Skip to Main Content

5 Design Ideas for the Modern Office

These modern office design elements are more than eye-catching. Use them to support collaboration, productivity, and employee well-being.

Decades ago, the idea of an "office" had a very sterile ring to it. It meant cubciles lined up as far as the eye could see, a color palette of grays and blues (and nothing warmer), and minimal areas for collaborating, lounging, or break-taking.

In today's world, however, thanks to the workplace movement of the 1950s and 60s to make the office feel more welcoming, the concept of an office brings to mind something completely different.
Workplace design has evolved to better accomodate our needs as humans, and not just as workers—and companies are better for it. Even more, with the newfound movement of remote work, the design of an office matters even more. After all, if your workers have the option of staying home, getting them to come into the office from time-to-time means making it an exciting and worthwhile place to actually come in to.
There's no reason to be intimidated by the prospect of designing your company's office. In fact, following a few core modern office desin principles, which we'll go through below, will ensure you get 90% of the way there to building a space that your workers look forward to visiting.

5 Modern Office Design Ideas

Outside of private offices for a company's higher-ups, office interior design hasn't always been a big focus in business. So, why spend time and money on modern office interior design? Trust us, it's worth it, even if you only include a few elements while setting up your office.
Modern office design doesn't need to be exceedingly expensive or elaborate. You're not trying to win an award for the "coolest modern office" in San Francisco or New York City. You’re just trying to keep your employees happy and healthy (and maybe even impress clients). And if you end up with fewer cubicles and more shared workstations, it could even save you money in the process!
What’s more exciting is that some modern office design elements (such as natural lighting and ergonomic workspace design) may improve employee well-being and productivity. And it makes sense if you think about it. Why wouldn’t it be easier for employees to relax and get work done in an office environment that meets their needs?
Here are our top five modern office design ideas to help you give your space a makeover.

1. Natural Lighting or Targeted Lighting

Natural lighting in the office can improve employee productivity, mood, energy, and alertness while decreasing depression. Large windows, more windows, glass walls, and fewer walls will help you let sunlight into the office.
And when that's not an option, fitting light fixtures with light bulbs in the right color temperature and spectrum is effective. Here's a quick breakdown of targeted lighting choices for different settings:
  • Brainstorming spaces and work areas: Cool color temperatures — blue with a spectrum of 4,600-17,000 Kelvin (K) — encourage alertness, good mood, and productivity while reducing fatigue. These also help reduce employee eye strain.
  • Conference rooms: Mild color temperatures (cool white with a spectrum of 3,100-4,600K) are welcoming but still cool enough to provide alertness. They work well in meeting rooms and collaborative spaces.
  • Break rooms and lounge areas: Warm color temperatures (red to yellowish-white with a spectrum of up to 3,000K) create a sense of comfort and relaxation. They help make a space feel intimate and soothing.
When buying light bulbs, look for ones that advertise "natural light" effects in addition to checking for the right color temperature and spectrum. While it might seem easier to light the whole office space with one type of bulb, you'll likely see better results if you're intentional with how you light each room or area.

2. Biophilic Design

Biophilic design is based on the idea that humans inherently need and desire to connect with nature. And you can see it in the way people love gardening, the outdoors, traveling, and the flowing patterns of sunlight created by a cloud-dappled sky.
Unsurprisingly, nature is also good for us, and natural elements in indoor settings can improve our wellness. In the office, this may look like:
  • Large windows, glass walls, and glass ceilings to let in the sunlight
  • Walls, reception desks, artwork, and more made from natural materials like wood or stone
  • Running water features (such as fountains, streams, or waterfalls) in open spaces 
  • Views of nature via windows, photography, or paintings
While some of these design elements (like running water and glass walls) aren't always practical, most businesses can include a few biophilic details in the work environment.

3. Ergonomic Office Furniture

ergonomic office furniture
What is ergonomics, and why does it matter? In short, ergonomics is the science of creating office furniture that fits the body's needs. It's essential in a modern office space, and it matters because it can decrease workplace costs while protecting employee health.
Office desks, chairs, and accessories all play a factor in good ergonomics. Standing desks are another great option, as they give employees the chance to break up time spent sitting. And since sitting for long periods is bad for our health, many employees appreciate the option.
If you want to make it easier to choose ergonomic furniture for your entire office, our Design My Office feature can give you recommendations for your whole corporate office. We told you we're here to help.

4. Cozy Break Rooms and Quiet Areas

Designing break rooms with your employees in mind is an excellent way to show you care. You might draw inspiration from living room design, with sofas and armchairs for employees to relax in.
Offering quiet areas for privacy and noise reduction is also a nice way to support employee productivity. Noise-canceling headphones and out-of-the-way spaces, combined with a cozy home office design, make for a great way to start.
You might also consider offering an outdoor space as part of the break area. Spending time outside is relaxing and good for your health. So if your property allows for a dedicated outdoor space, try it!

5. Hybrid Floor Plan

Many modern offices feature an open floor plan, but as popular as these once were, there's some concern that they lower productivity. Plus, they also reduce employee privacy and storage space. But on the other hand, they're great for promoting teamwork, communication, and coworking.
Instead of skipping the open office design, try a hybrid floor plan. These layouts combine cubicles, cluster workstations, and open office layouts, so there's something for everyone. This way, your employees who need quiet and privacy can have it, and those who thrive in an open office for teamwork can be in their element too!
Adding an open office area to hybridize your space is also an excellent way to increase the number of desks available in a small office.

Bonus: 5 More Modern Office Design Ideas

The five modern office elements above will be enough for most people to start with. But if your inner interior designer is itching to keep going, here are some more ideas to consider:
  • Color palette: A productivity-oriented color palette can make good use of color psychology. For example, light blue, red, yellow, orange, and green can help improve productivity and focus. And for creativity, red, yellow, and orange tend to work well.
  • Minimalist decor: You don't want a cluttered office. Focus on minimalist decor elements to add splashes of color and design without overwhelming the office space.
  • Shelving and security: It is essential to offer your employees a spot to keep their things. For security, you might also include lockers, locking desk drawers, and other ways for employees to protect their belongings. This is especially critical if your workers are only coming into the office part-time, and need a place to store their things for days on end.
  • Workout room: Giving your employees a spot to work up a sweat or do some yoga isn't too tricky, and it can improve their well-being. Consider adding something like a dedicated workout room or an optional weekly yoga class.
  • Local art: Display your company's values proudly by supporting a diverse group of local artists. This modern touch helps tell the world what your company is all about.
These ideas will take your modern office to the next level. If you see a few that would fit with your company, give them a try. Most can be implemented without investing too much at the start.

Ready to Design a Modern Office?

modern office design
Modern office design isn't that difficult to pull off, especially if you use the ideas we've highlighted above. If you include good lighting, natural elements, ergonomic furniture, comfortable break rooms, and a hybrid floor plan in your office, you'll be well on your way to a rave-worthy space your employees will love.
Whether you're setting up your first physical location, moving to a larger office, or just revamping your existing office, buying your furniture from one retailer is usually more affordable. Remember to look for ergonomic designs, and feel free to check out our corporate office hub to make finding the right furniture easier.

On new furniture, exclusive sales and more.

Thank You!