Modern Office Design Trends in 2018

Posted on November 16, 2018

Today, modern office design can mean almost anything, and the number one trend might be the made to order model of creating custom office spaces that support the individual community of workers inhabiting the space, as well as embrace the philosophy of the company the space houses. However, there are a few other modern office design trends that many of these spaces have in common, and which are likely to continue being at the forefront of office design. Below you will find several modern office design trends that will be sure to make your office feel open, unique, and designed for productivity.  

Custom Spaces

As mentioned, an overall trend in modern office design is now indicative of custom designed offices aimed directly at individual companies’ work style. These spaces reflect the nature of the business, and the attitude of the workers who make it thrive, such as creative companies that encourage play in their office designs, as featured in Artsy, to stimulate ideas and collaboration. Imagination drives the design of LEGO’s Denmark office, Kickstarter has a theater for filmmakers to screen work, and Viacom even designed a wellness center to focus on its employee's mental health needs. Many companies, from tech start-ups to the finance sector have consulted with designers and architects on innovative ways to create truly one-of-a-kind spaces that serve their unique company’s needs.

Employees First

“With the explosion of open office layouts, the modern office space has seen a shift to transparency and collaboration but also has had to reconsider what employees need for focus, motivation, and productivity”  - PureModern.  Essentially, workspaces are being designed with the needs of the individual in mind.   Modern office designs now include a variety of flexible spaces for workers that provide movement throughout the day. Offices with open workspaces are offering quiet rooms for more focused tasks, as well as private spaces for phone calls, and areas designed for relaxation and mental breaks from the desk.

Lounge Areas

photo of the modern design trend, lounge areas with two couches

Taking employees’ comfort one step further, designers of modern offices are creating common areas and meeting spaces with flexible, movable furniture designed for comfort and relaxed interaction as an alternative to the formal conference room. These creative spaces encourage gathering in small groups and working with wireless technology away from the constraints of a desk. Consider a mix of clean modern chairs and sofas or benches to encourage groups of different sizes to gather for casual discussion, plus tables for shared ideas.

Outdoors, In and Out

From exposed materials to wood panel installations and reclaimed wood furniture, bringing the outdoors in through cozy design elements is a major element in modern office design. Plants are encouraged, and being incorporated now as a design element with living walls and plant sculptures incorporated into the architecture of many modern spaces. Nature-based wall dividers using bamboo, or tall custom planters with clean lines and low-allergen plants help to break up spaces while promoting employee health and well-being. When space allows, many modern architects are encouraging incorporating terraces or patio spaces that let employees take short breaks or even meetings outside the walls of the office in green spaces.

…And other green ideas

Sustainability in materials is old hat now for many architects and designers, and today’s modern offices are now built with new ways to create a sustainable difference. From renewable energy sources to air purification and carbon offsets, as well as locally sourced food options, today’s business model supports environmental initiatives internally, as well as supports options for their employees to do so.

Elements of Home Come to Work

Photo of a glass table and chair in a modern home office

From gathering spaces with couches and footrests to yoga facilities and patios for outdoor breaks, an overall sense of comfort to encourage productivity is what is inspiring modern office design trends. In no place is this more prominent than in the idea of bringing the cozier elements of home design into the workspace. Throw pillows, soft textures, quiet spaces designed more like a home office than a cubicle, kitchens rather than break rooms, and other elements that break away from the traditional office environment.

Hiding the Wires

Technology is both a blessing and a curse in today’s workplace, and keeping cords tidy is an eternal problem in modern office design. In large open office designs, every bit of clutter adds to a sense of disorganization. Office planners are taking into consideration how cords will be organized, from desk to outlet, and modern furniture designers are taking part in considering access and clever methods of concealing them. The decrease of clutter, not just in individual workspaces, but also in public areas, such as conference rooms, helps office spaces appear more organized and professional which contributes to a greater sense of focus.


Today’s modern office is a far stretch from the traditional beige walls and industrial grey carpeting. Employers and designers recognize that color encourages happiness, productivity, and creativity. From pops of color on the walls to vibrant furniture choices, color is showing up everywhere. Modern office design follows trends in the color forecasts from such organizations as Pantone, which sets out a wide palette of colors and themes that will be prominent in design in the coming year. A good tip is identifying color combinations that might be on the cusp of the current trend but also has a logical and complementary connection to the building’s architecture, creating a look that will be forward-looking but not go out of style too quickly.


Varied materials also contribute to a more welcoming workspace, and influence a sense of wellness and productivity. Textures allow a space that is otherwise more streamlined and clean to have a sense of playful creativity and feel more inviting. Bringing in a more sensory element than the clean lines of metal and glass, texture can be found in sheepskin throws, fabric wall panels, woven rugs, or hanging baskets for plants. Each element provides a sense of home, of touch and comfort, that a slick office can often be lack.

Community Tables

Photo of the modern design trend community tables

Similar to restaurant trends of the family or farm table, offices are adding in community tables for collaborative working spaces. More casual than a conference room and more collaborative than individual workstations, large centralized tables give the opportunity to support a gathering of ideas, as well as people to work from a variety of devices and formats in a larger space. In some offices, it might replace single desks all together, in others, it might be a central gathering point for people spread out in a large space to continually share in creation and innovation.


Flexibility is a big factor in modern office design trends, as the permanent layout is rapidly losing favor. Non-permanent layouts allow for adaptation over time to suit the changing needs of the workplace and give each employee the opportunity to set up a workspace conducive to the needs of their individual job. Today more and more design companies are creating stylish options in adaptable furniture and storage products designed to have interchangeable elements and modular pieces.

Inclusion and Accessibility

Long its own area of commercial design, accessibility has been taking a higher priority in modern office design as more companies recognize the importance of creating spaces that are adaptable and accessible for any current or future employees or visitors. Adjustable desks, adaptive chairs, quiet focus work areas, and assistive devices, as well as overall building layout and design,  are all ways that businesses can plan for a fully inclusive environment.

For helpful advice on how to implement these trends into your office, check out our piece, “How to Design A Modern Office Space.

Outdoor Landscape Design Inspiration from Roberto Burle Marx | PureModern

Modern Design Series: Furbish | PureModern

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