The Commercial Interiors Blog

The Benefits of a Height Adjustable Desk

If you work in an office, you’re probably going to sit most of the day. Finding just the right chair to sit in, that provides great comfort and support, is often the objective when selecting office furniture; nonetheless, a chair alone can only do so much. It is healthier to get up and move around throughout the day, so think about introducing a height adjustable desk into your office. The revolutionary sit-and-stand, height adjustable desk allows you to work in myriad ways that cannot be achieved by just sitting.


Sitting for prolonged periods of time can have a detrimental impact on your health; a sit-and-stand office desk can be healthier than the sit-only desk. A study in the Journal of Physical Activity and Health found that a person’s maximum oxygen intake increases while at a standing desk, resulting in more calories being burned per hour.

Height adjustable desks can be used while sitting or standing and can often be adjusted to various heights in-between, allowing for more body fluidity and proper weight distribution, creating less impact on your hips, knees, and ankles. In 2010, Bloomberg Businessweek published an article "Your Office Chair Is Killing You," affirming that it is best to spend your workday in a semi-standing position, reducing pressure on your back and allowing for weight to be carried through your legs.

Benefits that may be realized by using a height adjustable desk include:

  • Maintaining a greater energy level
  • Burning additional calories throughout the day
  • Experiencing less back, neck, and shoulder pain
  • Achieving a higher level of engagement in your work
  • Improved blood circulation


According to a 2015 study by the American Cancer Society, women who spend six hours or more sitting per day have a ten percent greater risk of getting cancer than women who consecutively sit for three hours or less per day. The American Cancer Society recommends, “Adults limit time spent sitting when possible.” The height adjustable desk is an important component of a less sedentary lifestyle, creating a more active position that is possible to maintain throughout your day. Using a sit-and-stand desk in your workspace will also promote a greater sense of mental awareness. On the job, that is always a positive!

Height adjustable desks can lead to a higher work output and a greater sense of self-satisfaction and productivity, creating a more dynamic work environment. Maximizing your office ergonomics can ultimately lead to higher rates of employee fulfillment, producing less turnover and, therefore, a stronger team leading your business to success.




The Top 3 Steps for Buying Office Furniture

What does your office furniture say about your company? Does your office fully reflect the identity of your business? It’s not enough to have a nice sign and a smiling receptionist – customers and staff will form part of their opinion about your company based on their comfort, ease of work, and safety - which may come down to what kind of furniture is available to sit at and work with. A huge part of building your business and establishing your company’s brand, the furniture you select can reflect your company’s identity, culture, and voice. Good furniture can improve productivity and attract the right kind of prospective staff and patrons.


Step 1: Have a Plan

What kind of furniture does your business need? Are you purchasing for employees only, or do you need furniture to accommodate customers? Will you be outfitting a reception area, with stationary guest chairs and tables? Furniture that is to be used all day can be quite different in design and comfort level from pieces designed for short stints of use. Have employees expressed any preferences, such as wanting desks with keyboard trays or height-adjustable desk chairs? When you start shopping with specifics in mind, you will be much more likely to wind up with what your company needs.

Ben Sawyer MUSC

Step 2: Don’t Compromise Comfort for Cost

It may be tempting to buy furniture at a deep discount, but the old adage – you get what you pay for – often holds true. Matching your budget with proper furniture choices can be challenging, particularly when outfitting large office space. Remember, office furniture is an investment, and an important one! It will be used every day and has a substantial impact on employee comfort, safety, and productivity levels. Choose wisely, and keep your employees and clients’ comfort as a top priority.

Collabrative AreaStep 3: Consider Design Aesthetic

Companies build themselves around a brand, and your office space is part of that brand. Traditional and streamlined is always a smart way to go when buying office furniture, as it can create a classic look and the pieces can last for many years without going out of style. And remember that office furniture is so much more than desks and chairs! Are you looking to create working quarters with a café-style atmosphere so your employees can openly collaborate on projects? Purchase large tables where they can gather and communicate their ideas openly as a group. If the office is a more conventional work environment, purchase desks with cubicle dividers so employees can focus on projects independently. It is all about knowing what will best suit your company’s specific design needs.

When it comes to making office furniture selections, commercial interior design experts can help think through the work flow of a given floor plan and figure out what’s best for how your company operates. They can also assist you in the search for the best commercial grade furniture that meets your company style and budget.

Three Myths About Commercial Interior Design - Dispelling the Cloud of Confusion

So you’ve decided to open up a business and you’ve just purchased or leased your premises. Now what? Do you fill it with all the things needed to run the business and sort it out as you go? Before you back up the U-Haul to the door and start unpacking you might want to consider hiring a commercial interior designer. Thanks to some preconceived notions and common myths surrounding interior design in general, many might think that employing an commercial interior designer would be a waste of time and money; but before you dismiss the thought, let’s look at it and see what makes using commercial interior design an important aspect of getting your enterprise rolling.

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First, examine some of the things you think know about interior design in general. Many people view interior designers and interior decorators to be the same thing but they are not. Interior designers are college educated and trained in the field and many states require stringent licensing credentials

Second, interior design requires more than just a sense of décor or artistic aesthetics. It demands a working knowledge of how a space will be used. It will often include more complicated information as meeting sustainability or safety requirements for materials like office equipment, or adequate plumbing, ventilation, and a myriad of other details.

Third, many think that interior designers will ignore the owner’s wishes and “do their own thing.” Interior designers are very conscious of the owners wants and needs. They will work within those parameters with the mindset that the final decisions always lie with the property owner.

While these myths are often associated with residential interior design, they are just as applicable to commercial interior design. 


When entering the commercial or business realm, interior design concepts must meet more specific requirements than those in the residential arena. Whether you are building a hotel, a walk-in office that will handle dealing with clientele directly, or setting up an office that will accommodate employees only, the design of those facilities will have a direct impact on the health, happiness and productivity of everyone that walks through the door. Commercial interior designers are acutely aware of the many facets that make this possible.

For example, proper use of natural light and outside vistas will have positive influences on your employees and visitors while helping to reduce the need for using electricity for lighting.


Commercial design is about function yes, but that function is facilitated through form. When thinking about your business space, it’s not just about having the materials and facilities at hand to get the job done. The design plays a critical role in that effort. Proper commercial design can cut monthly overhead costs through the use of objects and such that serve multiple purposes and strategies, while creating a safe environment for employees and customers alike.

A crucial aspect of the commercial interior designers expertise is a robust knowledge of materials that can stand up to commercial levels of use as well as meeting sustainability and safety requirements. Commercial-grade furnishings differ markedly in this respect from residential furnishings. Drapes in hotels have higher fire retardant ratings. Seating in a pediatrician’s office must withstand the exuberance and illness of young children. Office furniture must accommodate employee health requirements. 

The critical thinking aspects of health, safety and welfare unifying the disciplines of art and science are the things that make the job of being a designer so necessary to planning interior spaces and so personally satisfying.
- Beverly Allen, Queens University of Charlotte  

From using the proper carpeting that lets chairs roll back and forth easily to knowing how the placement of emergency exits will affect furnishing layouts, the designer has a great deal more to plan and deal with than just the décor. Contact the experts at Charleston Commercial Interiors and bring your next commercial interior project to life!

Clemson welcomes the new Abernathy Hotel!

The next time you visit Clemson, South Carolina, you will have a new place to stay. Situated directly across from Death Valley, as Clemson Memorial Stadium is affectionately known, the Abernathy, a luxurious boutique hotel, welcomes you to the shopping and entertainment of downtown, the university and university athletic events.


A university town with deep ties in the local community, the Abernathy Hotel began with longtime collaborators Tom Winkopp Development and the Trehel Corporation to address a pressing need for accommodations for visitors to Clemson University. With a variety of accommodation options available, Tom Winkopp Development decided to make its first foray into the hotel sphere of hospitality.

Tom Winkopp Development selected Charlestowne Hotels for their expertise in hotel management to guide the process. With twenty hotel and resort properties in their portfolio, Charlestowne Hotels called up a longstanding collaborator, Charlotte Dennis of Charleston Commercial Interiors, whose superior interior design skills and in-depth knowledge of the stringent specifications of the hospitality industry, could only enhance this new endeavor.

With the collaborative environment and Dennis’ sense of design combined with the resources of Charleston Commercial Interiors, the Abernathy has emerged as a showcase of Clemson. The primary intent was to create an enticing environment  with a  subtle yet sophisticated reflection of the pride and tradition that surrounds Clemson and the university.


Excited to work for the first time with a new construction, every detail needed to be considered. Given this opportunity, Dennis began to flex her innate interior design creativity. Trehel Corporation project manager, Adam Owen, jumped right in to help make these ideas come to life. In true community fashion the Abernathy Hotel engaged many local businesses from local dentist and photographer Mark McInnis and the Clemson University Archives for vintage photographs of Clemson, to Dave Smith of Sign-A-Rama who produced all the art found throughout the Abernathy.

Every design decision was carefully made. Selecting subtle hues reminiscent of the Clemson purple and orange, Dennis recognized that it is possible to be a fan without being a fanatic. The wall colors, the carpet, tiles, draperies and window coverings, the color and wattage of the lighting, and every other minute detail, the Abernathy exudes a comfortable and understated elegance filled with Clemson pride.


Some elements were well thought out, such as something as mundane as your room number:

“You're walking down the hall and you know you're looking for your room number. What we did is rather than just have the room number on the door or beside the door, we used the same acrylic plaque with the metal standoffs,” explains Dennis, “just like a piece of art. It's an acrylic panel beside the door with the metal standoffs, which gives it a little interest, a little je ne sais quoi. It's got the room number and the Abernathy logo. We’ve selected a different image for each floor, an image that speaks to Clemson, like a Clemson paw or Tillman Hall.”

Other design choices happened serendipitously: the homage to the Esso Club, a local institution, with a reflective photograph; the vintage 1950s photograph of a couple, identified as the grandparents of an officer of the Trehel Corporation, having a night out, or the panoramic aerial photograph of Clemson at dusk that once placed above a large bank of windows overlooking the stadium seemed to belong there.


Then there is the tailgating for home Clemson games. For those Tiger supporters who may not want to brave the crowds, or want to avoid inclement weather, or want to have a multigenerational gathering from seniors to toddlers, and still want to be close to the action, the Abernathy created the Hospitality Suite. The Hospitality Suite provided some unique opportunities for some creative design solutions. Standing in front of the door, Dennis, Owen, and Smith threw out ideas as to how the something as simple as a door could convey the energy and excitement of Clemson on game day. Solution: become part of the team as it rushes out onto the field! Except, you will be stepping into the Hospitality Suite and overlooking the extraordinary Clemson tailgate. “The Abernathy has a camera on the front of it that will stream live on game days all the people going up and down. It will be broadcast on the website, streaming live, all the action for the day in real time,” says Michell Weil, co-owner of Charleston Commercial Interiors.


The Great Room was another opportunity to demonstrate how Dennis, Owen and Smith combined ideas to create cozy, welcoming environment: enlarged vintage photographs framed by architectural molding along the walls leading to an inviting fireplace with a striking granite focal point.


The Abernathy Hotel has been a project that embodies the Clemson spirit and sense of community. “We have a café. We are calling it the Grab-and-Go Café. The plan is to have the wine with appetizers used in Clemson, such as Clemson Blue Cheese and other items that are local, “says Dennis.

As indelible as the former mayor and adjunct instructor that the hotel is named after, every detail of the Abernathy invites visitors and locals alike to enjoy the warmth of the Clemson community.

“That has been one of the focuses too, is this many local people that can get business or work from this project, has been key,” says Dennis. “That is the part that makes the Abernathy so spectacular for us. It is been the first time we've done new construction. The budget has been very generous. We've had full control over, just about 95% of all the selections. New construction gives us a lot more flexibility to make something a little better, a little nicer, a little higher quality.”

Design ingenuity, intimate knowledge of codes and specifications for hotel buildings and interior furnishings, carefully curated list of quality manufactures, and the purchasing power are the hallmarks of Charleston Commercial Interiors. Whether your project is in hospitality, medical, office space, or anything in between, Charleston Commercial Interiors will help your renovation or new construction meet all your commercial interior design needs.


3 Reasons to Invest in Quality Ergonomic Chairs

Everyone has their favorite chair. For some it is a plushy overstuffed armchair. For others it is the well-worn family rocking chair. However, some chairs are downright uncomfortable, like that dining room chair, or the seating in an office reception area, or the chair you are likely to spend the most of your time in: the chair in your office.


As industry evolved throughout the 20th century, the need for offices exploded. Paperwork became the name of the game; and desks and chairs became of paramount importance. Technology has continued to change the way that work, particularly office work, is conducted. Now that most everything is automated, employees are spending even more at their desk, in front of a computer, and in their office chair. The professional office furniture industry took notice and adjusted accordingly.


Think about your office chair. Does it have wheels? Can you adjust the height? Does it have armrests? How tall is the back? Is the back curved to match your spine? Does it have a foot or head rest? There is much to be appreciated in having a comfortable chair to sit in while working throughout the day.

There are several reasons you should invest in a quality ergonomic chair, whether for yourself or for your employees.


You may not always know good versus bad posture. You may have heard “stand up straight,” “don’t slouch,” or “keep you head up.” While it may seem like lessons in decorum, proper posture helps your joints to manage stress points, promote proper breathing, and adequate blood circulation throughout your body. A quality ergonomic chair will help you maintain better seated posture throughout the day.



Sitting for prolonged periods can cause stress to many of your joints, from your neck and shoulders to your knees and hips. If you are unaware of how to sit with good posture, your body will make adjustments to compensate for the uncomfortable position. The adjustable options of a quality ergonomic chair, such as the adjustable height and ability to swivel about your workspace, will help you maintain proper posture throughout the day, while the other features like the head rest and curved spine will engage your body in more easily maintaining good posture.


Productivity and Engagement

Being physically uncomfortable is a major distraction to completing daily tasks and to fully engaging in a project and/or colleagues. Fatigue and discomfort makes concentration difficult. When your ergonomic chair is designed and adjusted to fit your body, you can focus on timely completion of your activities, producing quality work, and use the opportunity to focus your creativity to current projects.


Investing in quality ergonomic chairs in an investment in the health of you and your employees as well as the productivity of your business.

Contact Charleston Commercial Interiors to discover the best ergonomic chairs to meet your health and business needs.


What Makes Furniture Commercial Grade

You may have found yourself admiring the marble-topped chest in a hotel suite or the leather desk chair in your new office, but you probably haven’t considered the differences between those commercial grade pieces and the furniture in your own home.

While a chair may just seem like a chair, there’s quite a variance between commercial and residential grade pieces. Commercial grade furniture requires that it have a higher ability to withstand heavy daily use than residential furnishings. Known in the industry as permanence and durability, the questions to ask are how often will the piece be used? How long should the piece last?


For example, a subtropical beach resort may be booked during the spring and summer, while the off-season fall and winter will be rather quiet. The furnishings in this resort will see less usage than the pieces in hotel that is booked year round due to its proximity to a conference center. A $350 per night room in a boutique hotel will have less turnover than a $59 per night room in a budget hotel.

Commercial grade furniture manufacturers often voluntarily make products with a higher standard in mind. Often they will follow guidelines made by such trade associations as the Business + Institutional Furniture Manufacturers Association (BIFMA).

It’s true. Simply because of the typical testing that commercial furniture structures must undergo, there is a strong and reliable difference between residential and commercial pieces. “It’s made differently,” says Charleston Commercial Interiors co-owner Steve Weil. “Commercial furniture is manufactured to different specifications than residential, for the best in design, comfort, and durability.”

Commercial furnishings are offered through different dealers, distributors and shown at different trade shows than residential. - Steve Weil

From fabrics and seating to lighting and flooring, commercial grade products are designed with comfort, safety, longevity and durability in mind. By selecting commercial grade furniture, you are investing in quality product that will continue to look good while withstanding a great amount of usage over an extended period of time.


For more information on commercial grade furniture, contact Charleston Commercial Interiors.

29 Resources for Opening a Business in Charleston, South Carolina

The Lowcountry is a beautiful region with a combination of inter-coastal waterways, fertile lowlands, and a mild climate. With the vibrant city of Charleston and its surrounding areas, the arts, history, culture, and outdoor activities abound. Many flock to the Charleston area to take advantage of everything it has to offer.

While many relocate because of employment opportunities, individuals aren’t the only one who relocate to Charleston. Businesses likewise see many possibilities and benefits to having offices in Charleston.


Covering three counties and several municipalities, the greater Charleston area has many incentives for a variety of industries including tourism, manufacturing, healthcare, shipping, transportation, and technology, to name a few.

Whether it is a start-up company by recently transplanted individual, the opening of a local office in a new market, or the complete relocation of a business to the area, all industries in the area continue to grow. With the arrival of business comes the influx of a talented workforce as well as a concentrated efforts to develop local talent from the surrounding areas to meet industry needs.

Build on local relationships by engaging with local businesses to meet some of your business’ needs. This can include local real estate agents to help you find the perfect location for your business to local interior design firms to create a new look for your new Charleston area business.


Tapping into the resource for business relocation include state and local resources:

South Carolina State Resources

Greater Charleston Area Resources



Local Business Resources

Local Business Media

Local Business Consultants

Welcome to Charleston!

A Great Place to do Business!