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Salvaged casette tapes create a mural: a creative cost-saving tip for your commercial space.

Interior Design, Multifamily Residential, Retail

Creative Cost-Saving Tips for Your Commercial Space

Often, design budgets for commercial tenant improvements can be tight. But giving your space that little something extra to excite your clientele is super helpful for bringing in business, and getting your customers to linger. Here are a few creative tips for stretching that dollar further in your commercial space.

June 18, 2019

It’s a competitive world out there for restaurant, retail, and apartment building owners alike. With rent and lease amounts ever increasing, it’s crucial to have a space that serves your business well. If you’re a business owner who caters your services to the public, you know that having a unique and beautifully designed space is huge for bringing in business.

The problem for a lot of small or first time business owners is that you’re already investing heavily in actually starting a business, finding and renting a space, etc., so that by the time all that is said and done, you’ve got a very tight budget remaining to design a kick-ass space.

As much as I hate saying this, you can "design on a dime" — creating a beautiful and engaging space doesn't have to break the bank. We've worked on many projects where creativity and problem solving were key to designing a space when the budget was tight. Here are some of the ways we've helped our clients create chic commercial spaces.

Salvaged Finds

Art installations are not only Instagrammable (which is good for free advertising), but they often have a fun story behind them.

Take, for example, this art installation at an apartment complex with a theme catering to Seattle's music scene. That "pixelated" art mural is made from salvaged cassette tapes. Not only is it a great way to reuse something, but it reinforces the message of the space.

Salvaged casette tapes create a mural: a creative cost-saving tip for your commercial space.

Another example is this custom bar front for a local wine bar, made from salvaged wine bottles, which fits perfectly into the bar's mission of supporting sustainable wines.

Salvaged wine bottles on the face of a bar are a creative cost-saving tip.


Oddities Turned Design Feature

Design features like custom light fixtures and focal point walls are striking elements in any commercial space, adding a level of depth and interest. However, these unique design features often come with a big price tag. That is where a bit of creativity comes in.

Using hanging nautical ropes as space partitions are a creative cost-saving tip.

Take this amenity space in a multifamily building. Nautical ropes hang down to create cozy and intimate booth seating. Not only is this a unique element, but creating the same intimate seating feel with built-ins and drywall would have cost many times the amount that this installation provides simply with dangling ropes.

A creative cost-saving tip for your commercial space: painting empty frames white.

Or how about this wall that gets a bit of texture by affixing empty old picture frames to the wall, then painting the whole thing white?

Play with Pattern

Creating a fun pattern with otherwise ordinary and overdone materials is a great way to do something different without breaking the bank.

Using simple materials in a creative way is a cost-saving tip for your commercial space.

Take, for example, this panel screen. Basic 2x4s are transformed into a unique element with the chevron pattern.

When Paint Can Go a Long Way

Paint may not be the solution to all your design problems, but it definitely makes a huge difference in the feel of a space, especially when used creatively.

Creative use of paint can be a cost-saving tip for your commercial space.

Here's an example of color blocking we did with paint and resilient flooring for this tattoo lounge. The moody blues help to offset the otherwise bright and white space but also help make those wood mirrors POP!


Design is in the details, and those details don't have to be butterfly joint work and parquet wood floors. These stair risers are a great example of cost-effective design.

A creative cost-saving tip for your commercial space: fun, adhesive number decals.

Some number decals bought online can really make for a fun and playful vibe, as they do in this apartment complex.

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