Many organisations have a tendency to neglect visitor-friendly décor. Whether you’re a creative agency, a finance office, or a local doctor’s surgery, designing a welcoming reception area makes a massive impact on a visitor’s first impression of the company.
For open-plan receptions with the front desk sharing the room with a seating area, you first need to get a good idea of the flow of the foot traffic around the room. This includes everything from people walking in and out of your front door, to people getting in and out of their seat. Ideally, you want to arrange your reception furniture so that there are no obstacles that disrupt the flow of the room.
It might be 20 minutes, it might only be 2, but customers and visitors should be able to pass the time comfortably and feel well looked after. Welcome visitors to the office as if they were friends invited into your home. Even if they have arrived early, or are expected to wait a while, you may want to offer them a glass of water or a hot drink. In which case, they’ll need a coffee table.
Waiting rooms can often feel claustrophobic, so a strategically placed wall mirror will instantly give the illusion of more space. Lighting is everything when you’re working with small spaces, so give thought on how to best light the space you have. Any kind of high gloss, glass or other reflective surface can also help you to achieve the same effect.
The seating of choice for many businesses are tub chairs. Why are tub chairs so prevalent in commercial spaces? We honestly can’t give you a definitive answer, but they are quite lightweight and take up less space than their larger armchair counterparts and can be upholstered in numerous ways to match your brand’s colours or office décor.
If you have the space for an office sofa, we recommend looking for one that is easy to clean. Either by way of removable cushion covers or faux leather upholstery that allows you to give the sofa a regular wipe down. Especially if your business sees a number of visitors on a daily basis, regularly cleaning your sofa can ensure that your sofa doesn’t develop any lasting smells – and no visitor likes grimy seating.
A side table can perfectly complement your reception’s seating arrangement, and can even replace having a coffee table if floor space is at a premium. Side tables can be positioned beside an office sofa or tub chair instead of in the middle of a seating area, providing a handy surface for cups of tea and coffee, glasses of water, mobile phones or documents.
Both a side table or a coffee table can be styled to reflect your company’s brand or simply make the space feel more personal and welcoming. You could include a jar of sweets, a jug of water or juice, a coffee table book, or magazines, to keep guests entertained as they wait for their meeting. Just make sure that you don’t clutter the surface too much, as untidiness can induce a feeling of stress or anxiety for your visitors. Ideally, you want to strike the balance between minimalist and having just enough to keep guests occupied.
When a customer or a visitor comes in for a meeting, they may be inclined to want to take a little something with them. A business card, additional literature, a brochure, a leaflet… They may do this on their way in or on their way out. Either way, positioning a console table along their path between the entrance (or front desk) and the meeting room (or waiting area) allows them to do so conveniently. A console table lends itself well to reception display thanks to its slim footprint, allowing it work well in narrow spaces, whilst providing an eye-catching surface for both decorative items and leaflet holders.