September 16, 2022
By Workspace Resource
About 20% of dental patients pick their dentist based on the quality of services provided. That means that some of your first-time patients are sizing up your practice to decide whether or not they'll come back.
Keep in mind that when patients are assessing the quality of their experience, they're not just thinking about the skills and professionalism of you and your staff. They're also assessing the office, itself.
A dental office reception area creates the first impression that a new patient will get of your practice. Is your reception area doing you favors or hurting your business?
If you feel like it's time for a dental office reception area design upgrade, you're in the right place. Read on for our guide to designing a reception area that patients will love.
When you're coming up with a plan for your reception area, it's important to keep accessibility at the focus of your design. Accessibility entails that everyone, regardless of disabilities, can navigate your waiting area.
First and foremost, don't create a maze out of your furniture. The path from the door to the desk to the seating in your reception area should be clear and easy to move through. You should also leave ample space for wheelchair users and consider adding a few couches or benches to provide seating for all body types.
Keep in mind that most people are a little bit frazzled or stressed when they arrive for a dental appointment. An accessible design doesn't just make your reception area physically accessible to all of your patients. It also eliminates confusion regarding where patients are expected to check in, return paperwork, and wait to be called back.
Believe it or not, a cluttered space can actually increase our feelings of stress. While this is particularly true of our home and work environments, it can also happen when we're passing through a cluttered area on our way to somewhere else. In other words, if your dental office reception area is cluttered, you might be stressing out your patients.
Try to make sure that your new reception area design is conducive to regular cleanings and decluttering. Hanging magazine racks along a wall or using pamphlet holders to display pamphlets can reduce the amount of clutter you might find in this space. Adding a shelf fitted with storage containers is a great way to clean up any toys or games you provide for children.
Naturally, one of your goals is to provide reliable scheduling so that your patients aren't waiting for too long in your reception area. Still, you want to ensure that they're comfortable when they do.
Low-quality reception area furniture can go through some serious wear and tear. Cushions get flattened, chair legs get wobbly, and your waiting room furniture is no longer comfortable to sit on--even for a few minutes.
Investing in new reception area furniture is an important part of increasing your patients' comfort while they wait. It's also a great opportunity to revamp the overall aesthetic of your office by refreshing the color scheme and giving the room a more modern look.
Most dental office reception areas will provide amenities to help patients pass the time while they wait for their appointment to start. The better your amenities, the less likely your patients are to notice if you're running a little bit late. Things like magazines for the adults and toys for the kids are a good start, but with great design, you can kick things up a notch.
Consider mounting a television on a wall opposite your seating area. If you really want to wow your patients, you can also set up a snack or coffee bar somewhere that won't block the seating, reception desk, or television. When adding toys and games, we recommend creating a kid's corner that is easy to see from the seating area but separate enough that your patients don't have to step over playing children to get to the reception desk.
Whether you're planning a reception area or a living room, there are certain design musts that you should always follow. The two that we stress most are focal points and scale.
A focal point ties together your design elements and office decorations and immediately draws the eye. A focal point can be anything from a large painting to a large fish tank or water feature. Starting your design plan with a focal point is a great way to create a unified theme and color scheme for the rest of your design.
Scale refers to how big or small objects look in comparison to each other and to space. If you have a large reception area, a few small chairs and tables will look small and uninviting, creating the illusion that seating is scarce. If you have a small reception area, huge pieces of furniture will create a claustrophobic feeling.
Finally, don't neglect to consider lighting when putting together your office design ideas. Many commercial buildings are fitted with harsh fluorescent lighting. This kind of lighting can make your patients feel like they're under a microscope--and it can detract from the overall aesthetic of your design.
Embrace natural lighting as much as possible. Remove heavy drapes or shades from windows. Add mirrors or reflective features to maximize sunlight.
Have a backup plan for those cloudy days. Pick overhead lighting that isn't too dim for your patients to see their forms or so bright that it's headache-inducing.
If your dental office reception area isn't making a good first impression, it's time for a makeover. If interior design isn't your thing, don't worry. That's where we come in.
We have years of experience with dental office lobby design and other commercial projects. Our goal is to maximize your workplace so that you can get the most out of it. Click the "Design Your Office" button at the top of the screen to get started.
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