Office Refurbishment Guide - All you need to know when embarking on an office renovation


An impressive office renovation is great news for your business. Whether it’s because you’ve grown exponentially or you just want to make better use of your space, this is an exciting development for everyone involved and speaks volumes about your success as an organisation.

But before you get started, there are a few things you might want to think about. Planning an office refurbishment usually involves having to answer a lot of questions, we know this from our years of experience. Having some idea of what you want out of your office refurbishment will help us streamline the process, but we also know that you may not have all the answers to all the questions in the first instance. For a lot of clients, it’s their first time seeking advice and getting ready for an office renovation, and that’s ok too, that’s what we’re experts in and we’re here to guide you through the process. That’s why we’ve put together our office refurbishment guide.

Setting firm goals and laying the foundations in the short term equals success in the longer term, as it did here when we worked with West Barn Co on their new office space.

Getting the Brief right 

A strong project brief for an office refurbishment should start with an overview of your business, and include aspects such as business objectives, number of staff, and staff requirements. You’ll want to outline the scope of your office design project and set specific goals, you will need to clearly define the timescale and determine budget. Other aspects to consider are workplace technology, fixtures and fittings, office acoustics and floor plan- these are all things we can help with and advise you on as a commercial interior design expert. We recently put together a knowledge piece on how to write a brief for your new office refurbishment project, click here to read in more detail.

 We completed this project for Keepmoat Homes following big changes for the business internally. A shift towards hybrid working and hot-desking meant a shakeup of the existing space was essential. 

Your reasons behind an Office Refurbishment 

An office refurbishment could consist of new office furniture only, a full fit-out of the office space, or both. Determine the reasons behind upgrading your office space, are you aiming to improve the quality of life for your team, create space for new faces or add value with break-out areas? Or do you need to increase private meeting zones, brighten up a tired old workplace or replace fixed desking with flexible furniture? It’s wise to clarify these goals from the outset.

Think about what current problems you’re experiencing and how you might want to solve them in the new office. After all, the best designs come from finding the solution to a problem. Ask yourself how you want people to feel in your new space. Consider the must-haves and the deal-breakers and make sure there’s an appropriate chunk of budget allocated to that.

We’ve worked with a lot of clients over the last couple of years who have decided to reinvent their office spaces for many different reasons, some key drivers have included attracting and retaining the best talent, encouraging staff to come back to the office and therefore offering more than just a desk, collaborative working spaces, hybrid working models, business growth and lease breaks.

Our client Reward Finance promote an agile, dynamic, and highly responsive workplace culture and wanted their new workplace to better reflect this. 

What is your Timeline?

The other big key factor to consider is time. You want to keep disruption to a minimum. Most companies can’t afford to simply shut everything down for a couple of months so you’ll need to figure out how long you can afford to take and how this will impact the work being done and where. For example, can some of the workforce begin working offsite or work from home while part of the office is being renovated?

Your chosen contractor should be able to give you an accurate time frame at the beginning that will allow them to complete the renovation. Mapping out the timeline with a robust schedule helps you and your staff feel more organised, giving everyone a better sense of what will be happening at each stage.

You might also like to think about if there’s a quieter period of the year that the work might be best done in.

Determine your Budget 

It is important to clarify your budget upfront. This might change slightly as you uncover the costs and options available but really, the finance available is a big one. You don’t want to overstretch yourself in the process of sprucing up the office, so keeping things realistic is vital. Knowing the budget upfront is a great way to force yourself to prioritise.

It’s also useful to bear in mind that you’ll likely need some contingency money built into that budget – things come up in any project that cannot be planned for, and you don’t want everything being derailed at a late stage. This also gives you a little creative leeway to make some changes on the fly as the project progresses. Budgeting for additional costs is a good way to kick things off.

If you’re using a pro team (like us!) then being honest about your budget from the outset is crucial. Part of our role is to then see what can realistically be achieved within that budget – and if it doesn’t quite meet the brief, we can discuss whether it’s the budget or the brief that needs to be adjusted, we can also look at value engineering options, which is something we do often for our clients.

This could also lead to a discussion on whether you work in phases. A longer-term master plan might include multiple phases of renovation work with short gaps in between, which can be useful in some circumstances.

Hedgehog Lab had pinned down a budget, we ensured we stuck to this and did some value engineering!

Space Planning and Concept Design 

The space planning and concept design phase is where you can start seeing your new office space come to life!

During the space planning phase, you will have the opportunity to see how the workspace will be configured. Once we have a deep understanding of your business, your goals and how your people use the current space, we will work closely with our designers to produce a space plan, utilising the availability of space to support your business goals. You can read more about this process here! 

Choosing the right contractor for your Office Renovation 

Choosing the right contractors is one of the biggest things you’ll want to get right, as it really can be the make or break part of a project. You’ll want to ensure they’ve fully understood your vision and are prioritising your goals, and that they have the relevant experience and good reviews to back their reputation up.

Doing your homework properly in the quest to find the right contractors will be worthwhile and mean you can relax knowing the work is all in hand. This might be as simple as Googling them or could involve speaking to other companies who’ve had similar work done and seeing the quality of the previous workmanship first-hand. Don’t be afraid to contact more than one supplier for a quote either. Gather as much information as you can to inform your choice before you make it.

Of course, should you work with an organisation like us, fully-vetted, insured contractors are all part of the service, so it’s one less thing to worry about.

That’s where we come in…

At Ben Johnson Interiors, we’re always excited to be involved in the planning and design of your commercial refurbishment project, no matter how big or small it might be.

We have years of in-depth experience to make you feel safe with us, reassured by our wealth of knowledge and past projects for inspiration. We know what works and what doesn’t.

If you’d like to chat to us about starting work on your perfect office, get in touch!