Before You Renovate Office Space, Consider Fit-Out Costs

If you’ve been tasked with creating a brand new space for your company, or renovating your existing space, you’re probably wondering where to start.

If you’ve been tasked with creating a brand new space for your company, or renovating your existing space, you’re probably wondering where to start. And if that’s not enough, it’s pretty daunting knowing it’ll all take place under the watchful gaze of your investors and founding team.

One of the most important factors you’ll need to take into consideration is the cost.

However, getting an idea of how much you can expect to pay to fit out your commercial office space can be difficult, because projects vary greatly.

 Some office fit-outs will be purely cosmetic, others will include structural changes and others will involve a detailed analysis of your workspace utilisation and the development of strategy for future growth.


Office space design cost and tips

The exact cost of an office fit out or refurbishment will depend on a whole range of different factors, including location, scale, design, staff numbers and furniture selection. Nevertheless, it is possible to get a rough estimate of how much you can expect to pay, and this article explains how.


Basic rules of thumb

According to Oktra, an award-winning office design company, 85 percent of office refurbishments with a value of less than £100,000 ($122,000) are procured via the ‘design and build’ model.

This means that an office design company will listen to your basic plans, tailor their services to suit those plans, and then take care of everything from the planning to the implementation.


How much does it cost to renovate office space?
Photo: © opolja, YFS Magazine

Assuming your fit out falls into the 85 percent, there are several rules of thumb, which can help you  estimate the eventual cost.

One such rule, which is recommended by Fusion Office Design, is to budget approximately £5,000 (est. $6,000) per person in the company. Meanwhile, Oktra recommend an even more simple rule of thumb.

 “We would normally advise clients to allow a year’s rent to their office refurbishment budget,” they say.

Once specific needs have been assessed, a good office design company will be able to produce a quick summary of anticipated costs. They point out several factors that can alter cost, such as whether you are requiring a Cat A or Cat B fit out.


Price by measurement

If you are seeking a slightly more accurate figure, some office refurbishment companies offer price guides based on the size of the space being renovated. Again, it is important to stress that precise figures will depend on the exact nature of the work, but these estimates can be taken as a solid base to work from.

Office Principles provide a cost calculator tool on their website, which they say can provide you with an ‘on-the-spot’ budget for your fit out project.



It suggests that companies wanting the most simplistic designs, with the most budget-friendly specifications, should budget in the region of £10/$12 per square foot.

 For the majority of businesses, these specifications and designs will be too simplistic, but it’s a good start.

At the other end of the spectrum, at Enigma Visual Solutions we recommend budgeting £180/$220 per square foot for extremely complex, high specification projects. For projects that fall exactly half way in between, they suggest budgeting £110/$135 per square foot.

Fusion Office Design states that their average project costs £48/$59 per square foot, with £82/$100 per square foot representing a reasonably high specification project.


The cost of office furniture

It is worth noting that the prices so far have excluded the cost of things like desks and chairs. However, while the eventual cost of furnishing an office will depend on the style and quality you want, various design companies so also offer suggestions of how you can budget for this, using a ‘per person’ formula.


How much does it cost to renovate office space?
Photo: © opolja, YFS Magazine

Office Principles, for instance, suggest the following:


  • Basic furniture: Allow £750 – £1,000 ($900 – $1,200) per person

  • Mid-range furniture: Allow £1,000 to £1,750 ($1,200 – $2,100) per person

  • High quality furniture: Allow £1,750 – £2,500 ($2,100 – $3,000) per person


Fusion Office Design offer a broadly similar guide. They recommend budgeting between £750 and £1,250 ($900 – $1,500) per person.

Therefore, if you are looking at fairly basic work stations and other office furniture, you can get a rough estimate by counting the number of staff in your organisation and multiplying that figure by £1,000 ($1,200).


The fact is that the above prices variations will also depend on where your office is based. For this reason, it is really key to obtain at least two or three quotes based on the same brief.

Your office space renovation requirements are paramount to getting the right price, design and fit out, so it is worth spending a little more time on the brief with all the decision-makers, also ensuring that your staff have also been consulted.


This article has been edited and condensed.

Reno Macri is a Director of a leading exhibition and event company Enigma Visual Solutions, specialising in exhibition stand design, retail designs, interiors, graphic productions, signage systems, event branding, conference set design and much more. He specialises in experiential marketing and event productions. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on upcoming marketing ideas and design trends at Enigma Interior blog. Connect with @enigmavisual on Twitter.


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