The Third Place: Combining Work and Comfort with Quality Office Design

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What is the ‘third place?

The term ‘third place’ refers to the place where people spend most of their time outside their ‘first place’ (the home) and ‘second place’ (work). The phrase was coined by sociologist Ray Oldenburg. It’s natural that for a ‘third place’, human beings will seek out a space that is comfortable, and where they can socialise and relax.

There are many examples of the ‘third place’, and preferred locations vary from person to person. These spaces include cafe’s and coffee shops, bars and pubs, community centres and sporting clubs, and much more. In the end, it really depends on what you or other people want to get out of a place that isn’t home or work.

The ‘third place’ has been seeping more and more into the realm office design in recent years. Essentially, if you are able to create a workplace that also incorporates the feeling of a ‘third place’, whereby employees do not simply feel they are at work, you (and they) will reap enormous benefits.

This can include:

  • Happier and more relaxed workers
  • Better relationships at work (and at home)
  • Improved mental health
  • A much more efficient workplace
  • More productive business operations.

At Niche Projects, we understand that every workplace is different, and every group of employees has different needs. We can work with you to create the feeling of a fantastic ‘third place’ in your office, and reap the benefits.

How can you design your office to combine comfort and work?

There are a number of ways you can design your office with comfort and efficiency in mind. At Niche Projects, we often work with businesses to create a Sydney office fit-out that achieves both these aims, and much more.

Furniture is incredibly important

The chairs, desks, couches, stools, tables, and other furniture in your office are essential elements for a functioning business. They need to be of excellent quality, conducive to healthy working conditions, and comfortable for your people. This is especially important when trying to craft a great ‘third place’.

It’s going to be tough for your people to dissasociate from the stuffy, traditional office, if the furniture in your new fit-out, or separate space, is uncomfortable and uninspiring. Therefore, selecting the right furniture is absolutely essential. This often means designing the space to feel more like a living room, rather than the office.

Therefore, consider utilising couches and coffee tables, armchairs and less formal desks. This type of approach helps to continue the disassociation from the droll office, and make your people feel more comfortable in this ‘third place’.

Consider lighting

Lighting plays a critical role in the comfort of a space, whether that’s at home, work, or somewhere else. Take a bar, for example. This is quite a common example of someone’s ‘third place’. They may spend plenty of time there with friends and family. But it’s far less likely they’ll do so if the lighting is incredibly harsh, or very dark.

When you aim to create that ‘third place’ in the office, lighting must be optimised for comfort, while ensuring that your people can still do their work. Along with that, the lighting that you do use should be warm and inviting, rather than bright and clinical. This approach will go a long way toward happier and more relaxed people.


There’s a level of comfort that comes with knowing your workplace has been designed and built with sustainability in mind. At Niche Projects, sustainable Sydney office fit-outs are our bread and butter. We always work towards creating an environmentally friendly workplace, by utilising natural and recycled (and recyclable) materials as much as possible.

Providing a workplace that is visibly eco-friendly is big tick to most employees these days. People care more and more about the environmental impact of their home and workplace… as they should! Therefore, if your office and your ‘third place’ fulfils this need for your people, you’ll see even more benefits as a business owner or manager.

Separation from colleagues

A vast majority of your employees do need time alone to relax and recharge. This is where a ‘third place’ is a fantastic asset for your business. Traditionally, people would seek out the ‘third place’ as a way of getting separation from work, and a different setting to home. If you’re able to provide this type of area at work, it’s as if you are giving them a ‘third place’, right next to their second place.

Office fit-out in Sydney

Looking for an office fit-out in Sydney? At Niche Projects, we’ve worked with all kinds of businesses, crafting exceptional fit-outs time and time again. If you want to discuss your workplace and your aims, get in touch with us today.