What’s the first thing you see when you enter the offices of a business? The reception area, of course. Reception area design can make the difference between a client feeling confident in your business and a client wanting to turn and run away. Furniture, décor, color scheme and style are all things to consider when designing a reception area that will make your clients feel comfortable and welcomed.
At Arnold’s Office Furniture, we’ve been in the office furniture business for decades, so we know what we’re talking about when it comes to designing a good reception area. In this guide, we’ll discuss the importance of well-designed reception furniture, common styles and a few tips for creating a stunning reception area of your own.
The Importance of Good Reception Furniture
You may be asking yourself why your reception area — a place where clients will spend a minimal amount of time — deserves so much thought and planning. But the reception area design says more about your business than you realize. It’s one of the first things people see when they enter your business, and first impressions are everything.
The reception area is a place where clients formulate an initial opinion about your business and decide if they like the vibe — so take control of the situation and ensure you put forth your company’s culture and aesthetic in the best possible way.
However, good reception area ideas aren’t just for the sake of your visitors. Morale is boosted when employees work in an organized and welcoming environment, and your reception area should be no exception. The administrative staff will be happier in an attractive space, and employees who enter the office through reception will be constantly reminded they are welcomed and a part of something big. After all, happy employees tend to be more productive and loyal.
Your clients and your staff are the two most important parts of your business — both can help you become extremely successful or lead to your downfall, so ensure everyone is happy by putting some extra thought into your office reception area ideas.
Common Reception Area Styles
When it comes to reception area design tips, there’s no end to the possibilities. You can opt for whatever style you think best complements your brand, but some tend to be more popular than others, thanks to their timelessness. Some common reception area styles are:
As one of the most popular styles, the minimalist design doesn’t have to mean, cold and sterile. Minimalism just means your space is using only the furniture necessary, without any frills, making it more open and neat. There are two types of minimalist design you can choose from, depending on the aesthetic and style of your company:
Modern: Usually, when a design is described as “modern,” it’s referring to the mid-century modern designs of the 1950s and 1960s. Think of the offices in “Mad Men,” which feature a lot of common, earthy elements like wood.
Contemporary: Contemporary design tends to embrace the now and the future, with glass and metals being the dominant material.
This is a style that can be very difficult to pull off, but, if executed correctly, can be breathtaking. Contrary to popular belief, an eclectic style doesn’t just mean bringing together various pieces of furniture and dumping them all together, hoping for the best. Eclectic design requires a very calculated mix of décor from various styles and eras, and they all need to be anchored by commonalities.
Though it may not look it, eclectic design is very intentional, but the resulting creative atmosphere will make anyone who walks into your reception room feel invigorated and like they’re being welcomed into the cool-kids’ club.
As its name suggests, reception areas decorated in a glamorous style aim to impress. It’s best utilized by luxury brands, but it can be applied to any industry as long as you know who you want to impress.
Glamorous styles don’t require you to turn your reception area into a black-tie ball or a Gatsby party, though. Something as simple as dramatic accents or high-quality furniture can show visitors your brand is confident, impressive and welcoming all at the same time.
Similar to the eclectic and minimalist style, an energetic reception area features bright pops of color and clean lines. The goal is to express your brand as modern and hip, as well as hard-working and progressive.
Bold colors, bright lights and funky furniture all give the impression of a company that knows how to work hard and play hard. For even more energy, try adding inspirational quotes and other similar décor to emphasize your brand’s core values.
How to Create a Great Reception Area
There’s a lot to consider when designing your office reception areas, including which furniture to use, how to make the most of your space and how to ensure your visitors will feel welcome. All these and more will ensure your reception area gives off the message you want:
There’s a lot of say about the layout of your reception area, especially when it comes to the furniture. Too many pieces can make it feel cluttered, and too few can give off an unwelcome vibe. Finding that perfect balance doesn’t need to be tricky, though.
The reception desk is something you can’t skimp on, but you also need to take into consideration the space you have. A giant wooden desk in a tiny room isn’t practical, and a small, cheap table for someone who has a million tasks to complete isn’t either. An office desk makes a statement, and you want to ensure it makes the right one.
Ensure your reception area has enough seating that is far enough apart that visitors can sit without feeling crowded or isolated. Make sure there is a clear path from the entrance to the reception area and then to the seating area. Signage can also help with accessibility.
If your office has limited space, a good rule of thumb is to ensure all the furniture is up against the parameter of the room, leaving more space in the middle. Another good idea is to figure out how you can make the most of all the floor space available to you. For example, instead of leaving corners bare, invest in lounge furniture that can be combined in different ways.
When it comes to reception area tips, lighting is as important as layout. Too much of it can be bothersome and even give your visitors headaches while they wait. Too little lighting can make the reception area look cold and unwelcoming. Striking a balance results in your reception area being an inviting and open space.
If you’re blessed with a spacious reception area that has windows, take advantage of the natural light filtering through. Arrange furniture so clients will be able to bask in the sunlight without being blinded by it. Natural light is a great way to make your reception area look bigger and refreshing.
If your reception area is tucked away or if few sources of light make the space look gloomy, play with the overhead lighting by using LED bulbs, which will help give a more muted and neutral light. Or consider some accent lighting, such as a chandelier or lamps.
Since the reception area is where visitors will often have to spend some time, they must be provided with comfort — that means taking advantage of our reception area furniture ideas and investing in top-tier lounge furniture. Furniture can have the biggest impact on your space and your clients. Whether you opt for modern, minimalist furniture or something more energetic and unique, reception area furniture ideas are never-ending.
The reception desk should be big enough for the receptionist to successfully multitask but not take up too much space. Depending on your brand’s aesthetic, that could mean something classic and compact that brings the room together or something simpler and more minimalist that doesn’t distract.
Whichever style you choose, make sure there is enough seating for everyone who may end up having to wait at reception. That may mean being clever with your furniture regarding the space you have available. Bigger doesn’t always mean better, and you don’t want your reception area to look overly crowded, so choose wisely, especially if you’re working with a smaller space.
Whatever your reception area furniture ideas may be, you need to take into consideration the materials at hand. Are you expecting your reception area to have a lot of traffic? Will the furniture be in direct sunlight? Will it be easy or difficult to clean?
Vinyl, mesh, leather and cloth are all popular options, but they each come with their own sets of pros and cons.
Vinyl: Cost-effective and durable, vinyl is also easy to clean and mostly stain and germ-resistant.
Mesh: Offering great ventilation thanks to the synthetic upholstery, mesh is durable and can be cleaned less often, making it a great and comfortable option for the receptionist.
Leather or faux leather:If you’re willing to splurge a little, you can invest in leather or faux leather furniture, which looks clean and classy — plus, it’s more stain-resistant and longer-lasting than vinyl.
Cloth: Cloth fabric will likely provide the most comfort, but it’s not always a great choice for high-traffic furniture. You may not want to use cloth on your lounge furniture, but a cloth chair will likely be ideal for the receptionist.
Color and Décor
When picking out your furniture and its fabric, you’ll want to closely consider the color scheme, as well. Color is a great and subtle way to remind visitors of your brand’s colors, and the décor is perfect for reflecting your brand’s personality.
When brainstorming reception area ideas, consider what sort of aesthetic you want to present. Murals, wall art and potted plants are great ways to impress and engage visitors. Muted or neutral colors are great complements to a minimalist reception area, while bold colors energize visitors and show off your brand’s creativity. A standing reception desk and a neat, minimalist desk both suggest productivity in different ways.
Décor and color aren’t just limited to upholstery and art, though. If you have the option, consider adding stylish flooring and walls to your reception area. Would a tiled or carpeted floor be more in line with your brand? Could wallpaper help make your reception area look a little retro, or will it just make it look cluttered? Whatever you choose should accurately reflect your brand and your business.
Professional Design Services
Designing a reception area can be an overwhelming task, but you don’t have to do it all by yourself. The design experts at Arnold’s Office Furniture can provide you with excellent reception area tips, as well as professional design advice and services.
Our catalog of lounge and reception furniture lets you pick the style that will best complement your brand. Whether you’re looking for something classic and authoritative or something that allows you to show a little personality, our furniture can ensure you get exactly the style you want for your space.
But don’t limit yourself to just the reception area. Use Arnold’s Office Furniture to style the rest of your professional spaces, too. We offer a variety of office and reception desks and chairs, as well as cubicles, including Sunline Sliding Cubicles.
We also offer design services free of charge to customers who buy office cubicles from us. Just give us a floor plan of your office along with your requirements, and our design experts will provide you with design options that will complement your space and brand. After that, we will work with you to ensure you get the exact workspace you want.
Trust Arnold’s Office Furniture to Liven Your Reception Area
Since 1929, Arnold’s Office Furniture has been helping businesses establish themselves by providing top-tier office furniture. We’re now also the only company that sells the innovative Sunline cubicles, which are available in a variety of sizes and colors.
Rob has more than 25 years of experience in the office furniture business. He has used his extensive knowledge in his role as Senior Vice President to ensure our office furniture meets the needs of the modern corporate office environment and he regularly lends his expertise to various articles posted on the Arnold’s Office Furniture blog. Learn more about Rob!