The other day during the monthly meeting I have with my marketing director, we tossed around ideas for my next blog post. I have a lot to say about lobby interior design so, for me, coming up with blog ideas is usually lot of fun.

Here are some of the ideas we discussed:

  • How To Revitalize Your Lobby During A Pandemic
  • Roadblocks While Doing Construction In NYC During The Pandemic (And How We Overcome Them)
  • How COVID Impacts The Way Public Spaces Are Being Used
  • Community Rooms In Apartment Buildings Serve A New Purpose During COVID
  • Etc. Etc.

Suddenly, we both realized…

We are so tired of talking about, thinking about, stressing about, and reading about COVID, that neither one of us felt like working on another blog about it.

Instead of writing yet another post about how the pandemic makes everything harder and more complicated in my work, I told my marketing director that I’d love to muse about how current events will impact interior design trends in the future.

And, that’s when I had an epiphany…

Lobby Interior Design Will Be More Zen Starting Now

While, we don’t know how long the pandemic will last, we do know everyone is spending more time at home than ever before. We also acknowledge that coming home to a tranquil, serene refuge from the storm can lower your blood pressure and calm your spirit.

As a lobby interior designer, I have always strived to achieve zero visual clutter. I’m find myself more and more drawn to Zen Design concepts – for building lobbies and hallways and for my own home.

Is Zen Design A Thing?

Zen Design is not a formal school of design. It is a philosophy of design that embraces visual balance and minimal clutter with the goal of creating the most relaxing, balanced, soothing, and contemplative spaces.

All unnecessary obstacles are removed in Zen Design. While it’s not always possible to tear down walls (especially when we work in older buildings), we can create visually balanced and appealing lobbies and hallways that can envelope residents and their guests in calm and tranquility the moment they walk in.

Zen, as a philosophy, is a path to enlightenment and natural light plays an important role. Most city buildings are built on top of each other and depend upon artificial light for illumination so brining in natural light is usually impossible. But by selecting the right fixtures, we can produce a soothing ambiance that feels like natural light.

In terms of colors and textures, natural is the keyword in Zen Design. Matte white and soft neutrals for walls, white reflective paint for ceilings, and furniture in unvarnished wood covered by unbleached fabrics in natural hues. These elements provide calming symmetry and unfettered flow, the hallmarks of Zen Design.

The field of lobby interior design today requires more types of skills than in the past mostly due to the enormous number of packages and deliveries from local businesses and online shopping. Lobbies need large package rooms, additional closet space, and generous-sized refrigerators.

I like to say, “Storage is something that should not be seen or heard.” So, at every opportunity, we hide or camouflage anything that even looks like a closet door. Wood wall paneling and with secret doors that conceal dry-cleaning closets, package rooms, and storage rooms are already a hallmark of our lobby interior design work. Zen design fits right into our creative sensibilities.

In addition, the old doorman podiums of the past don’t cut it anymore. Doormen need space for technology and storage. In fact, we are custom-designing innovative doorman stations that include removable plexiglass screens and tons of storage for sanitation supplies. (Doormen love us!)

To reduce noise to create a more Zen atmosphere upholstered furniture and area rugs with padding fit the bill. We are thrilled about the huge selection of natural-looking fabrics and materials that are long-wearing and stain-proof on the market today.

Speaking of furniture, in Zen Design furniture is minimal yet inviting and strategically placed for social distancing. Lobby furniture should be positioned so guests and residents will enjoy the view of a landscaped outdoor space or unique and soothing artwork while waiting.

Sygrove's Building Residential Lobby Design

Finally, it’s not Zen without plants. We choose for simple lines such as a single-stemmed orchid to add color and a sense of simplicity. Lush or fussy plants don’t work here – we prefer the minimal look.

Someday, life will be something close to normal, but the pandemic’s impact will be felt by all of us for many years. But, I’m excited about infusing Zen Design philosophies into my lobby and hallway design work. Make sure to subscribe to my blog so you can see photos of our Zen lobby design schemes as we move towards a (hopefully) less stressful future.

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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