Your waiting room is an important area and is often where patrons and visitors form their first impressions of your establishment. If you’re responsible for designing a new waiting area or are planning to revamp an existing one, there are several key features essential to creating a functional yet welcoming space.
If your reception desk and waiting area are within the same space then this will be a key piece of furniture that you can use to create an impact. Styles and prices vary greatly but a nice piece of furniture doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Spend some time researching what’s available and shop around to find the right style of reception desk that fits in with your budget.
If you don’t have a manned reception you may have a phone which visitors use to call through to your offices to announce their arrival, or have a visitors book where they have to sign in. A standing height table at the entrance to your waiting room is a good solution for this.
Waiting Room Chairs
Probably the most important element for those having to wait; comfortable waiting room chairs are obviously essential and a key feature in any waiting room. It’s also often a good idea to provide a few different types of seats to accommodate the different needs of your visitors, so think about what these might be so you can choose the most appropriate solutions, e.g. chairs with arms to aid those with difficulty getting up and down. Also ensure there is sufficient access and space for wheelchairs, and for prams where relevant.
Some low tables are useful to display corporate material, leaflets, or magazines which your visitors can look at whilst they’re waiting. They also break up the space and provide a surface where visitors can place bags or other items they may have with them.
If children are regular visitors to your establishment you may want to have a separate area for them within your waiting room. Child height waiting room chairs and tables and a few toys or books to keep them entertained whilst they wait are usually appreciated by parents and carers, and also by other visitors. Also ensure that there are some adult seats close by so parents and carers can sit comfortably whilst supervising their children.
Wall & Room Décor
Waiting rooms can often be pretty dull and boring places and blank walls certainly don’t help this. It’s very easy to add some interest in your waiting room at very little cost and there are a wide range of options available to do this. Whatever type of establishment there is a wide range of wall art including prints, posters and sculptures that you can use to brighten up plain walls. In corporate environments you may want to use images relating to your company history, products or services or even have a cabinet or shelf to display your products. A noticeboard is useful if you need to display information posters or notices to your visitors. Ensure that notices are organised neatly and that anything out of date is removed straight away. You can also add interest with artificial plants, sculptures and ornamental displays although these will not be appropriate in every establishment.
It’s important you have appropriate lighting as this can have a big effect on mood and ambience, especially if your waiting room doesn’t have windows. Lights which replicate natural light are often a good choice but at the very least you need to ensure it’s not too bright or too dull and ensure there is sufficient light for people to read. If your waiting room has windows then ensure there are blinds which can be used to control the glare of sunlight and also help keep things cool in hot summer months. In corporate environments you can also use free standing lamps to add interest and create a more intimate feel.
Finally, and dependent on the type of establishment, you may want to make things more comfortable for your visitors by offering some refreshments whilst they wait. This could simply be a basic water cooler or a more elaborate coffee machine. Whatever you offer it’s important the area is kept clean and tidy so ensure someone is available to check on this throughout the day and provide a small waste bin for rubbish.
These are the key elements that are required to furnish a modern waiting room and whether your budget is small or large you can still create a stylish and welcoming area that is a pleasant setting for your visitors to wait.
Evertaut is a UK manufacturer of waiting room seating and works with designers, architects and clients across the UK to help them create a welcoming space for visitors.