Understanding the Difference of Residential and Commercial Interior Design


Interior design is all-encompassing, related to everything and anything, embellishing an interior space. However, there are significant differences between residential and commercial interior design. 

Although commercial and residential interior designs have distinctions, both aim to enhance the space to achieve a more functional, healthier, and more aesthetically pleasing environment for the occupants. Their discipline and approaches vary significantly as well. We will look at some significant differences between commercial and residential interior design.  

Design Requirements

One of the significant differences between commercial and residential interior design is the design requirement. Residential spaces are all about creating a liveable, inviting, and warm living space.

Clients have a personal touch with their own unique and specific needs to fit their taste in decor and lifestyle. Most residential interior designs have personalized spaces based on homeowners’ concepts.

Interior design for commercial spaces usually involves more extensive areas than residential ones. Its interior design deals with technical design requirements, even basic design concepts. There are various things to consider, like unique lighting, commercial window films, flooring, and walls. It would be best to install roof hatches to inspect and maintain valuable building components such as an HVAC system. Most commercial spaces and various essential building components are on the rooftop.

Commercial spaces also have specific unique design requirements based on their needs. For instance, an airport, museum, library, or office space will require an interior design that will suit their functionality. 


The scope of work is another difference. In the interior design for residential condos, private homes, and apartments, the architect or the designer will focus on clients’ concepts, design, and needs rather than business functionality like commercial spaces.

Interior design in commercial spaces mainly influences the different business brands and themes and functionality as it plays a significant role in the business success. It means that its interior design has a broad scope and responsibilities to deal with more technical details on different functions and concepts. For instance, an architect or an interior designer will deal with commercial spaces functionality like schools, spas, hospitals, restaurants, county clubs, malls, bank office spaces, etc. 

Commercial interior design will prioritize safety and function without sacrificing style and aesthetics. For example, a cruise ship requires an aesthetically pleasing interior design with breathtaking views and modern decor to maximize its business profits. However, interior design should ensure the safety of every guest while making the space functional with modern pleasing architectural design. 

With their architectural design, most interior designers in commercial spaces can transform the failing business into a booming one. They know how to technically create an area that makes customers and clients come into place. Some designers turn the company back into life with its technical and modern interior designs. 


When designing interior spaces in residential structures, there is no need to think about the brand image of its design. Instead, interior designers focus on meeting clients’ concepts, requirements, and needs. 

On the other hand, in commercial spaces, the interior design will consider the business brand and styles. Most commercial space clients will require a specific and unique requirement representing their business label to account for and guarantee their investments’ returns. Most designers will keep up with the latest architectural designs to achieve the best results. 


Commercial interior space design has more sub-specialties than residential spaces’ interior design. For instance, shopping malls require various interior sub-specialties like hallways, food courts, and individual stores that require different interior branding designs that fit their preferences. 

It is easier for them to market their talents and show off their design style by specializing in particular interior design in commercial spaces. It is also an excellent way to define their brand competing with the business world. 

Designers always plan a more productive and appealing space in residential or commercial interior space designs by considering mindful safety regulations. Though the local code requirements are different, their intent will somehow force creative methods and likely direct the final design of the space. Most of the time, interior designers will assess the area they are working with or completely understand the clients before executing any interior design.