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How to Make Guests Feel Welcome in Your Waiting Room

You’ve heard that first impressions are everything. Because the first impression most guests and clients get of your business is that of your waiting room, it’s important to design the space to make everyone feel welcome. Here are some tips to make the people in your lobby feel at home.

Set the Temperature to a Comfortable Level

You don’t want the people in your lobby to be freezing, but you don’t want it to get too stuffy. Although it will be impossible to please everyone, we recommend keeping your waiting room temperature around 70 degrees. This will keep most visitors comfortable while they wait.

Accommodate Active Waiting

Sitting in a reception area waiting for an appointment is just plain boring. Make sure you accommodate active waiting so your guests can enjoy every moment of their visit to your business. 

What do we mean by active waiting? Simply put, give your guests something to do while they wait so they aren’t stuck staring at a wall the whole time. Provide free Wi-Fi in your reception area so guests can use their phones and laptops freely while waiting. Keep reading materials on nearby coffee tables as well. Most importantly, think of the average demographics of the people visiting your office and what they would enjoy doing during their wait. You may even want to incorporate a child play area if you’re a healthcare facility or an office that commonly hosts children.

Pamper Every Visitor

Whether it’s a client, partner, or new intern, treat every visitor in your waiting room as a valued customer by going above and beyond to make them feel welcome. Pampering your guests can be as simple as offering coffee, tea, or water. 

You’ll certainly want to pamper your guests when it comes to the furniture in your waiting room. Chairs should be plush and padded, while the reception desk and décor should be beautiful and inspiring. Your guests should feel like they’re in a 5-star hotel, whether your waiting room is a corporate office or a small business.

Allow Visitors to Take Control

Avoiding uncomfortable situations is key to making your guests feel welcome in your office. Visitors in your waiting room should have a wide range of seating options available so they aren’t forced to sit next to anyone they may not want to be by. Take care to offer different types of seating as well, including chairs with arms, chairs without arms, and bariatric seating options.

Design the Room to Reflect Your Brand

Your guests should know where they are the moment they step foot into your waiting room. From the colors you use to adorn the room to the arrangement of your furniture, create a look in your reception area that reflects your business. Whether that’s calm and serene or bold and exciting will depend on your business’s branding.


8 Things You Need to Design a Waiting Room That Wows

Creating a waiting room that will wow your guests and clients without going over budget is easy. Make a stylish first impression with these simple additions.

1. Make Your Reception Desk the Center of Attention

The front desk is the largest piece of furniture in your waiting room; as such, it’s the one thing you should splurge on if you can. If an expensive desk isn’t in your budget, there are many budget-friendly reception desk options

Go for something with a high-end modern look, but buy it in a ready-to-assemble model (RTA). RTA furniture is much more cost-effective than fully assembled options since furniture as big as a reception desk can cost a lot to ship. When it’s packaged unassembled, shipping is considerably less. 

In addition to choosing something RTA, we recommend going with a laminate desk rather than real wood. Solid wood and veneer cost a ton, and although it looks great, you can find plenty of beautiful laminate options that will last many years and cost much less.

2. Add Seating with Style and Support

Your waiting room chairs need to incorporate 2 major factors: stylish good looks and cushioned comfort. Both are equally important, and there are plenty of cost-effective options. 

Go for cushioned chairs rather than wood or plastic options that can be uncomfortable to sit in for long periods. You’ll also want to make sure to vary the type of chairs in the space: Offer some chairs with arms, some without arms, and some bariatric options as well. 

Be sure to consider your guest population when outfitting the space. For example, if you have a business that sees children, you’ll want to add loveseats and sofas to the space so that children can sit with their parents. If your waiting room is in a healthcare facility, you’ll need chairs that are easy to clean. 

When it comes to the style of your waiting room seating, go for something modern that fits with your brand, perhaps in your company colors or something sleek and neutral.

3. Offer the Right Organization for Out-the-Door Ease

From coat hooks to storage benches, incorporating the right type of storage near the door of your business will make it easy for guests to store coats, umbrellas, and other belongings when they enter and pick them back up easily before they leave.

4. Use Décor You’d Use in Your Home

Décor can make a world of difference when it comes to the look of any space, whether it’s your home’s living room or your business’s waiting room. The great thing about décor is that it comes in beautiful options to fit every budget, whether you can spend thousands of dollars or can’t spend any money at all. Bring some well-coordinated art prints to your walls or add an elegant vase to the top of your receptionist’s desk. Just remember: Less is more, so don’t overdo it.

5. Add Mirrors to Make a Small Space Appear Larger

Decorative mirrors work both as décor and as tools that can make a space appear larger. Add a large mirror to a blank wall or some smaller decorative mirrors near your seating area to help open up the space and improve your small waiting room design.

6. Incorporate a Rug or Runner to Tie the Look Together

A simple and affordable rug or runner can turn a bland space into a softer, homier space, which will undoubtedly make guests feel more welcome in your business. Make sure you’re getting the right size and style area rug by reading our complete guide to area rugs.

7. Let There Be Light

A well-lit room is a good-looking room, so make sure you incorporate the right amount of light into your waiting area. Natural light is always the best option, but artificial office reception area lighting will likely be necessary as well. Add the right amount of overhead lighting, lamps, and wall fixtures to create a well-lit space with a modern look.

8. Bring in Mother Nature’s Touch

Greenery is a natural mood booster, so adding plants to your waiting area will likely make guests feel calmer. The great thing about this office addition is that it’s not only real flowers and trees that have this positive effect. If you don’t want to spend time or money caring for real plants, artificial greenery and even artwork featuring plant life will have the same positive effect on your visitors.


How to Design a Modern Waiting Room

Designing a modern waiting room can be daunting, no matter how small or large your space may be. After all, your reception area is often the first image guests will have of your organization, so making a positive impression in this room is vital. Here’s what you should add to your space if you want to achieve a truly modern look in your lobby.

Sleek and Simple Guest Seating

Make sure that your guest chairs aren’t too big or bulky. Traditional sofas and lounge chairs take up a lot of space in a room—instead, go with chairs with seats raised from the floor. This will give off a more modern appearance and even help make your waiting room appear larger. You can kick the style up a notch by choosing chairs with a metal framework.

Occasional Tables That Match Your Guest Seating

Match your tables to your guest chairs for a collected, well-coordinated appeal. Glass top tables give off an especially sleek and simple look, delivering the functionality of coffee and end tables without the bulky design elements that many traditional options tend to feature.

Statement Reception Desk

Because it’s likely the first thing visitors see when they enter your office, the reception desk should be the statement piece of your waiting room. Choose something large enough for staff to work comfortably, but make sure it’s proportionately sized to fit the space in your lobby. Additionally, you should select a desk with a transaction counter that will make it easy for guests to fill out paperwork while standing. You may also want to consider reception desks with ADA-compliant surfaces that can accommodate users in wheelchairs.

A Comfortable yet Stylish Receptionist Chair

It is far more important for your receptionists to be comfortable while they work than for you to equip them with chairs that look good, but it’s usually not too difficult to find task seating that accomplishes both of these feats. Select an ergonomic chair with multiple adjustments that can be easily switched up to accommodate different employees as shifts change throughout the day. This ensures your staff is comfortable while working since you can’t expect good work from uncomfortable employees. When it comes to the style factor, you may want to choose an ergonomic chair in sleek mesh or leather upholstery. Additionally, a chair with a white or chrome framework will be much more visually exciting than a chair that’s basic black.

Simple Artwork

Blank walls don’t make much of an impression, so dress them up in just the right way. Remember, less is more. You’ll want to make sure not to go overboard with your décor choices. Try adding framed or canvas artwork in a neutral or minimal color palette.

Functional but Interesting Coat Racks

You’ll need a place for guests to hang their coats and hats when they enter, so why not make that area just as stylish as the rest of the room? Coat racks in a modern style look great whether they’re being used or not.

An Elegant Floor Lamp

Even the most beautiful room is nothing without good lighting. Illuminate your reception area with a chrome or satin nickel floor lamp to light up the space. You can even use matching table lamps in the room for a well-coordinated look.

Cozy Accent Pillows

Adding pillows to the space will make your reception area feel a little more like home, which is often a welcoming feature for guests. This is also an excellent opportunity to bring in some color, which you may want to match to your wall art if possible.