Office Design Trends For 2020

Office Design Trends For 2020

As the year draws to a close, we are excitedly looking forward to the office design trends of 2020. Color, sustainability and inclusiveness will be stealing the limelight this year. We’ve done some research, and we’re now ready to share these industry trend predictions for the coming year:

  • Vegan-sourced, organic and recycled fabrics with bold, clashing color palettes
  • Environments designed with physical and mental diversity in mind and more focus on work-life integration
  • Workspaces with modular, moving parts and more outdoor settings
  • More solutions to combat the privacy crisis in open office plans
  • A resurgence in informal working environments

Sustainable Fabrics & Environmentally Conscious Materials

Sustainable fabric is already making serious waves in the fashion industry and we’re expecting it to move into the realms of interior design. Commercial environments are often the first places we see these shifts. We will be seeing more synthetic, manmade materials specified and more sustainable, low emission, animal-friendly fabrics like organic cotton, jute, bamboo, recycled wood and re-purposed plastics. The result will foster a more low VOC office environment.

  • KnollTextiles is proud to offer a large selection of modern environmental fabrics, consisting of 49%+ recycled content or 75%+ natural fiber
  • Natural fibers should include cotton, wool, silk, mohair, velvet, and linen
  • There are a wide range of PVC-FREE, TPO and NON-PHTHALATE VINYL wallcovering options on the market today
  • Check with a LEED certified designer to confirm what is available in your area

Inclusive Space Planning & Product Selection

As the modern workforce continues to diversify and span more age generations, the demand for more inclusive workplaces is growing. Business owners and designers can no longer ignore diversity within the floorplan. More than just legal requirements and industry standards, an inclusive workspace is a moral obligation to ensure employees feel mentally safe, equally trained and physically able when navigating their workday. Selecting products based on skills and physical needs has been an option that is now becoming a requirement for workspace design.

  • Sit-Stand desking is a great option for this trend
  • Altering meeting spaces to incorporate standing or leaning options increases attention span and focus
  • Provide a mix of seating options in common areas since floor seating and bean bags may only accommodate a small segment of your office
  • Be mindful of personal task lighting

Work-Life Integration Encourages Collaboration

Our private and professional lives are becoming more and more integrated. Flexible work often means we’re spending more time ‘at the office’ than ever. Workspace design is reacting to this ongoing shift in culture by introducing more social spaces, workcafes, games rooms, rejuvenation zones and even meditation areas into the office. We’re expecting to see this trend expand into more creative work zones and makerspaces within the open office layout that may include:

  • Fitness and yoga spaces with treadmill desks, balance ball seating and gym facilities onsite
  • More domestic living conversation areas instead of formal reception and meeting areas
  • The transformation of the formal conference room into a retro space that multi-tasks for meetings, training and breakaways
  • Resimercial designed breakrooms with full amenity kitchens
  • Outdoor spaces with grills and fire pits for after-hours social time and gatherings

Added Privacy Provisions

We all know that the biggest drawback to open office design is the noise and the privacy crisis. Office acoustics have become of paramount importance to ensure employees can find peace and quiet when it’s required. However, with open plan spaces and co-working still burgeoning, adequate privacy remains a challenge and designers are rising to it.

  • Expect to see more shielded, single-person facilities such as pods, booths and high back acoustic furniture emerging
  • Take a look at your current office design and create intentional personal spaces with low noise levels for individual focus and confidentiality
  • Phone box style pods are being integrated into office design to provide instant options

Optimize Your Outdoor Spaces

We’ve discussed bringing the great outdoors in with biophilic design throughout office spaces to break up hard surfaces and provide some brightness for areas that do not have windows. This is an effective alternative but you just can’t beat the real thing. More and more businesses are starting to embrace their outdoor surroundings by transforming rooftops into functional, well-equipped al fresco work settings. Other things you can do include:

  • Open up a dark stairwell by turning it into a greenhouse with plants and an open to sky view to bring in more light
  • Add movable glass walls to create a rooftop oasis that expands options for work and breakout spaces
  • Create intentional outdoor spaces with casual dining areas, fire pits and grills for after-hours mingling. Your smokers will appreciate this instead of having to stand outside huddled around the back door!

Increased Adaptability & Flexibility

Digital nomads are agile and they’re anywhere they need to be, whenever they need to be there. This trend is not changing anytime soon. Providing them with adequate sets and adaptable spaces will continue as furniture manufacturers rise to the innovation challenge of keeping them fully engaged:

  • Workspaces that are adaptable and human reactive create more engagement and productivity
  • Flexible, reconfigurable furniture solutions that can be adapted, moved around the space and reshaped according to the task and need will increase your office functionality
  • Make every space multi-task for meetings, working, training, break time

Contrast & Clashing Bold Color

In terms of color and texture, we’re expecting to see bold clashes, daring contrasts, and big, bright, rainbow-colored hues. In Camira Fabrics’ 2019/2020 trend report, they talk about challenging tradition, breaking boundaries, being brave and indulging in whatever makes your brand unique. Experts are predicting a contrast of soft, organic features with the raw, hard elements of industrial design. As with all interior trends, these can be incorporated into your working environment in various degrees, as accents to the Benjamin Moore color predictions for next year.

You don’t need to turn your office into the Amazon rainforest to reap the rewards of biophilia, nor do you need to repaint every single wall. You can integrate these trends by using eco-friendly wallcoverings to bring in pattern and overhaul your entire color palette in varying degrees to create zones. Your workspace is a great ambassador for your brand identity, so make sure it stays consistent and true to that even when you’re playing around with new textures, styles, colors, and layouts.

These are just a few of the key trends we will be observing over the next year. Some standard office design fixtures will continue to evolve with these trends, including biophilic design, resimercial design, and nomadic/agile working,  so make sure you stay in the loop with these and adapt if you need to. Pay attention to industry chatter about what new hires are looking for so you can stay ahead of the curve on appeal.  It would not hurt to poll your staff once a year to see how they feel about change around the office. Keeping things fresh always boosts productivity and engagement.

Photo Credit – Fig NYC

MEET JULIE SHEAFFER: She can help you explore these trends and keep your office design fresh and inviting. If you are ready for a change, contact Julie at 888-910-3769 x 129 or For more inspiration visit us on FacebookPinterest, and Twitter!