The Design Behind an Office

Photography by Wes Battoclette

Versatility is a key component for successful businesses, especially if a company hopes to grow and capture new markets. This must speak to the versatility of a company’s business model as well as the skills and tools that each employee possesses. From there, earning business from two separate yet similar industries can still be a struggle. 

Interior designers understand straddling the line between different professions. Immersed in an industry that must produce a perfect service for a client’s home as well as their office space, each designer must be able to transfer their skills to fit many different spaces, aesthetics and ideas. 

“I would say it’s a pleasure to be able to design both a client’s home and office,” says Ann Hoffman, interior designer and owner of Hoffman & Albers Interiors. “From a comfort standpoint, offices are more serious, and the target of the project is different. Homes are completely personal and, of course, you want them to be as comfortable as possible.” 

This ability to transform a skill set to accommodate stylings and design methods that are different is one that all Hoffman & Albers designers have. Each designer excels in home interior design, as well as a variety of professional environments. Nancy Koeninger specializes in creating a tranquil, comforting environment for dental offices, doctors’ offices and other small businesses, while Diane Pelzer excels at using color and texture to expertly design restaurants, bars and small offices.
Debbie Chamberlain is able to accommodate any aesthetic or individual style preferences within any professional office building, and Cynthia Stewart incorporates her expertise into designing the interiors of physicians’ offices. 

Hoffman regularly designs for business clients as well, including veterinary clinics, wealth management offices, nail salons and other small offices. “You really have to think about the use of the office,” she says. “Commercial products retain heavier wear, because people aren’t always as careful with them as they are at home.” 

Additionally, the type of office plays in heavily with what kinds of furniture and design elements can logistically be incorporated. Accounting firms need a much more serious and professional appearance than, perhaps, a veterinary office. According to Hoffman, offices need to be designed in a manner that projects the company’s expertise, since an office can be a first impression for many customers walking in the door. 

“Dental offices and salons should be subtly designed to bring an atmosphere of tranquility, so everyone’s nerves will be settled,” she says. “On the other hand, restaurants should be happy and vibrant.” 

Additionally, there is often the added factor of designing in a way that fully incorporates all decision-making partners in the company’s opinions. This collaboration must be done on the designer’s end, and it’s important to ensure that everyone’s ideas are taken into consideration and represented in the end result. This can sometimes mean redefining the goal of the overall design and determine how best to achieve that, while accurately bringing each opinion into the mix. 

Finally, furniture needs to be comfortable for everyone who will use it. For many offices, this is just the employees, but for offices that the public will visit, there are certain details that should be considered. 

“Furniture has to be user-friendly and versatile,” says Hoffman. “It’s very good to have chairs that are easy to get out of and sit in, because offices need to accommodate people from all walks of life, like seniors and handicapped individuals.”

Hoffman & Albers Interiors is located at 9405 Kenwood Road, Cincinnati, OH 45242. You can reach them at 513.793.9100, by email at or visit their website at