Deciding to open a new dental office involves many decisions. While some may seem more significant than others, don’t underestimate the importance of the design of your reception area.
When people walk through the door, what do you want them to experience? What is it you want to convey about your professionalism, your technology, patient comfort, office efficiencies, and so on?
Your office makes a statement, so you need to ask yourself, “Is this the statement I want to create for my patients?”
Remember that everything in your office influences you, your dental team, your patients, your furnishings, and most importantly, case acceptance.
With those thoughts in mind, your dental office design should ultimately reflect your vision and create a lasting impression that will stay with your patients long after they leave.
As you begin planning your ideal office, take time to think through and evaluate how you work best and what matters most.
Every dentist is different in how they like to present their office and what they want to be visible with consideration given to the level of design, the feel of the office, and each room’s placement.
While it’s essential to make sure the design meets your expectations, it’s equally important to have a list of things you DO NOT want to portray or occur in your new space.
When you decide on the design of your office space, always keep the patient’s perspective in mind.
One of the most important aspects to consider when designing your reception is reminding yourself that the reception area is primarily a waiting room where patients spend most of their time.
Regardless of your vision, your primary goal should be to make it a calm and inviting space.
To do that, the easiest thing you can do is choose the right colors, particularly colors that soothe, rather than those that excite.
For example, greens are considered a soothing and natural color, while reds imply wealth and energy and stimulate excitement.
As a general rule of thumb, neutral, cool colors and clean lines are your best bet because they transmit a feeling of comfort and restraint.
That’s why so many medical offices decorate in beige, blue, or brown.
Lighting is also an important factor to consider in your dental practice reception design.
Sufficient lighting is imperative to dispel feelings of gloom, so use adequate lighting to brighten the room.
Windows allowing natural light to enter is also an important factor to consider, so if possible, incorporate as much natural light into the design as you can as well as live plants.
Also think of your typical client and what they experience in your entrance and waiting area, those for a child and those for an elderly person will most likely be very different. For example can an elderly person easily access the building and can a child see over the reception desk to see who is talking?
Comfort and style are also critical aspects to consider when finalizing your dental practice reception design.
While this should go without saying, make sure you purchase comfortable chairs for your patients to sit in while they wait.
Far too often, dentists focusing on the budget try to cut corners and save money by buying cheap furniture. The result is a grumpy patient that is less likely to leave a positive review.
When it comes to style, make sure you know what you’re doing or hire an interior designer who understands your vision.
While decorating an office may be low on your priority list, patients will likely notice details like the paint, wood trim, chairs and magazines on display while they are waiting for their appointment and draw conclusions about the equipment and care of the facility based on their observations.
Controlling sound should also be on your priority list when putting the final touches on your dental practice reception design.
Patients use all of their senses while in your reception area and form judgments based on things that cannot be seen.
Sounds from medical or dental equipment can be discomforting. Voices heard from muffled conversations can raise concerns about confidentiality and privacy.
Consider using sound-absorbing walls and surfaces as well as properly placed speakers to play music to help your patients relax.
In the end, your reception area plays a vital part in attracting patients, so make sure you make it a priority.
A welcoming, comfortable, and relaxing reception area will go a long way to helping your practice succeed.
To learn more about dental practice reception design, make sure to take a look at my new book, DentalEase: The Essential Guide to Building the Stress-Free and Profitable Dental Practice of Your Dreams. The first chapter is free to download and will give you even more insight into how to grow your dental practice.