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6 Waiting Room Design and Decor Ideas for Your Practice

 dentist office illustration

Source: Ico Maker/Shutterstock

A medical practice that provides top-quality care must have a comfortable and functional waiting room. Every design decision you make impacts a patient’s experience, and since a waiting room is most people’s first impression of your practice, it’s vital that patients feel at ease in this space. 

The concepts we’ll discuss here are six important ideas that any practice can incorporate into its waiting room design. These ideas have the power to make your patients calmer, your space more welcoming and your staff happier. 

1. Create a Functional Layout

Functionality has to come first in a waiting room design, so remember these important tips: 

  • Place the reception desk in a central location that’s easy to access from any area of the waiting room. 
  • Offer storage benches, coat hooks, hall tables and other handy furniture near your entrance and exit to facilitate smooth transitions in and out of the office. 
  • Create different seating arrangements in different areas, such as a circle around a coffee table for families who want to sit together and socially distanced seating for people who may be contagious. 
  • Pay close attention to ADA medical facility standards to ensure your waiting room is compliant and that patients with disabilities can move comfortably within it. 

2. Use Calming Colors 

Choosing the right colors for your waiting room is one of the most simple but effective choices you can make in setting the right tone. Calming colors like blue and green are common choices, as are softer pastels and earth tones. It’s better to avoid bright, potentially agitating colors like red and orange. Black, by contrast, is often too somber.

Remember that calming doesn’t have to mean boring. It’s a good idea to work with a professional designer who can help you create contrasts and points of visual interest in your color patterns. Between your furniture, your walls and your lighting (see below), you should have plenty of options available for colors to play with. 

3. Create a Kids’ Area

For pediatricians and others who work extensively with children, a play area for kids is basically a necessity. It’s crucial that children (and parents) feel as comfortable as possible when in your office, so include essentials like toys and picture books to keep them occupied. Their parents will thank you. 

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To make kids feel at home in the kids’ area, try adding peel and stick wallpaper with a kid-friendly pattern. Fathead’s wall decals with Disney, Marvel or Sesame Street characters can add a spark of liveliness and familiarity, while a height chart makes it easy (even fun) for parents to get their kids’ measurements. 

Shop Our Entire Kid’s Wall Decal Collection

4. Create Attention Points

Adult patients in your waiting room need something to keep their minds and/or bodies occupied, too. These are some design elements that can help with that: 

  • Fish Tanks: The delight of seeing beautiful living things can provide a great mood boost, although it’s important to ensure that your staff is able to care for the fish appropriately. 
  • Magazines: Keep a variety of publications around for people with different interests. General news, sports, home and garden and science and technology magazines are all good choices. 
  • Artwork: Abstract or landscape artwork in calming colors is a good choice for a waiting room. 
  • Snacks: Adding some light, healthy snacks to your waiting room is a great way to keep people calm and happy. Remember to consider the various dietary restrictions your patients might have. 

5. Harness the Potential of Lighting

Lighting plays a huge role in creating an atmosphere for any space, and that’s especially true in a waiting room. Maximizing natural light should be your first priority when it comes to lighting, as simple daylight has well-established positive effects on people’s moods and health. 

When it comes to artificial lighting, the ideal choice is something fairly bright, but not harsh. Many practices find soft LED lighting to be an outstanding option, less harsh than fluorescents while still conserving power and keeping electric bills down. If you’re going for a modern look, consider recessed lighting fixtures in the walls and/or ceiling. 

6. Add Some Health Literacy Displays

Health literacy is a key part of empowering patients and improving outcomes, and many providers see educational displays in the waiting room as a key way to improve it. Topics of educational displays can include: 

  • Basic anatomy
  • Body systems
  • Healthy eating
  • Smoking cessation
  • Pregnancy care
  • Community resources

Fathead offers high-quality educational display posters, including medical diagrams and body charts.  

Browse All Health and Anatomy Wall Stickers

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Medical practices in search of some appealing and outside-the-box elements for their waiting room design will love what Fathead has to offer. Discover our full selection of wall decals and more, all made with high-quality, wall-safe vinyl. 

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