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Waiting Room Decor Suggestions

By Catalogs Editorial Staff

waiting room decorContributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman

No one loves a waiting room. If the occasion is something happy, waiting can seem endless. If it’s an anxiety-provoking situation, each minute in the waiting room is harder than the one before.

And neither situation is helped by standard waiting room design, whether a mix of uncomfortable seating, poor lighting, ugly art and an unwelcoming desk makes an already difficult experience even worse.

The important thing is that it doesn’t have to be this way! We can bring the same attention to design and comfort in waiting rooms as we do in our own homes. If you’re planning a new area or remodeling an old one, here are ten basic waiting room decor suggestions to make it a better experience for everyone.

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10. A welcoming check in desk

check in area in waiting room

There is no reason that a check-in area has to be ugly, intimidating or confusing. But you wouldn’t know that if you walked into most offices. Overly tall walls, noisy sliding windows, cheap sign-in clipboards and too many signs make the check-in experience a nightmare.

Put yourself in your clients’ shoes and imagine what would feel more like a welcome and less like a barrier, then design a check-in area to match. Curved lines, soft colors, subdued lighting and simple accents could give you exactly the image you want to convey.

9. Furniture that fits a variety of clients

family in waiting room

Most waiting rooms need to accommodate a variety of visitors of different sizes, ages and mobility. Make sure the waiting room chairs you select can comfortably fit people large and small, tall and short. If necessary, install seating in a variety of sizes and shapes to offer clients a choice of chairs, couches and benches to fit their body.

8. The right mix of lighting

waiting room with lamps

Some waiting rooms are so dim, it’s not unusual to see people using their cell phone lights to read documents or magazines. Others are so overly bright that sunglasses seem appropriate.

Ideally, a waiting room should include a mix of three kinds of light: natural light, overhead (or wall) light and tabletop light. Look for coordinating fixtures and lamps to create an attractive look throughout the room.

7. Tabletop access to plugs

waiting room charging station

We all need to plus our phones, tablets and laptops in, especially if we’re going to wait for an appointment or interview. But most waiting rooms still have all the plugs under tables or behind couches and chairs. One of the most simple waiting room decor changes you can make is to offer tabletop access to plugs and chargers.

Look for attractive boxes that include outlets for multiple cords, and have them mounted on side tables throughout the room. These charging stations are available in designs to match almost any decor, so what started out as a utility can become a decorative accent.

6. Artwork that works with your service

waiting room with couch and art

Yes, big box store art work is cheap. But let’s be honest…it’s also usually ugly. It doesn’t cost that much more to select attractive, well-executed art work for your waiting room. Do make sure the images reinforce the message you want to send to clients, and that they do not portray any ethnic or cultural groups in a negative light.

5. Waiting areas near specific services

hallway waiting room

Not every office should have a single giant waiting room. Breaking up the space to create small waiting areas or nooks near specific services can make your patients/clients more comfortable, and expedite staff access to the people they need to speak to at any given time.

4. Seating that works with singles and companions



Couches in waiting rooms are comfortable, but they can be tricky if clients arrive as singles. And chairs set apart can make anxious patients or parents with a child feel like they are being kept apart. The solution? Waiting room chairs via a sofa that has well defined cushions for individuals, or in pairs, with an arm in between the two seats. The arm provides the separation single clients need, while offering the feeling of being next to one another for couples and families.

3. Decorative clocks

waiting room with clock

Time is a touchy subject in many waiting rooms. But omitting a clock in hope that patients or clients won’t notice passing time is foolish. After all, almost everyone has a cell phone or watch, and can check the time whenever they choose.

But installing a beautiful decorative clock eliminates the need for constant phone checking, which reduces stress. That means happier clients and more relaxed patients for you!

2. Create a soothing focal point

waiting room aquarium

If your office is a destination for people in stressed situations, a soothing focal point like an aquarium or wall fountain is a thoughtful decor choice. Make sure the element you choose is easy to see from all or most of the room. For example, an aquarium located behind a row of chairs will be blocked as soon as the chairs are occupied.

1. Flooring designed for traffic

waiting room wood floor

There is nothing worse that walking into a waiting room and seeing stained, torn or broken flooring. No matter what else is in the room, or how wonderful the services might be, clients will have a negative opinion of the office. Instead of settling for cheap commercial carpeting, consider using solid wood, engineered hardwood or laminate wood flooring in your waiting room. Not only is it more attractive, it’s easier to maintain and provides a more sanitary option for medical locations.

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Your waiting room is a client’s first impression of your practice. Make sure the message your space sends is the one you want the world to see.

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