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The 7 Guiding Principles Of Great Office Interior Design

Interior design involves integrating different elements into the decoration of a living or commercial space.

Space, line, forms, light, colour, texture and pattern - these seven elements essentially underpin good design thinking, and maintaining balance is crucial to creating a functional yet visually appealing environment where your employees can thrive.

Project: Traveloka Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


From the walls and ceilings to the floor and column of the room or building, understanding the space you have available is necessary to successfully plan, design and allocate it.

In interior design, balance between the positive and negative spaces is imperative. A space occupied with furniture or decorative items effectively contributes to a positive space, while an empty space is a negative space.

An overly cluttered office or a sparsely decorated workspace can skew the balance of the entire interior. Hence, your interior space planning needs to take into consideration equilibrium in a space for a more pleasing and contrasting effect.

Project: Traveloka Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


Lines exist in three forms - horizontal, vertical and dynamic

Formed by tables and other office furniture, horizontal lines imbue a space with a sense of stability. They are often inculcated into the design interior to achieve an illusion of a wider and longer room.

Vertical lines on the other hand embody freedom and strength. Accentuating vertical lines helps to direct the eyes upward, making the room ceiling seem higher than it actually is. Just observe the effect that the doors and windows have on your office space.

If you are looking to inject energy and vibrance into your workplace, the use of dynamic lines is a good interior solution. Their zigzag and curved appearance lend a soft touch to the stiffness of the horizontal and vertical details.

A professional interior designer should be able to make tactical use of the furnishings and structural layout of the space to construct contrasting lines that promote harmony and unity in the workplace design.

Project: Brunel Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


Form refers to the shape of a space or the outline of any three-dimensional objects within the space, and can be categorised into either geometric or natural forms. Geometric forms can be characterised by hard lines and square shapes. Often seen in man-made structures such as furniture, their angular exterior conveys strength.

However, overwhelming use of geometric components can contribute to the perception of a rigid work environment where employees find their creativity and productivity being stifled.

On the contrary, natural shapes are mainly manifested in more organic elements like plants. Unlike geometric forms, their rounded appearance denotes a sense of softness.

The application of circular forms can thus act as a complementary detail to more angular shapes to smoothen out the space and provide it with a more amicable touch.

Project: Unruly Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


Whether natural or artificial, your lighting is what sets the mood and atmosphere in a workplace. Without it, the other interior design elements in your office will recede into the background.

A healthy combination of both natural and man-made light is necessary to keep the office pleasant and conductive throughout the working day.

Good workspace planning should allow for an abundance of sunlight to enter the office via the windows and doors.

Artificial lighting is also used to offset the remaining amount of requisite lighting needed to better perform a specific task. This is known as task lighting, with desk and table lamps being a common task lighting fixture in the workplace.

Accent lighting and mood lighting are two other types of artificial lighting that can affect how you experience the space.

The purpose of mood lighting is to elevate the entire feeling and quality of the workplace while accent lighting is used to emphasise particular items in the office such as potted plants.

Hence, one needs to strike an ideal balance between the quantity of natural and artificial lighting in the office to create a specific feel, mood and style.

Project: Whispir Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


Like lighting, colour can either rejuvenate or debilitate a workforce. It is also the element that reconciles all the other elements in the room and influences how small or large it is perceived as.

Selecting the right colour palette for your office can impact how your employees feel at work. For example, sky blue increases calmness and boosts productivity; sunny yellow stimulate creativity; while red and orange are known to emit positive energy.

Your colour choices should hence go beyond mere visual preferences to express the spirit or attitude you wish to cultivate at work. This significantly impacts how employees perform.

When it comes to the relationship between colour and spaciousness, an interior design tips is adorn smaller spaces with lighter or brighter colours and darker colours for large space.

A smaller room often look bigger when imbued in light-toned or vibrant colours. That said, you want to add depth to an already large area and darker colours do just that.

Project: BNI Singapore (Images courtesy of OSCA)


Texture in interior design alludes to the tactility of a surface. This element may be separated into visual texture and physical texture.

Visual texture is the impression that a surface exudes from being observed by the eye alone. To demonstrate, a photograph of an unpaved road is imagined by viewers to be coarse and bumpy. In reality, the surface of the photograph is flat and smooth upon touch.

Physical texture is when the actual textures creates depth and interest within a space, making it visually pleasing to observers. By integrating texture into your office design and decor, you are adding feeling to an otherwise arid space.

Project: Unruly Singapore (Image courtesy of OSCA)


Pattern is a repetitive decorative element that combines lines, forms and textures. You will usually find them on wallpaper, fabrics and furnishings in the office .

Due to their repetitive nature, patterns lend continuity to a space and can liven up a room. That said, implementing pattern cannot be done on a whim. You need to properly consider the size and theme of a space before incorporating the right patterns.

If you have a small space, avoid over-embellishing as this will only inundate the space. Instead, introduce patterns that feature vertical or horizontal lines that will bring a sense of depth and width to your space respectively.

At the same time, large scale print work best in a large space and provide a distinct focal point in the office.

The patterns you employ should also fall in line with the thematic design of your office space. A nature-inspired workplace for instance will benefit from having simple leaf prints, whereas geometric and abstract prints help to complete a contemporary interior.

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