Designing for a Maintainable Break Room

Designing for a Maintainable Break Room

By: Catie Sterling

One essential part of design is making sure a new space can be maintained over time. This is especially true in common areas, such as a break room. Once users start to move into a space, it can become messy if not designed well. A couple break room renovation projects have inspired me to write my blog on this topic, and I’ve learned some tips to keep a newly designed break room intact.

  • Choose cabinets with doors instead of open cubbies or doors with glass – cubbies can quickly get cluttered with lunch boxes, water bottles, snacks, etc., resulting in a break room that looks messy. When you have a solid door to conceal these things, it helps to maintain the design of the room.
  • Incorporate cup and utensil dispensers into your design – it’s neater and more aesthetically appealing to see a nice cup dispenser as opposed to stacks of Styrofoam cups in a plastic bag. The same goes for utensils.
  • Provide enough storage – incorporate base cabinets, wall cabinets, and tall cabinets so there is plenty of storage, otherwise, users will end up leaving things on the counter.
  • Incorporate microwave cut outs in casework into your design – when counter space is limited, you can’t really afford to waste it on a microwave. Instead, provide cutouts in casework specifically for microwaves.
  • Coordinate with the custodial staff – let them know where to keep additional cups, plates, and utensils and let them know material information so they can properly clean floors and counter-tops.

It’s important to consider these things when designing or renovating a break room. It’s easy to have a vision of a newly designed space upon completion, but we should also think about what it could look like after users have moved in. Facility managers will be happy you had this in mind. 🙂