While it was not necessarily an afterthought or a secondary consideration, at in the past choosing furniture for dental office design was more of an administrative than an analytical process. That is, dentists (along with their team members) typically opted for standard, conventional and generic selections.
This is not to suggest that these items were poor quality or cheap – because that is not the case, either. However, the guiding principle was “what worked for us in the past will work in the future.” Indeed, that is why patients could walk into a dental practice in almost any city, and be engaged by a predictable “dental office” look and feel. Similarly, staff could move from one practice to another, and immediately hit the ground running because the layout was so standardized.
However, these days things are dramatically different. Patients are heavily influenced the functionality, comfort and sophistication of dental office furniture. At the same time, staff who work in the back end of a practice are much more aware that the office environment – of which furniture is a big part – has a major impact on their work experience and, hence, their level of engagement and desire to remain on the team for the long-term.
Below are some proven and practical furniture tips to optimize dental office design:
- Pay close attention to materials in the waiting room. While leather or vinyl furniture may look sharp and sophisticated, it may lack the “warm and welcoming” aspect of fabric. Often, a mix of materials and fabrics creates the right blend and balance.
- Also pay attention to colors. Blues are more calming than reds, yellows are more energizing than browns, and so on. Lighter colors also make the office look bigger than darker colors, which may be an important consideration.
- Offer patients (and those accompanying them) workspace to click away on their laptops and tablets. Be sure to have enough outlets (both plugs and USB) to charge devices, and these days free wi-fi is virtually a must-have.
- Provide patients with a beverage bar that offers a variety of refreshments, from filtered or bottled water, to herbal teas. It is a relatively minor investment that can deliver big results; especially for anxious patients who dread going to the dentist.
- Choose exam room furniture that extends the warmth of the waiting room. For example, seats should be comfortable, lighting should be soothing, and so on. Find the right balance between functionality and comfort.
- Provide adequate break room furniture to boost staff morale. For example, opt for diversified seating choices (e.g. bean bag chairs, picnic table-style seating, etc.), and pay attention to lighting, tabletop space, and aesthetics.
To learn more about choosing the right mix of office furniture that impresses your patients, motivates your staff, and strengthens your practice’s brand, contact the Key Interiors team today. Your consultation with us is free.
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