Ah, the conference room. It’s the space where the board makes big decisions, creatives collaborate to find their next big idea, or sales reps impress that new client. However you use your conference room, smart planning and design are key to creating a space that supports your team. 


Here are 6 pro tips to help you design a better conference room:

1. Make Sure You’ve Got Enough Space for Comfortable Seating

Ever had to sit elbow-to-elbow with the guy in Finance who wears too much cologne because the conference room wasn’t big enough to accommodate everyone? Don’t put someone else in that position. Before you plan and design your conference room, determine how much space you’re working with.  


The rule of thumb for calculating conference room space is 50 square feet plus 25 square feet per seated person. So if you provide seating for 6 people, you’ll need at least 200 square feet to comfortably accommodate all participants. 


Once you know how much space you have, you can determine how much seating you can provide and whether you can include additional furniture like a side table (great for serving buffet-style meals or snacks during long meetings!) or lectern.


Check out our office space square footage guide for more help. 

2. Design for Your Conference Room’s Primary Use

Yes, we get that you’ll be holding meetings in the conference room—but what kind of meetings? Will your business development team use the room to present to clients? Will your creative team use it to collaborate? Or will your executive team host monthly board meetings there? 


These types of meetings all have very different needs, and those needs may dictate different conference room setups. 


If you anticipate lots of presentations, you may want to shift seating toward one end of the conference room and place a large screen at the other end so all participants can easily follow along. If you envision the room as a heavily collaborative space, you’ll want to include a few large whiteboards to facilitate some hearty conversations. 


Make sure to choose furniture and decor that cultivates the atmosphere you’re striving for. For example, an expansive table and executive-style chairs add an air of elegance for board meetings, whereas a round table and colorful artwork can bring a more creative, collaborative feel to a conference room. 

3. Keep Remote Participants Included and Engaged

Having at least a few remote participants is now common for meetings, but including them can be difficult if you don’t have the right hardware setup. When installing videoconferencing equipment, place screens and speakers where participants can easily be seen and heard. Give the videoconferencing equipment a few test runs before completing the install so you can easily adjust if needed. 


Placement isn’t everything, though. When it comes to video, color is also a consideration. Business IT provider LookingPoint says white walls or tables can increase glare on screens while neutral colors like gray can enhance color appearance. Keep this in mind when making design choices.


If you’re seeking a simple videoconferencing solution, invest in a media table that features built-in teleconferencing features so you can easily ensure all participants are seen and heard. 

4. Provide Access for Employees With Special Needs

Conference room setups can often be cumbersome for team members who use wheelchairs or other mobility devices, which can lead to feelings of frustration, embarrassment, or exclusion. Thoughtful layout and design can ensure easy access for all your team members, including those who may have physical challenges. 


Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) guidelines specify a series of measurements that give wheelchair users the space they need to move comfortably through the office. Make sure your conference room setup adheres to these guidelines:

  • Doorways and paths should be at least 36” wide.

  • Inside a room, a space of at least 60” is needed to comfortably turn a wheelchair. 

  • Desks and tables should have a vertical clearance of at least 27” and feature at least 30” of unobstructed width so a wheelchair can fit underneath.

  • Top surfaces of desks or tables should be 28–34” high for comfortable use.


Your design choices can also improve access. For example, a conference room table with a base of slim, straight column legs provides better wheelchair access than a trestle-style base, which protrudes underneath the table.

5. Be Thoughtful About Privacy and Acoustics

If confidentiality is a concern, include a few elements that can preserve privacy without sacrificing design. 


To lessen external visibility into a conference room with glass walls, consider frosting a portion of the glass or installing a few tall decorative planters along the length of the wall. To lessen sound travel, equip your conference room with acoustic panels, rugs, or tapestries. 

6. Don’t Forget the Finishing Touches

Keep participants focused on the task at hand by providing everything they may need for a fruitful conversation. Keep pens, notepads, whiteboard markers, and water bottles stocked and easily accessible. Bonus points for including a few spare laptop chargers. 


And don’t overlook the decorative pieces like artwork, rugs, and lamps that can “finish” the room so it feels polished and inviting. 

Meetings Never Looked Better

Now that you’re equipped with some conference room pointers, it’s time to design. Start with our guides to conference room tables and seating, or browse our complete collection of conference room furniture



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