer websites to find out what kind of services they provide. Not only will this tell you if an interior designer is a good fit for your project, but it will also help you see which ones will definitely not meet your needs.

Credentials & Certifications 

Check your designer’s credentials either by asking them or checking their LinkedIn profile. Either them or their superior (or both!) should have an NCIDQ certification and a degree from an accredited university.

Ask for a Referral and Check Reviews

Ask to see their previous case studies! Most times the designer will also give you the name and email of one of their previous clients. You can reach out and see how this previous client feels about working with the designer and their final result. You can also check their reviews. Whether you check Google Reviews or even reviews on the interior design company’s website, you will likely find helpful feedback. Needless to say, when you find commercial interior designers with a lot of negative or mediocre reviews, you’d be better served to look elsewhere.


At the end of the day, one of the best ways to find top-notch interior designers is to talk to them directly. You may need to send out a few emails or make some phone calls, but it will help you get the information you need. You can ask about pricing, time frames, and availability. Additionally, you can clear up any confusion you have about their services or other aspects of their business. Finally, talking directly and even inviting them to see the space they will want to see will give you a feel for the kind of results they will provide. If you’d like to learn more about renovating or redesigning your commercial space, contact the experts at Key Interiors today!

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