I’ve seen a lot of posts in our Facebook Community recently about office space, including how to decorate, go-to office essentials, etc.
Here are a few quick and simple tips to really spruce up your office and make your clients feel comfortable and at ease!
If you rent an office in a commercial building, chances are you may have fluorescent lighting on your ceiling. Fluorescent lights can feel too bright or business-like, and often give people headaches. Consider turning off the overheads and getting some lamps and other lighting that gives off a warm yellow colour, rather than a cold (or cold) white light. Choose lighting that is easy on the eyes, lights the space well enough to see, but isn’t overpowering or offensive.
When it comes to decorating your office, less can be more! Depending on the size of your office, you might have too much furniture crammed into a small space. All you really need is a couch or comfortable chair(s) for your clients, a chair for you, and perhaps a small desk, bookshelf, or filing cabinet. If you can double up and get your filing cabinet under your desk, even better! Keeping your office free of clutter and things you don’t need, helps to create a more inviting space by making room for your clients to move around freely and even re-position some of the furniture you do have, as needed.
Choose colours that are neutral and pleasing to the eye. Avoid colours that might be triggering or offensive to some, like neons, fluorescents, or too much of a bold colour (like bright red walls!). Consider what kind of feeling your trying to create in your office. Do you want your clients to feel safe? Calm? Relaxed? Blues and greens, along with neutral tones like cream, white, light greys and tans tend to create a welcoming effect. Colours that are too bright or bold can be stimulating or even overwhelming for some clients. If you really have your heart set on the fuschia you’ve loved since childhood, consider using bright colours on tiny accent pieces like a pillow, small rug, or a picture.
If your office opens onto a hallway, or is adjacent to other rooms that are occupied, chances are you might hear noise from outside your four walls, while in session with clients. If you haven’t already, I suggest investing in a sound machine. White noise will do (rather than birds or running water), and you can either put the machine right in the room with you, or even outside your door in the hallway. If you’re not used to using a sound machine, it will be noticeable at first, but once you get going, the sound will fade into the background and help to cover up all of the other sounds you don’t want to hear while in session with a client (like your next door neighbour)!
Consider one or two tasteful pieces of art on the walls for clients to orient to. Although a minimal office space with neutral tones can be best, some clients feel awkward without something to look at. Rather than feeling forced to make eye contact, a few items to look at like calming or relaxing pictures and décor can help your clients feel at ease.
Use scents with discretion. Some people have strong reactions to scents, either allergies or simply disliking certain scents. But if you’re going to use them (and you’ve checked with your clients ahead of time to make sure they don’t have any allergies or aversions), an essential oil diffuser with a calming scent like lavender, orange, or lemon can help create a welcoming and pleasant ambiance in your therapy room.
For more support on setting up your office, growing your practice, or anything else private practice related, feel free to book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consultation.