Residential and Commercial Design Differences

When it comes to architectural design, each project generally falls into one of two categories — residential design or commercial design. As you can probably imagine, residential covers areas in which people live and sleep and commercial revolves more around business use.

Although these separate design types tend to involve a lot of the same qualities and processes, there are subtle differences that make each one distinctive.


Of course the place that both residential and commercial design projects start is with the planning stage. It may be true that each task is unique regardless of whether it’s for home, public or business use but similar groups will follow near identical planning and research.

Residential design is more or less all about an individual. Once structural integrity and local and safety regulations are identified, the person who has hired a designer can request what they like to make their new home or extension as personal as they wish. The emphasis is on creating the perfect solution that a client can be proud to call home.

Whilst commercial design does follow in many of the footsteps of its residential counterpart, there are many more people to take into account other than those that are going to be living in the structure. Commercial buildings tend to be much larger and play host to an increased level of visitors and ensuring safety and practicality is top of the priority list.

Amenities and Facilities

When planning for a residential building, most of the features will be determined by the needs of, at most, a small group of people who will live in the house. There could be a number of extra facilities to cater for but for the most part, designers only have to accommodate for the usual household features, such as toilets and stairs.

All manner of staff, guests and visitors can need to be included in commercial design, especially in public places. There could be a number of factors dictating what needs to be implemented and of course, checked for safety.

Disabled access, elevators, car parks and eating areas can all be required and all must be carefully planned to ensure that they are up to standard when the building works are complete.

Some commercial design projects require even more attention to detail if the purpose and operations are not to be compromised. For example, hotels need to have rooms of certain sizes, entertainment areas and food and drink rooms.


As we know, nothing in this world is quite perfect and occasionally there can be slight setbacks to any works, including residential and commercial architectural services. This can come in the form of time delays, budget limits and a whole host of other nuisances.

These stumbling blocks can impact projects differently, depending on the nature of the job. Say for example, a budget is dangerously close to being exceeded and there is no room to increase it and changes to the original plans need to be made.

If you’re having a residential extension put in place, you can simply change a few materials or decide against a fancy ornamental piece and not too much will be affected by these adjustments.

It’s not as easy as this with commercial properties however. A lot of the design features are there because of a necessity to have them in place and safety concerns may mean that only certain materials can be approved for a specific element of the building. This is where hiring the best commercial architect services will be of almost unlimited benefit as they are able to assess the situation and produce a resolution that still meets the demands and nature of the structure.

Architectural Design for a Specific Purpose

With all of this to consider, architectural design providers need to be well aware of, and capable of adapting to, the individual needs of each project. Whether it is living area or public access design, a versatile and experienced professional should be able to create exactly what you need.

As long as they are fully prepared and you’ve relayed all relevant and important information, your project can be up and running for when you need it to be.