Few people want to visit the dentist, because having someone poke around in your mouth is never a comfortable experience. It’s up to dentists to find ways to remove as much of the anxiety as possible by designing spaces with a soothing ambiance.
Much of the attention in dental office design is on the exam rooms, because they’re ultimately why the patient is visiting. The waiting room is equally important, though, because every patient will spend at least part of their time there.
The waiting room is also where patients anxiously await the dentist, possibly for a lengthy time. Designing this room with patient comfort in mind is therefore essential in easing that anxiety. This guide will take you through some tips for designing a comfortable and efficient waiting room for your visitors.
Considerations When Designing Your Waiting Room
There are some factors you’ll want to keep in mind before beginning the design process. It’s important to remember the purpose of your waiting room, so you don’t end up going in the wrong direction when brainstorming ideas. Here are a few thoughts:
- You’re Making a First Impression
The waiting room is the first thing a new patient will see, making it essential that you put your best foot forward. A cramped or disorganized waiting room could make your visitor second-guess using you as a dentist in the first place. Create a space that makes a solid first impression, and the rest of the visit should run much more smoothly.
- It Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive
There might be some temptation to go all-out on your waiting room, but remember that it doesn’t have to cost a fortune. You’re going for a comfortable space that allows patients a moment of peace before their appointment, so spending beyond your budget doesn’t make much sense.
- Think of the Patient’s Needs
Always consider the needs of your patients when creating a dental office waiting room design. These individuals probably don’t need anything too complex, as functionality and space are the most critical aspects. Give your patients room because they likely don’t want to feel cramped during their time there.
You can streamline the job by coming up with a general idea of how much you want to spend and what you want the room to look like before beginning the design process. You can then start developing specific ideas to make your new waiting room come to life.
7 Ideas to Include in Your Dental Office Waiting Room
You can go in many different directions with your dental office waiting room, depending on the experience you wish to create. Following a few tips makes the design process far easier by providing you with an outline of what many of these spaces include.
1. Buy New Furniture
Updated furniture should be one of your primary purchases as you design a dental office waiting room, because it makes the entire space feel more modern. No one wants to feel like they’ve stepped back into the 1980s when entering a dental office, but trendy, contemporary couches, chairs, and tables give the entire area a cleaner, more appealing feel.
2. Design a Convenient Layout
The layout is essential, because you want to provide each patient with space to sit and enough room to walk through the area comfortably without tripping over people. Your chosen layout should give clear access to the receptionist’s desk and examination rooms as well.
3. Include Activities
You’ll want to give your patients something to do while they wait. Free Wi-Fi is essential in a dentist’s office, but other considerations like workstations with desks and chargers could be valuable if you have space. Remember that your patients are probably missing work to visit you, so giving them the chance to catch up on some emails or reading could ease their stress.
4. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Your waiting room can use technology in other ways too. A digital board showing how much time each patient has until their appointment begins is a feature that many visitors appreciate. Implementing a text messaging system with updates is also worth considering.
5. Think About Small Luxuries
Your dental office waiting room doesn’t have to be luxurious, but providing a few minor additions can make it more comfortable. Items like a mini fridge with free drinks and small snacks can work wonders by making patients feel right at home and giving them something to look forward to after their appointments. Complimentary iPads, massage chairs, or Netflix can also add comfort when visiting the dentist.
6. Add Color
Creating an inviting color scheme for the waiting room can brighten the place and make it a more attractive location to visit. Your paint, carpets, artwork, and upholstery should fit within this scheme to ensure the office has some continuity.
7. Consider the Lighting
Your waiting room’s lighting is essential to creating the right mood. You don’t want a dark waiting room, because your patients might find it depressing. Use natural light as a mood booster whenever possible, and avoid the sterile environment that overhead fluorescent lighting creates.
Following these tips can help you get the most from your dental office waiting room. You’ll probably come up with additional ideas along the way that allow you to customize your waiting area to give your patients the best possible experience.
Get Expert Assistance With Your Dental Office Waiting Room Design
Interior design isn’t for everyone, and some dentists might find creating the ideal waiting area to be an insurmountable task. The Genau Group has design experts who will ensure that you end up with a dental office waiting room that meets the needs of you and your patients.
Our skilled commercial real estate team offers interior design and furniture selection services for dentists and other offices in the Washington, D.C., area. Our team will ensure you end up with the right furniture, decor, and technology, and an ideal layout for your space. Be sure to contact us for more information on our interior design services.