Doctor's Office Interior Design

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Patients wait in the reception area of a doctors office.
Patients wait in the reception area of a doctors office. (Image: Catherine Yeulet/iStock/Getty Images)

The interior design of a doctor's office conveys many things to the patients. The interior should directly reflect the type of business and its specific clientele. For example, a pediatrician's office will look different than a plastic surgeon's office. Because the interior designs of doctors' offices are the first things patients see, the space needs to express the professionalism and expertise of the doctors and make the patients feel comfortable.

Things to Keep in Mind

The right types of furniture, pictures and lighting can transform the dreaded doctor's office experience into one that's less stressful. When you come up with ideas for the office's design, one of the most important things to consider is the amount of space that's available. The furniture, fixtures and other decor should correspond to the size of the office.

Keep It Current and Consistent

The interior design of a doctor's office should look current but not too trendy. An office that's outdated can give the impression of the doctor's practice being old fashioned, which isn't an adjective that people want to associate with any aspect of their health care. Having old furniture mixed with cutting-edge equipment and electronics makes the space look incompatible. Patients will notice the inconsistencies and may even be turned off. Every room, from the reception and waiting area to the offices, needs to flow and be in harmony with one another.

Reception Area

The reception area is generally where the receptionist and other office personnel work. Employees should have a functional workspace, including ample desk size, filing cabinets, computers, fax machines and other relevant equipment. Reception areas are busy and typically the first thing a patient sees. They serve as the heart of the office, welcoming patients. Patients should be greeted when they first walk in and be able to promptly check in before proceeding to the waiting room. This calls for an adequate amount of space. The features of a reception area should match the receptionist's job of upholding a well-organized and productive office.

Waiting Room

The chairs in a waiting room should be simple and comfortable and strategically spaced so patients have enough space and seating options. Placing chairs too closely together can create discomfort for the patients, especially in close quarters with people who are sick. The lighting should be bright enough for them to read but not bright to the point where their eyes are stressed. Reading materials should be plentiful and conveniently displayed. Offer a wide variety of materials. Only offering medical-based newsletters can make people feel ill at ease. A doctor who sees children should have appropriate magazines and even toys. Artwork and color schemes should be simple and inviting.

Examination Rooms

The exam rooms should be well lit and put patients at ease. Posters and other adornments are good because they give the patient something to focus on and possibly help eliminate stress. The article "The Doctor's Office: Poor Design May Cost You Patients" (see References section) states that textures and colors, such as peach and sea green, create a soothing atmosphere. Cathedral ceilings, curved walls and atriums create points of interest. Skylights create a healthy environment.

Medical offices can greatly benefit by using a professional interior design agency, which can help execute the doctor's vision by using an expert, detailed approach. An interior design agency can guide the layout and furniture selection and help select the right lighting and color schemes.

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