Our First Commercial Project + Kid-Proof Style


Did you know we also do commercial projects here at Trim? Well, we do! And today we thought we’d share a recent commercial project we did for the office lobby of a private elementary school in Southern California. Since this space needed to be extremely kid-friendly and durable, this project is full of tidbits that will be useful to anyone with kids at home! So without further ado…

Initial consultation call notes: 

  • Property was built as a public school in the 1950s and the office retains that aesthetic to this day - very cold, institutional, drab. 

  • Client’s wants/goals:

    • Clean bright look w/ warm neutral tones 

    • Design should fit w/ branding of the school’s website → organic modern, warm neutrals and greens 

    • Incorporate natural influences from surrounding environment- school is right on the beach in southern CA

    • Would like a relaxing atmosphere that feels continuous with the lush gardens surrounding the school building  

    • Looking for paint/flooring recs as well as overall design scheme and recs for a few key pieces 

    • Needs help w/ attractive office storage and organization- currently the walls are very cluttered with photos and student art displayed in haphazard fashion 

    •  Would like a small sofa, coffee table, chair(s) in reception area of office 

    • All existing furniture can go

    • Flooring and furniture must be able to take a beating from lots of elementary school children and needs to be easily cleanable, durable, nontoxic, kid-friendly, affordable 

Before Photos:

photos of school grounds:


Narrative Description of Design Concept 

The inspiration for this design comes from the branding of the school’s website, the gardens surrounding the school office, and the organic modern design aesthetic for which California is known. 

Color palette: warm neutrals with pops of deep green  

Below we will speak about individual elements of the mood board and explain the rationale behind them.


PAINT: We recommend all walls and trim be painted with Benjamin Moore Simply White in satin finish.  Simply white is a warm white which will make the space feel bright, welcoming, and serene, but not at all sterile.  Painting the trim the same color as the walls will reduce visual color and pull the space together. The satin finish will provide durability and easy cleaning without too much shine. 

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FLOORING: For the flooring, we are recommending Windlands 6" x 48" x 4.2mm Luxury Vinyl Plank by Mohawk Flooring.  This LVT is commercially rated and compatible with wood, concrete, or tile subflooring.  It is Water Resistant, Scratch Resistant, Stain Resistant, Slip Resistant, Mildew Resistant, Fade Resistant, Chip Resistant, Non-Toxic, LEED project appropriate, and made in America.  The color selection for the flooring is Grandfather Oak, which gives the appearance of a warm, reclaimed wood floor.  


  • We have recommended a loveseat from Interior Define in evergreen performance felt (a high performance, kid and pet friendly fabric) with an oiled walnut frame and brass capped legs which will complement the warm neutral palette of the design.  There are two larger loveseat options available as well as a full sofa, so this piece should work regardless of sizing needs. 

  • We have also shown you three different chair options which will all work well with the overall design scheme.  Both of the woven chairs (available here and here) are rated for commercial use. The upholstered chair, also from Interior Define, features a high performance indoor/outdoor fabric from Sunbrella. 


COFFEE TABLE: The coffee table we are recommending has rounded-corners (kid-friendly), and is heavy and study to avoid tipping. The organic modern shape embodies the overall feel of the design scheme. We recommend applying a concrete sealer to this table prior to use, which will protect it from staining and allow it to be easily wiped clean.


WALL DECOR: Currently, there is wall art scattered throughout the space, creating a visually cluttered effect. We recommend removing the wall decor from all but one focal wall. On this wall of focus, we recommend purchasing a few sets of inexpensive gallery frames such and using these frames to create one large gallery wall of student art and photos. The student art can be rotated out periodically for new pieces, but the matching frames (same color, varying sizes) will maintain a polished and clean look in the space.


OFFICE STORAGE: We have included a modern white barrister bookcase in the mood board that can double as student art display. The doors function as leaning art ledges which can be a restrained way to display student projects.  These bookcases are not tall, but can be lined up side by side to create the illusion of one larger piece. We recommend doing this rather than scattering them around- the result will be cleaner and the scale will be better. IT IS RECOMMENDED THAT YOU ALSO PURCHASE FURNITURE WALL STRAPS TO ELIMINATE TIP-OVER RISK.  


RUG: The rug we have selected is 100% stain resistant polypropylene- the gold standard in kid-friendly, durable rugs. This rug is weather-resistant, UV-stabilized, and can stand up to high-traffic. For a deep clean, simply hose the rug down and fully air dry. A non-skid rug pad is recommended to be used with this area rug. A rug pad will prevent slippage, can protect your flooring and creates extra cushion. This rug is available in a variety of sizes so it should work regardless of where you decide to place the reception sofa/chair/coffee table grouping.

LIGHTING: Layered lighting is key for creating a cosy space and combating a harsh institutional atmosphere.  The wall sconce shown is a plug in sconce, meaning it is wall mounted, but not hardwired. A cord extending from the back plate plugs into the nearest outlet.  This sconce has a long swivel arm making it a useful task lighting option. We have also shown a floor lamp which can be angled to arc over a small seating zone and serve as a unifying feature similar to a ceiling pendant. 

PLANTS: We recommend selecting low maintenance and hard to kill plants such as pothos, ZZ plants, and snake plants.  These require little in terms of light and only need occasional watering. Pothos can even survive without soil if the roots are submerged in water.