How to Design Your Office Within Your Budget
It’s fun to think about what your space could be. Just imagine what updated technology, a fresh coat of paint or modern office furniture could do. Redesigns can be a time to engage the team and explore wish lists—until Debbie Downer says the B word: Budget. Some call it the “dream crusher,” while the optimist points out that designing within your budget is an opportunity to be creative.
Recently, I was part of an office design planning project where the client was clear about their wants and needs. As creatives, they needed a lot of space for collaboration, production, presentation and brainstorming. And while there were many tools to support their needs, they were all costly. Budget was also the driver of all the decisions we made, forcing us to be thoughtful about materials, construction and fixtures.
Here are the few strategies that helped us design within a budget:
Select a space that will have little demolition or construction. Everything has a cost, even removing a wall.
If you plan on buying new office workstations and furniture, be conscientious about the locations of existing sources of power and data. This is beneficial because you do not need to core the floors to provide power and data, an important line item in your design budget.
Reuse and re-lamp existing light fixtures, or stick with the building standard if you have one. It would be beneficial to consider building standard open office fixtures because they can be purchased in bulk and installation is generally easy for your contractor.
4. Wall Space
Maximize that wall space! My client needed a lot of surfaces for presentations and brainstorming, so we proposed projection screen paint in lieu of an actual screen. We also used marker board paint instead of a marker board, and a magnetic wall covering for pin up spaces. One step above would have been self-healing tackable surfaces which are more durable than cork surfaces, and back-painted glass marker board that acts as a writing surface, while simultaneously bringing color into the space.
5. Millwork + Plumbing
Reuse millwork if you can, and keep your sink where it is. Moving the sink, drain and everything associated with it is a big ticket item. Just think about the amount of work you will need to get it to where you want it. Is it really worth it?
6. Determining spaces
The ability to customize areas was also one of the design criteria we had to meet. We paid special attention to spaces where clients enter, as well as rooms where they interview the agency. Giving those areas a neutral background, modern modular furniture, and providing power and data for future use was non-negotiable. With this design, they can always paint, apply film or accessorize spaces when they need to. Paint is inexpensive and having one highlight color helps with branding, too.
In the end, it is always a good practice to price out your client’s wants and needs, because you can always scale it down when it comes time to make a decision. Analyze the ROI and determine how each investment will affect your team, the company and its future.