Step 5: Decide Your Look and Feel

With this last step you’re on the homeward stretch with your office fitout. And the good news is – this is the fun stuff!

A number of factors will determine the look and feel of your new office or premises. Key among them are:
•    Organisation character and brand values
•    Available space
•    Technical specifications
•    Budget

Choosing the right designer is critical at this point. You want to be sure that you’re working with a design team that really gets what your organisation is about and understands your hopes and expectations for your new premises.

Again, it makes sense to draw on the expertise and experience of your fitout partner to identify a design contractor that can deliver what you’re looking for. A great deal rides on design interpretation when you get to the construction stage, so you want to be sure too that your designer and your fitout partner will work together well, keeping your interests (and your budget) top of mind at all times.

Ok, design time! To get into the swing of things you need to know what you like. Once you’re feeling inspired then you can start to get creative:
•    Browse online – start by Googling some keywords and as you find things you like dig deeper. You’ll find thousands of images of fitouts of all description online and you’ll quickly get a sense of what appeals and what doesn’t.
•    Visit comparable organisations – visit the offices of other organisations (ideally those working in the same sector or in a similar line of business) to see what they’ve done with their space. Your fitout partner should be able to arrange site visits to previous clients so you can see examples of their previous work.
•    Brainstorm ideas – bring in a team of staff and management representatives, your designer and your fitout specialist and start playing with ideas. Some of the best solutions to tricky design conundrums can come out of freeform problem-solving.
•    Concept drawings – have your designer sketch up some concepts for how different design elements might work in different locations throughout the premises.
•    Mood board – ask both your fitout partner and your designer to bring in samples of different materials that could be used in construction and for various fittings. Identify which options you prefer and check how they look together.
•    Spec your finishes and furnishings – choose your floor coverings, paints, soft furnishings and all furniture as you’re developing your design, so that your look and feel is consistent throughout.
•    Photo-real visuals – as decisions start to fall into place have your designer prepare images (photo-real stills or 3D animations) of key areas so that you can visualise exactly how they will look when they’re built.

So there you have it. Five steps to a successful office fitout. Allow time to move through each step in succession and you can be confident that not only will everything go smoothly during construction, but you’ll be extremely happy with the end result.

Bryan Palmer