3 Misconceptions About Dental Office Interior Design

November 26, 2019

Dental Office Interior DesignEvery dentist, whether they have just started their journey in the field, or are thinking about life-after-dentistry, knows that dental office interior design plays a key role in both practice success and patient satisfaction.

What’s more, most dentists have translated their awareness of dental office interior design into significant improvements and investments. Indeed, gone are the days when waiting areas and treatment rooms were suitably clinical, functional, and sterile, but devoid of  any “humanizing” factors such as plants, artwork, or soft carpeting. Some pediatric practices even have aquariums to soothe and engage anxious kids (and give their parents a break too).

Yet with this being said, it’s also true that dental office interior design is not binary — i.e. either practices have it or they don’t. It’s a spectrum, which means that some practices are firing on all cylinders, while other practices are missing a few (or sometimes, several) pieces of their interior design puzzle.

With respect to this latter group, here are 3 common — and costly — misconceptions about dental office interior design, which prevent practices from reaping maximum results and rewards from their environment:

1. Dental Office Interior Design Interferes with Everyday Work

For many dentists, the notion of having to shut down their practice to make interior improvement is, frankly, a non-starter. Aside from the direct revenue loss (i.e. patients couldn’t be served, but staff and overhead would need to be paid), it could damage the practice’s reputation (e.g. frustrated patients may switch practices and never return).

The misconception here is that it’s always necessary to shut down operations to make interior improvements. In most cases, your can schedule a project in carefully structured stages in order to minimize disruption to patients and/or staff. What’s more, some work can be scheduled during off-hours (evenings, weekends).   

2. If Your Patients Aren’t Complaining, Your Design Must be Fine

To begin with, without legitimate market research (surveys, interviews, etc.), it’s unwise to assume that lack of complaining about interior design is synonymous with (unspoken) praise. Frankly, most patients won’t go out of their way to criticize something like interior design, just as how most restaurant patrons won’t tell the manager that the décor looks dated or the chairs are uncomfortable. But it certainly has an impact on the bottom line.

However, even if patients are pleased and impressed by the interior design, there is another critical aspect that dentists should be aware of: interior design also directly and indirectly impacts operational efficiency.

For example, optimizing the floor plan to promote efficient traffic flow can save team members time and energy — which means less time getting to tasks, and more time getting them done. What’s more, an interior design that provides staff with suitable space (both design and square footage) to do their jobs will increase productivity and engagement.

3. Dental Office Interior Design is Subjective — not Scientific.

There are indeed some fun and creative subjective design decisions that dentists will make about interior design; typically together with their staff –– and possibly even with input from patients via market research.

However, commercial interior design is not just based on personal preferences. For example, research on color therapy has found that it’s not a coincidence why many successful dental practices lean heavily toward blue and green color schemes for their walls, floors, furniture, and sometimes even ceilings. Rather, it’s because these two colors can promote calmness and relaxation — which is obviously an important objective for dentists!

This is just one instance of how dental office interior design is more than an exercise in “choosing what feels best.” It’s also about incorporating credible academic-grade research to make wise decisions that keep patients and staff happy, and allow practices to grow and expand.

Learn More

To learn more about dental office interior design, contact the Key Interiors team today. We have a deep background working with dentists in different specialization areas. Your consultation with us is free.

For more information on office renovations and how to stay on schedule and on budget, download our FREE eBook:


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Key Interiors