Space planning alterations and reshaping

It’s easily done – a rebrand here, a company expansion there and suddenly your business premises no longer fit with your business model. While moving to a brand new location isn’t always possible, investing in a refurbishment of your existing workplace can be just as effective; clever redesign, structural alterations and some smart space swaps are all achievable at a fraction of the cost – and the disruption.



It’s almost a given that your office or workplace will essentially be contained within four walls.

How you sculpt, arrange and define the space within will impact the happiness of your staff, the dynamics of your departments and the productivity of your workforce.

In many cases, a poorly planned office hasn’t started that way. Normally grumbles and issues progress over time – as a company has expanded or when floor plan and set up evaluations are overlooked, for instance. If you’re guilty of adding new office desks ad hoc or not throwing out defunct filing cabinets and photocopiers read on.

Any office that doesn’t change to meet the needs of the workforce and the industry in which it sits will hamper creativity, prompt staff to leave and may ultimately dent profits.

The good news is there is always a way to improve the office design and layout. In many cases, it’s even possible to create extra floors, new meeting rooms and enlarge essential areas such as your reception with clever space planning and well practiced shop fitting techniques.


When you partner with an office refurbishment company, you buy into their planning, organisational, budgeting and industry skills.

The initial step is to book a visit by the refurbishment company to your workplace so they can take exact measurements, appraise your current setup and establish a budget.

A meeting with stakeholders is essential to identify what is required from the office refurbishment – whether it’s to accommodate more staff, to transfer to a more agile way of working, to modernise or to rebrand.


If you’re overcome with a desire to change your office layout, step away from the sledge hammer! The most costly mistakes happen when there has been no forward planning.

You wouldn’t go into a new business pitch without being armed with a strategy – tackling an office refurbishment is the same.

Seeing your office drawn on paper and stripped back to four walls from a bird’s-eye view will give you a much better sense of the space you have to play with and how the structure of your building may influence a new layout design.

Your refurbishment design team will use 2D interior space plans to manipulate your current office set up, taking into account ‘first fix’ aspects (such as power and data provisions, light, heat and cabling) and structural restrictions, as well storage and office furniture requirements.

Paper space plans can be shared with the client at various intervals during the design process, and quickly altered to accommodate evolving thought processes and ideas.

….then they transfer to a computer screen

3D designs are a vital tool in office design, especially if a client has trouble visualising what a refurbished or re-planned workplace will look like when complete.

The next stage on from 2D paper space plans are 3D computer generated designs showing colour and texture and giving clients an unrivalled sense of spacial awareness. As well as the ability to simply drag and alter where business furniture is positioned, 3D designs allow designers to click on a wall and change its colour or flick between different floor coverings to choose a texture, finish or material that works best.


When you partner with an office refurbishment company, you buy into their planning, organisational, budgeting and industry skills.

The initial step is to book a visit by the refurbishment company to your workplace so they can take exact measurements, appraise your current setup and establish a budget.

A meeting with stakeholders is essential to identify what is required from the office refurbishment – whether it’s to accommodate more staff, to transfer to a more agile way of working, to modernise or to rebrand.

Alterations, changes and swaps are best made at this planning stage before any physical work is carried out on site.

The 3D designs are beautifully precise and are replicated in the flesh to a remarkable degree of accuracy.


While commissioning a radical rethink of your office is an investment, it can prove more cost effective and less disruptive than moving to a new premises. Where permissions and the fabric of the building allows, an office refurbishment can include:-

1. The creation of a mezzanine floor with staircase access.

2. The removal or repositioning of internal walls to redefine space.

3. Better access to a basement level, with a ‘gallery’ arrangement to flood the lower level with more light.

4. Increasing natural light with the installation of extra windows.


Office occupation usually takes one of two forms, tenant or owner occupier.

If you rent office space and would like to make any changes – structural or cosmetic – you’ll need the permission of the landlord or building owner.

Even if the property is yours, you’ll need to check for any covenants that may restrict what you can alter, as well as confirm with your local planning department if the premises falls within a conservation area or has listed status.

A competent office refurbishment company will work closely with planning departments, conservation officers and building inspectors to ensure any alterations and additions meet requirements, and are signed off without issue.


If you are restricted to the space you already have, it is totally possible to create a completely refreshed workplace through smarter space planning.

The details of the initial office refurbishment brief will influence the design team when they are reconfiguring your floor plan, helping you meet your business objectives.

Their thought process will include:-

1. Office partitions – Whether glass partitions, partial partitions or movable walls will help define work areas or create better flexibility.

2. Workstation location – Whether a different configuration and location of desks will improve productivity and employee interaction.

3. Business furniture – Whether new styles of office desks and workstations will save space or create a more positive office environment.

4. Storage – Whether bespoke storage will streamline and declutter an office.

5. Private meeting rooms and boardrooms – Whether these areas are under-utilised and if the space could be reabsorbed into the general workplace. In reverse, space planning may be able to provide more private meeting space through glass partitions and dedicated meeting pods.

6. Bespoke office furniture – Whether custom made reception counters, office desks, display systems and storage units can exploit unusual floor plans and tight angles, or accommodate structural features and period details.


A customer journey is the path a client – corporate or public - takes from the moment they step through your door to the moment they leave.

At every point they will be drinking in your environment, making assumptions about your business based on what they see.

The aesthetics of your office should reflect the level of service you provide, so use an office refurbishment to convey the right image.

If your clients regularly visit your workplace, a refurbishment can address:-

1. Reception areas
2. Waiting rooms
3. Cloakrooms
4. Corridors
5. Meeting rooms
6. Service desks
7. Floor coverings


Here are some simple changes that can improve your office as part of a workplace refurbishment:-

1. Printers, photocopiers, binders and laminating machines scattered throughout the workplace? Ask for them to be sited all together for better efficiency. A dedicated area will help with report making and collating tasks, with power and data provisions plus a stationery cupboard incorporated into the new office design. A partition wall can also be installed to screen off such an area.

2. Underused private meetings rooms that stand empty 99% of the time? Ask about removing the walls so the space can be reused. Less stuffy and more informal break out areas are very much part of the agile way of working, and have been proven to encourage cross-department interaction and the sharing of ideas.

3. Low ceilings and lots of internal walls casting an air of gloom? Drop suspended ceilings with strip lighting and tiles are a real office characteristic but not an attractive one! A new, higher-set ceiling with improved lighting will instantly brighten a workplace. The flow of light can also be improved by replacing internal walls with glass partitions, where possible. These can be semi-opaque if a degree of privacy is required.

4. A general feeling of malaise and tiredness in the workplace? Sometimes it’s as simple as a new colour scheme, some new office furniture, enough storage and facilities that actually work to improve mood. Investing in your workplace will make staff feel valued and appreciated.

5. Lack of office spirit and togetherness Perhaps a communal kitchen with a shared dining table will bring departments together? Maybe staff would love a games zone with a pool table so they can meet under more informal circumstances?

6. On the High Street but potential customers walking straight past? A revamped reception area/front-of-house will catch the eye and entice people in. Couple this with feature lighting that will highlight your premises after dark and an attractive window display, and you’ll make your business 100% more visible.

7. Not enough space to expand the workforce?

On a basic level, think about the size of your office desks versus the size of your office.

Changing to a smarter configuration and perhaps ‘dealer’ style desk clusters can improve capacity. On a higher level, adopting an agile approach to working – focusing on tasks and projects rather than confining people to individual desks and set hours – will often free space for more employees.


We’d be happy to speak with you about refurbishing and reshaping your current office or new workplace to fit your exact business model.

We’ve already created a guide to relocating offices, if you are moving to a new premises.

You can also download our guide on staff wellbeing and productivity for more details on an agile way of working.

You'll find both guides here.

Contact us today using the details on the last page to book a site visit and appraisal.

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Partnering with a professional office refurbishment company is essential if you want this opportunity to refresh your office space to have lasting benefits. Our Guide to Space Planning, Alterations and Reshaping Your Workplace outlines exactly what your expectations of such a partnership should be – from 3D design and space planning, to planning applications for structural alteration, to producing bespoke office furniture solutions. Any reputable commercial refurbishment specialist will pride themselves on providing all these services whilst keeping an eye firmly on their client’s needs and the needs of their client’s client too! At MPL Interiors – with 1600 completed refurbishments to our name – it’s certainly no less than we’d expect of ourselves.

So whether you’re creating an extra office in your basement, an extra flexible workstation layout or extraordinary brand visibility with an external refurbishment, read on for some office design and refurbishment inspiration.

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