The Top 8 Trending Designs for Small Offices


Office design has come a long way in the last several years, especially as more and more employers realize that office design matters as much as what your business has to offer. The days of conventional spaces with sterile colors or rows and rows of cubicles aren’t necessarily over, but things are changing. Modern office design is becoming a priority for more businesses, as it has a host of benefits to provide. 


The Benefits of Modern Office Design

The number one benefit to prioritizing a modern office design is that when you create a well-functioning, highly intentional work environment you will likely improve employee productivity, morale, and more. Countless studies have been done on the importance of productivity in the workplace and how a team’s happiness is linked to its output. A happy workplace and happy employees have been shown to result in lower medical costs, more efficient work, and less absenteeism. When it comes to office design, it’s important to create a space that facilitates productive and purposeful work while leaving room for creativity.

Another benefit to prioritizing modern office design is that it can often serve as a recruitment and retention tool. In recent years, the demand for talent has far outpaced supply. This means it’s more important now than ever before that employers understand their workforce’s needs, desires, and expectations. To stay ahead, many savvy employers are leveraging modern office design to help retain and even recruit top talent. Designing a space that fosters collaboration is one of the first steps to building thriving cultures. And your company culture is crucial to your recruitment efforts and employee retention. Without a positive culture, you can say goodbye to top-tier employees. 

Finally, modern office design can help to transform several business operations. At the end of the day, an ineffective workplace design can negatively impact both employee experience/performance and business revenue. A poor office layout can restrict communication patterns, which impacts the ability to collaborate and share ideas. Your office design should work for your employees, and it should best aid them in getting their work done. Otherwise, your office might be holding your company back. 

It’s evident that modern office design has several benefits. However, for some businesses, it seems like a lofty goal, but that’s not the case at all. Making even just small adjustments and changes to your space can have a big impact. 

8 Modern Office Design Trends for Small Offices

Here's a look at the eight top modern design trends  — specifically for small offices — as well as some tips on how to incorporate these designs into your space.

  1. Ergonomic Furniture
    If you’ve ever sat on uncomfortable office furniture, you may already know how much of a distraction it can be. It’s hard to be productive when your back and hips are in pain. Studies have shown that workplace ergonomics can not only help increase employee engagement and productivity, but support wellness through posture improvements, spine realignment, arthritis prevention, and the reduction of work-related injuries overall. This is a big reason modern office designers promote ergonomic and active furniture like:
    • Adjustable-height desks
    • Sit-stand chairs
    • Chair balls
    • Bike chairs
    • Standing mats
    • Sit-stand desks
    • Treadmill desks
    Investing in ergonomic furniture is an easy way to make modern design decisions without completely overhauling your current space, especially if you’re working with limited real estate. 

  2. Biophilic Design
    A growing trend in office design more recently has been the shift to creating work spaces that mirror living spaces. Biophilic design bodes well for this trend by utilizing different natural materials and elements to help employees feel more connected with nature, which can again, boost productivity, creativity, and morale. Biophilic design can mean building out more windows for increased natural light or including a tasteful water feature, but for small spaces (and tight budgets) biophilic design might mean encompassing the intentional use of plants and vegetation, natural wood tones, and other various materials in your office design.

    Bringing live plants into the office not only improves air quality, but can help to reduce stress, anxiety, and fatigue among employees. Plants are an inexpensive way to update your office design at your own pace. Incorporating a few plants when you see fit could include anything from greenery-draped walls to succulents on window sills, or even potted plants on desks.

  3. Integrated Technology
    Whether in a conference room, at individual desks, on the go, or at home — there is a growing demand for seamless tech experiences. New generations of employees are expecting more tech-friendly, modernized workplaces that allow them to maximize their productivity wherever and however they are most adept. This might include upgrades like power connections on tables, desks, and seating areas, furniture with wireless charging capabilities, smartboards, easy-to-use tools for video conferencing, cross-device integrations, and cloud-based and virtual collaboration opportunities for those on the move. These days, it’s crucial that you look at how technology can improve the workplace and how you can integrate it into your design.

  4. Adaptable, Flexible Furniture Solutions
    A major trend in modern office design has employers shifting away from more traditional office design and into more space variety. This means incorporating a more diverse space with flexible furniture pieces, including desks, chairs, workstations, and tables that can accommodate different working styles and preferences. For many employers, this means providing employees with the ability to change their scenery during the workday, whether it be working at a desk, in a conference room, at a high-top table, or in a lounge area. This kind of flexibility is a key way for a collaborative workspace to be successful. Updating your office, even if you’re working with limited space, will mean being intentional about the furniture and its arrangement to maximize mobility, versatility, and personalization.

  5. Creative Space Dividers
    Another major trend in modern office design is moving away from closed-off spaces and embracing more open, creatively divided spaces. Glass-walled rooms, glassboards, and other unique systems allow people to feel connected while still being in separate spaces. Bringing down drywall and doing away with rigid space planning allows for more light to travel through the office. Well-done partition solutions can help to keep an office space organized in a non-cluttered way, opening the door for more sophisticated design. And much like flexible furniture, glassboards, wall systems, and partitions can offer up highly flexible capabilities for offices with limited space — making it possible to adjust office layout or create new areas and rooms easily.

  6. Strategic Use of Color
    A simple way to implement a more modern office design is through the strategic use of color in your space. Whether it’s the walls, chairs, or other accessories — find colors that complement your space, emphasize your brand, and help to influence the thoughts, feelings, and performance of employees. Color is an important factor in modern office design because it is linked to improving collaboration, inspiration, productivity, and morale. And when strategically utilized, it does not have to be an expensive adjustment. For example, if the majority of your office has a neutral palette, consider adding accent colors. Shades of yellow can make people feel optimistic, making it a great choice for high-energy, creative spaces. Whereas green promotes harmony while boosting creativity and blue encourages a sense of trust, communication, and efficiency. When considering color, it’s important to figure out what you need in your workspace and choose a color scheme that fits your needs and brand.

  7. Soundproofing for Productivity
    A drawback to certain styles of modern office design is the lack of noise reduction. Office space still needs to be functional, regardless of stylistic choices which means many employers need to embrace noise reduction solutions. Whether that’s through the use of acoustic paneling and noise-absorbing screens. Getting creative with how sound travels in a space and being intentional about noise pollution can help improve employee productivity. Some areas of your space should promote talking and other areas might be better suited for quiet, deep work and modern office design takes those factors into account for functional and aesthetic solutions.

  8. Creating a Home-Like Atmosphere
    Today’s office space is more than just a place to do work, it’s often a place where people connect and collaborate. This is prompting more employers to look at modern office design and make creative adjustments to traditional office space. More companies are leaning into the trend of more “home-like” atmospheres, allowing workers to feel at home while still on the clock. This might include adjusting lighting, infusing more color and texture, and creating spaces for socialization and even recreation. The idea behind creating a homey workplace is to foster a relaxing and stress-free work environment. Having couches and lounges in some places in the office allows people to take breaks comfortably and socialize easily, which can help to combat burnout and fatigue. 
The Takeaway

Your office space is far more than the physical place where work is done. And the design of the space matters just as much as what your business has to offer. It’s all connected to the well-being and morale of your employees, which is critical to your business's success. This is where many employers have begun to modernize their office design through savvy furniture solutions, creative space dividing, biophilic design factors, and so much more. Several trends in modern office design are becoming more of a priority for more businesses because they provide a host of benefits to their employees and overall business operations. 


Ready to refresh your office space?

Reach out to Kentwood Office Furniture and let’s chat about your project needs. We’re here to provide comprehensive furniture design services, manage space planning, finish selections, workstation visualization, and so much more. 


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