Form, function and beauty

Bank interiors have changed over the years. They’ve fully transformed from formal, hotel-like interiors with dark wood and equally dark upholstery and finishes to today’s clean lines and open spaces with a mix of modern and simple details. 

While design trends will ebb and flow, one noticeable statement about evolving bank design is that banks of the past were clearly … banks. They had a signature look that was formal, business-like and a bit ornate or ornamental. Today’s banks look as though they breathed a sigh of relief — shedding formal and heavy for airy, bright and open. Bank interior design trends have moved away from an industry-specific style guide and embraced more modern styles, consistent with with other retail businesses. And they've grown more sophisticated in their ability to provide great customer experiences. 

Modern Bank Interior Design

Online banking has impacted the financial industry overall, including bank interior design. Because many banking transaction services are accessible online, accommodating non-transactional services, like those pertaining to loans, mortgages, investments and business services, remain major considerations for today’s bank interiors. Whether building new or remodeling an existing bank, it’s critical to understand the services being offered, how customers will access these services, the kinds of relationships customers seek from bank professionals alongside the ancillary services the institution will offer. 

Here are a few notable trends in modern bank interior design that enhance the customer experience:

Less Paper, Display and Storage Space 

Most transactional banking can be done via laptops and personal computers, reducing pen and paper transactions. The old-fashioned big teller line is being replaced by small, freestanding concierge stations or pods. This frees customer service reps and tellers to greet customers at the front door — something that isn't possible when they're planted behind a solid teller line.

This trend helps to create an accessible, inviting space for customers. It also allows the bank’s interior to focus on comfort and accessibility that aligns with the bank’s signature brand and appeals to customers. 

Wide Open Spaces 

Modern banks use warm, welcoming designs and open transaction areas to create an experience worth remembering. This trend is certainly impacted by less pen and paper transactions, but also by changing technology. However, customers that come in today for loans, investments, mortgages or business services want privacy and require closed offices.

Which came first — technology changes or design changes? It’s debatable, but they certainly influence each other. Tube televisions have been replaced by flat screens hung on walls, book collections and manuals are available online and forms are completed digitally and authorized with e-signatures and stored in password protected accounts. While these innovations may seem slight, their impact on interior designs is quite large. Heavy, large built-ins are now unnecessary and can appear quite intrusive and disruptive to layout, flow and visual appeal. 

Technology can also be used as a design element, as many banks are incorporating “digital walls” or large-format touch screens to allow customers to view the latest news and events, market updates and more. Complimentary lighting can dramatically influence a digital wall and give it an artistic look that is interesting and distinctive to the space. 

Modern Banking Offices 

Digital access, technology changes and remote working capabilities are several trends impacting a global quest to explore the question, “what is an office?” The banking industry is continually exploring this question. Traditional offices — with solid walls and fully functional doors — are essential. Today’s bank office spaces must provide privacy for customers seeking confidential discussions. 

Despite what some may say, private offices are more important to day than ever. 

Imagining office space in new ways can spark ideas on their form and function. Remember: 

  • Lobby and transaction space is shrinking
  • Privacy is essential
  • Your offices have the opportunity to say, we value your privacy and customer experience

This exploration of office space will likely result in creative design ideas that ensure offices are a meaningful part of the customer and employee experience and that they enhance the overall design of the space.  


The open concepts of modern bank interior design allow for inventive ways to leverage the utility of the space. Some banks are introducing multiple business partners to appeal to customer’s desires, including coffee shops, cafes, title companies and other retail businesses. 

Michael Orth, Vice President of HomeTown Bank, offers a fresh perspective on the positive outcomes of blending a coffee shop and their bank:

“The pairing of a local coffee shop, Mocha Monkey, was discussed in great detail and we thought it would be a good fit for us. The basic concept was to design a coffee shop, with a bank wrapped around it. It is hard to tell where the coffee shop stops and where the bank starts.

At any given time throughout the day, I see 10 to 12 non-customers sitting in the shared space. Coffee customers are exposed to the bank employees and brand, and the bank customers are able to get a great cup of coffee.”

Shared community space in banks is a creative twist on amenities and also bank interior design. Many banks are considering ways to make their conference rooms multi-purpose, and one option is to make them accessible for customer use, after banking hours

Complete with digital screens, computers, phones and wifi and speaker systems, these spaces are ideal for group meetings, private or virtual interviews and more. Inviting non-customers into the bank space in this way increases traffic and presents a community-feel. 

Let’s Modernize Together

Need inspiration for your project? Check out The Ultimate Workbook for Designing a Bank; this resource will ignite the creative process and help you think through critical aspects of the project. At HTG, we bring years of experience and industry knowledge to every partnership. In addition, our InVision process will guide you through the early planning and conceptual design stages, with an eye toward industry trends and technologies. Along the way, and through every phase of the project, your brand, your story and your culture remain at the center. 

Contact us, and let’s get started on exploring the form, function and beauty of your modern bank interior design.

Successful branches start here. Talk to a Financial Architect

Published on July 29, 2020

Topics: Bank Construction

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