Commercial vs. Residential Interior Design: What’s the Difference?

home office with beautiful interior design

home office with beautiful interior design

Homes and businesses are constantly evolving. As the needs of society change, so do the demands for interior design. The two most popular types of interior design are residential and commercial.

Residential interior design focuses on designing living spaces. On the other hand, commercial designers work to create a functional business environment.

The biggest difference between the two types of interiors is that commercial designs typically cater to an audience outside of just your family, while residential designs focus on your own needs primarily.

Residential Interior Design: Meeting Personal Needs

Interior design encompasses a wide range of activities. Residential interior design is one subset of this broad category, defined by its focus on residential homes.

Residential interior design is the process of designing and decorating a home. This includes picking out furniture to choosing paint colors. It’s about creating an environment that reflects your personality and style while still being functional for you and your family.

It often includes things such as designing furniture layouts, and coordinating materials like wood and fabric. It also entails choosing fixtures like lights and window treatments to reflect the style chosen.

Residential interior design is an art that can be found in many homes all around the world. It’s a process of carefully designing every detail, from the paint colors to the furniture and even down to how each room flows with one another. Without it, homes would feel like they were thrown together by accident rather than designed with intention and purpose.

Commercial Interior Design: Focuses on Public Spaces

office with beautiful commercial interior design

Commercial interior design is the process of designing and planning a space that will be used for business purposes. A commercial interior designer needs to take into account many different factors. This includes the size, shape, location, budget, and purpose of designing the space.

They also need to consider what type of work or activity will be taking place in this space. Think about all those office buildings you drive by every day with their uninteresting lobbies. It’s usually because an architect-designed them without considering how people would feel when they walked through the door.

Commercial interior designers are tasked with understanding how each element can affect customers’ perceptions about what the company offers. They have to be able to understand people’s needs in order to create spaces that will make them want to spend their money there.

Commercial interior designers must also know how different types of businesses work. This will allow them to create spaces that help those companies do better in their market niche. The most important thing is matching your customer’s tastes with your creative abilities.

What does Commercial and Residential Interior Design Have in Common?

You might think that there is little overlap between commercial and residential interior design. However, if you look closely, the two are not as different as they seem.

Some interior designers engage in both commercial and residential interior design. Both types require the very same set of fundamental skills. Such skills are the following:


Sketching is a process that allows commercial and residential interior designers to quickly and easily experiment with various ideas, possibilities, and solutions before investing time and energy into expensive materials or starting work on their final project.


creative office interior sketch come to life

Digital Imaging

Digital imaging is used to create realistic, lifelike renderings that help designers highlight their work and sell ideas to clients. Digital imaging also allows for various different perspectives than what can be achieved with traditional sketches or blueprints.

This new way of designing has transformed the process from one-dimensional drawings into three-dimensional renderings. This has allowed a more accurate representation of how a space will feel and function. With this new tool, commercial and residential designers are able to present themselves as complete professionals who understand the latest trends in commercial and residential interior design.

Computer-Aided-Design (CAD)

interior designers looking at computer aided design

There are many ways in which CAD can be utilized to make commercial and residential interior design easier. The most common way is the use of 3D modeling software, with a rendering engine and an animation program. This allows designers to see how their design will look when finished.

This is perfect for both small projects like furniture placement or large-scale ones such as buildings and rooms. Using CAD also helps designers plan for spatial constraints by providing accurate measurements while designing. This saves time on construction because there’s no need to go back and measure after everything has been built.

Building Codes

The first thing to know about this one is that there are two types of building codes: commercial and residential buildings. The difference between them is how they affect your personal space as opposed to your company’s property or other people’s property.

Commercial buildings, while not having any requirements when it comes to what type of material can be used, do have regulations on accessibility and safety standards for bathrooms, kitchens, doors, and windows, among others.

Residential building codes differ from commercial because they consider things such as fire ratings and stairways when designing homes. There are also different sets of rules depending on where the area is.

With this, interior designers must be knowledgeable enough about these building codes to avoid violating anything. Interior designers need to comply with these rules to ensure that everything will turn out smoothly.


a team of interior in a group discussion

Regardless of whether the designer is into commercial or residential interior design, having excellent communication skills is a must. If you are thinking about becoming a professional in the industry of interior design, it’s important to know that being an effective communicator is vital. A good designer has to be able to listen carefully and ask questions to understand what a client needs before they can give them guidance on how best to achieve their vision.

They also need to be a good listener and have an eye for detail and design. Good communication skills are essential when working with people in their home or office spaces.

Wrapping It Up…

The interior design world is divided into two distinct camps: Residential and Commercial. Each side has its own set of intricate guidelines, but the biggest difference between them lies in the customer base

For residential designers, you’re catering to one person who will live in the space for years to come. On the commercial side, a project could be completed as quickly as six weeks with an entirely different type of clientele.

Some restaurants need their seating plan reconfigured after a renovation and hotels where every room needs new furniture sets because they’re hosting events all year long. If you thrive on repetition or love designing spaces from scratch, then it’s probably best to stick with residential interior design!

Have you ever dreamed of having a beautiful home? If so, your dream can come true with the help of our residential interior design services. We specialize in designing homes that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. Our designers will meet with you to discuss your needs and desires for your new space. Together we’ll create a plan that meets all of your requirements while fitting within your budget. Contact us today for more information on how we can make this happen!