The reception area is often overlooked as an important design space, as the actual offices and meeting rooms is where most employees spend their time and get work done. However, the reception area of your offices is probably one of – if not the – most vital areas when creating an image for your company.

The Desk
The desk for receptionist workers is likely to be the largest piece of furniture in the lobby area. The design and functionality of it is key for a number of reasons; to benefit those working on it, to provide an aesthetic-look, to determine the flow of the space, and to overall give a positive impression to all.

Like any desk, the reception area one needs to have a good amount of storage, which is organised and secure to make sure all paperwork, files and stationary are accessible and correctly in place. This will benefit those working at the desk to perform their job efficiently, as well as presenting a tidy and organised space to visitors, clients and potential employees who come up to the desk. Tidiness is extremely important; ensure wires from computers are in place and not visible and messy, and stack paperwork neatly or in storage. If there’s mess, spillages and a lack of organisation on the desk, work won’t get done and it’ll portray a bad image for the entire company.

The design of the desk itself is also vital. Height-wise, it needs to be accessible for all; not too high in that it shields receptionists behind a barrier, and not too low that you’d have to kneel down in order to fill out a form etc. Multi-height front desks are great to ensure all visitors can communicate clearly with staff.
Curved lines and multi-height displayed at ims | img Woodalls Design

Shape and colour should suit the company and the branding it’s adopted. Use complimenting colours which flow throughout the whole office space and curved edges going inward are often more welcoming than straight edges, creating a flow in walkways and overall appearance; but again, it’s particular to the company at hand.

Other furniture
Additional furniture will likely include chairs or sofas, small tables and accessories such as lamps, magazine racks perhaps. Striking a balance in comfort is important for seating. Something that isn’t as slouchy as a La-Z-Boy recliner, but isn’t so structured you’ll feel like you’re back in a school classroom. Most receptions choose contemporary soft sofas or benches, or co-ordinating formal armchairs. Ensuring visitors are comfortable when waiting is important.

Side or coffee tables could be multi-purpose, being large enough or at a height in which a laptop could be used on, to encourage visitors to make last-minute tweaks to a presentation if needed for example.  And avoid clutter on these tables too; perhaps add some magazines of brands that inspire the company or include a company catalog instead. Something to link to the brand or service may also be a good feature, like placing a product your company provides on the table for people to notice and look at.

US company Advanced Furniture Solutions describe the reception area as like your business card. It’s a glimpse of the company before fully getting involved. It provides a lasting first-impression and the design and aesthetics of the space is what people will take note of first.

Like with the desk, colour and shapes are important in the whole area. Complimenting company colours are great as a starting point, and the area can be an advanced space of creativity to really draw people in; whatever suits the company.

As well as what visitors see, it’s also the entrance of the building for many employees’ work-day, and so something visually pleasing will make an impression on those who see it every day. Inspirational quotes or company artwork is a great addition, for motivation and a sense of pride to all who enter the space. Location-based art is also an idea, to establish surroundings and set apart the branch from other possible locations. Skylines or specific distinguishable features of the place are a great place to start with this. recommends some ideas to consider when designing or upgrading an office space, including;
  • Install one or two high-back lounge chairs upholstered in acoustic felt to dampen the chatter and reduce loud phone calls.
  • Invest in lounge seating and tables that have integrated power/USB modules that act as a charging station for guests instead of leaving them to search for available outlets under chairs or along walls.
  • Place plants and water features in corners or between seating areas for a calming, healthy centrepiece that also offers semi-privacy.
  • Lighting should feel warm, natural, and adjust throughout the day with smart tech or timers.
However you choose to design the reception area, the colours, furniture, flow and lighting of the space is the first representation of the company to anyone who steps foot in the door. It’s important that the first impression is a good one, and the space is specific to the company.

Laura Sewell

An aspiring journalist, Laura is our content writer intern.  Pop-punk gig-goer and drag queen enthusiast, Laura is working her way into the industry, with an English A -Level and love of writing about anything and everything in tow.
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