Common Lobby Interior Design Problems & How We Solve Them

Solving Common Lobby Design Problems

As the head of the New York City lobby design firm Sygrove Associates Design Group, we confront many common lobby design problems on every project. The most common ones include how to increase storage space when space is already tight, create a more convenient and efficient doorman station, and control the interior air temperature when exterior doors are opening and closing all the time.

Over the years, we have worked on hundreds of lobby re-design projects, and during that time, we’ve developed some truly ingenious ways of solving them (if I may say so myself!), regardless of the layout and constraints we may run into. Here are a few of our tried-and-true answers to some of the most common lobby interior design problems:

Creating Storage Space When Space Is Already Tight

Securing additional space for tenant packages may seem impossible, but solutions can be found through creative thinking and deep knowledge of materials. My team and I are currently working in a building where the lobby is like a wide corridor. It’s a challenge for any designer to carve out storage space in such a space, but we figured out a way to create package closets that are deep enough to accommodate double-hung dry cleaning and most delivery box sizes.

We designed an entire wall of package closets, each 24 inches deep, allowing for two racks of hanging space and ample shelving. But they don’t jut out so much into the lobby that the area looks narrower. The exteriors are so lovely that the entire effect is more like artwork than doors. What’s more, they are highly durable and lockable!

Common Lobby Interior Design Problems & How We Solve Them

Improving The Doorman Station

Another area that always needs attention when solving common lobby design problems is the doorman station. It needs to be attractive, positioned in a place easily accessible to tenants, and close enough to the front door that the doorman doesn’t have to leave his post unattended for more than a minute or so. The doorman needs to be perceived as a security presence in the building but also be able to assist residents at the curb and retrieve and distribute packages while monitoring the lobby’s comings and goings.

We are currently working on a pre-war building, which, like many buildings of that era, has two lobby spaces; the main lobby plus a large vestibule closer to the door, which residents refer to as the “outer lobby.” Space in New York City is always at a premium, but the common lobby problem in these types of buildings is too much space for the doorman to monitor and maintain the area securely and assist residents at the door.

So, as designers, we must consider which way the desk will face and make it easy for the door staff to get around the desk to access the front door and the packages. A great solution to this common lobby design problem is to install an exterior set of electronic sliding exterior doors installed, so the doorman only has to deal with the inner doors while assisting residents to the curb.

And technology has made it so doorman stations do not have to be as large as in the past. For example, few buildings need the large intercom panel with buttons anymore. Today, phones do the job!

Common Lobby Interior Design Problems & How We Solve Them

A Too-Cold Lobby

Another common lobby design problem that mainly affects the door staff is fluctuating temperatures. In the winter, it is typical to see an unsightly space heater under or next to the front desk in most buildings.

We have discovered that having an air curtain that throws warm heat down in the winter and can throw cool air down in the summer is a fantastic solution. When residents enter the building, they get a blast of warm or cool air, depending on the season. And, of course, the door staff gets to say goodbye to the space heater.

When a lobby has double doors, using astragals is a terrific way to control air temperature. Astragals are wood or metal strips that seal the gap between the doors, which reduces the amount of outside air coming in.

Common Lobby Interior Design Problems & How We Solve Them


If your building is considering a lobby re-design, it’s a wise decision to choose an experienced lobby interior designer instead of a designer that doesn’t typically work on lobby spaces. Solving common lobby design problems involves expertise, knowledge of materials (they must be beautiful and durable), out-of-the-box thinking, and highly developed creative skills.

To contact me, call 212.757.0631 or email me at

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Sygrove Interior Design Services

Sygrove Associates Design Group is an NYC interior design company. Our company’s founder Marilyn Sygrove is the lead interior designer on all projects. And she’s as tough as you are when it comes to quality, aesthetics, and coming in on time and on budget.

It all starts with a design consultation with Marilyn. She takes the time to thoroughly understand your design needs then personally directs all interior design, planning, and installation activities. Her work has been delighting clients, co-op and condo boards, and homeowners for over 30 years.

You can reach Marilyn by email at or call her directly at 212.757.0631.

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