The key to your next major design project may be underfoot.

The key to your next major design project may be underfoot.

In any commercial project, there are hundreds of elements that go into creating a complete and unified look. Each piece of furniture, each choice in accessories and accents influences the whole. But there is one aspect of decorating that runs throughout the entire project ? the flooring.

All too often, the flooring is treated as a neutral backdrop to the real design. But starting your interior decorating with carpeting, hardwood flooring, areas rugs or tile chosen specifically to enhance your theme can give the rest of your design a unity and drama that a standard and perhaps less-daring flooring choice cannot match.

Top interior design firms recognize the importance of flooring. When choosing the flooring appropriate for a commercial project, there are a few of the factors a decorator looking for interior design ideas to use on a smaller scale might not need to address, including:

The Visual Impact of Large Spaces

The exact same flooring in a 14′ by 20′ family room versus a 200′ by 400′ lobby will not look the same. Aspects of pattern, texture, color and line that may be obscured or muted in a smaller space will gain significantly greater impact in large open areas. But this doesn’t mean you need to limit the choices to neutral backdrops. Commercial decorators working in larger venues simply need to use those aspects of their flooring choices to their advantage, and design in harmony with that more dramatic background.
Traffic and Wear in Public Areas

Durability over time is a far more significant factor in a commercial setting than in a residential space. When you’re selecting flooring for the project, be aware of traffic patterns, areas in which furniture will be frequently moved (as in a restaurant where chairs will be moved to and from tables), soiling issues from spills, water and dirt, or odor retention concerns from chemicals, cigars or cigarette smoke. Again, this does not mean that interior decorating with carpet or hard flooring needs to be bland. It just needs to be chosen with realistic use issues in mind. Drama is not inconsistent with durability.

Public Image and Branding

Commercial interior design can sometimes be a mixture of artistry and marketing. Consider a popular Italian restaurant chain. Even if a designer were given the task of redesigning an individual site, or perhaps the whole chain, the image of the company as a bit of Tuscany in America limits the flooring choices to that marketing message. Likewise, a development may brand itself as urban chic despite its suburban location. Flooring choices for the model homes would need to reflect that branding to keep the marketing message consistent throughout the potential buyer’s experience.

The flooring choices you make in your next design project can remain a nearly invisible, forgettable background, or they came become an exciting and valuable aspect of the design vision. The choice is yours. The results can be spectacular.