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How to Design a Small Office Reception

Don't know how to style a small office reception? Our pros have got you covered! Read on to find out how.

A small office reception design can be a challenge. You definitely cannot waste any precious space, so you have to be strategic and intentional about how you design it and what lobby furniture and decor you will choose to make it look and feel welcoming, despite the small space. You can opt for modern reception area ideas, small waiting room design, or small office lounge ideas to keep the space inviting no matter the size. Minimal interior design is also key to making the most out of reception and lounge areas. 

Luckily, you don’t have to figure it out on your own or hire interior designers. Keep reading for some of our best tips on designing a fabulous reception area. It may be small, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be mighty!

Steps for Reception Area Design

Step 1: Take Exact Measurements 

Before designing your small office reception space, whether it be for a redesign or you just went through an office move, it is important to take exact measurements of the available areas. While taking your measurements, make sure you measure and note every inch and aspect of the office space, including corners, windows, entryways, exits, and the reception desks. Noting the measurements of all aspects of what you’re working with will help you shop for properly proportionate furniture and accessories.

Step 2: Comfort is Key

Throughout the process of your reception area office design, keep reiterating to yourself and your colleagues that the comfort of your clients, receptionist, and employees is the utmost priority. In order to achieve a high level of comfort, you’ve got to optimize your use of your available space well. Tricky? Yes. Impossible? Definitely not! 

Comfy waiting area and office furniture are key to keeping your clients and employees happy. So opt for comfy yet simple furniture to keep the reception and lounge area minimal.

Step 3: Make Use of Corners 

Many times, corners are just not given the attention they deserve. However, in small reception areas, there’s really not much space left after installing your seating and reception desk but corners!

In such cases, corners are some of the best places to place additional items. Things to consider might include:

  • A small but efficient coffee machine
  • A corner shelf containing magazines, books, and board games
  • A pot with some type of indoor plant
  • A table with a piece of art or lamp
  • Signage for easy navigation
  • A comfortable chair or an L-shaped ottoman that makes perfect use of the 90-degree angle

Additionally, if your business involves catering to families, making a play-corner is a great idea that can result in happy and satisfied customers. Happy, satisfied customers become repeat customers! 

Step 4: Remove Superfluous Items

When you have a small area for your office reception area, it is important to prioritize what you need and what can go. When doing so, there will be a lot of items you may feel are superfluous. Try fitting them in another room of your office like a conference room, and if they don't seem to fit anywhere, consider getting rid of them.

Removing extra items that aren’t needed, including furniture, decorations, and pieces of art, is a very important step towards creating a peaceful and calm office reception area. Items that need to be placed in the center of the reception area can also be removed as an empty center will make the area look bigger, giving the appearance of more space and allowing more room for people to move around.

Step 5: Add Light 

Even bigger spaces can give a tired and uninspired impression if they are not properly lit, and the effect can be made worse in small spaces. Adding proper lighting to your small office reception area is very important if you want to make the area seem upbeat and full of positive energy. 

When adding light, consider utilizing as many windows as possible to bring natural light into the room. In addition to the windows, and in cases where windows are not possible, invest in good overhead lights, corner lights, lamps, and table-top light fixtures. The more lit your small reception area is, the bigger it will look.

However, though we’re all in for plenty of lights, it’s still always important to create balance when installing lights in limited office space areas. Additionally, if the lights in the office interior are too bright, your visitors and employees could find it too harsh to their eyes, and if the lights are too dim, the overall vibe can become gloomy and sleepy. So, balance is everything!

Step 6: Add Mirrors 

Mirrors make a small room look bigger. Decorative mirrors––in addition to making the space appear larger—also help enhance the beauty of your office décor. A large mirror installed on a blank wall or a couple of smaller mirrors installed close to the seating area can improve the looks and design of the space.  It may also give your clients some minor entertainment as they glance at others through the mirrors, and essentially people watch while waiting. 

Step 7: Offer Sufficient Seating 

There’s honestly nothing worse for many visitors than being forced to stand and wait simply because there aren’t enough seats. Having a small space for the reception area of your office doesn't take away the fact that your clients are your priority, and you don't want to keep them standing because you made space for only two chairs in your reception area. 

That’s why thinking and planning your seating is one of the most important things to do when designing your small office. In addition to planning seating, another important thing to consider is offering ample personal space and privacy to each visitor or group of visitors. 

One formula is to determine the number of visitors coming in groups or in pairs and the square footage of your office reception area. Experts advise that the number of seats you should have in your reception area should be 1.5 times the number of visitors per hour. However, this also depends on the nature of your business and the amount of time each visitor spends in your office reception room.

Step 8: Invest in Multipurpose Furniture

Minimalist furniture, when also multipurpose, can solve many problems that arise due to the small size of your reception area. Remember that furniture is the center of attention and has the biggest impact on your space consumption and overall look. 

Reception area furniture typically includes one or more reception desks, comfortable seating, and a coffee table at the minimum. When adding furniture to the interior design, the key is to think small and avoid larger pieces that  don’t maximize your space well.

By investing in multipurpose waiting room furniture, you’ll not only add to the functionality of your office reception area you’ll also save a lot of space. Some great ideas for multipurpose waiting area furniture might include:

  • Convertible tables that can be used as side tables, and when needed, extended to form meeting tables or an office desk
  • Side table with shelves for storage
  • Mirrors with lamps and coat hangers
  • Floor lamps with attached tables
  • Storage ottomans with in-built trays
  • Cube ottomans with stools
  • Center tables with dragged-in stools

By investing in multipurpose furniture, you can jazz up any small office reception area and create a look that’s modern, stylish, and well-designed.

Step 9: Choose the Right Décor 

The kind of décor you choose for your reception area can also impact the utilization of your available space. Design elements need to be chosen carefully, especially when you have smaller spaces and not a lot to work with. 

One great idea is to accept a little help from mother nature. Plants, for example, add a natural appeal and give the room a sense of openness and freshness. Also, consider the design of the flooring, countertops, walls and paint colors, and ceilings. Each of these can either compliment a small room and make it seem bigger or detract from it and make the room seem smaller.

The positioning of your décor can also impact how well your space is used. Consider an arrangement that’s broken up, for instance:

  • Seating 1, seating 2, bookshelf
  • Seating 3, seating 4, plant
  • Side table, seating 5
  • Seating 6 

Arranging your seating this way will be more appealing than just placing six chairs in a row. Careful placement of furniture and décor is vital because it can either make an area look open and neat or make it look cluttered and congested. One great tip is to start arranging from the edges of your space and gradually move inward toward the center.

Step 10: Design with a Visitors' Perspective

In the end, you should always remember that the reception area of your office interior is the first impression of your business. It’s the room people see first when walking into your establishment. Even if you have a small reception area, it needs to reflect an image that’s successful and thriving, especially if you are trying to impress a potential client or prospective employees.

When visitors walk in and everything looks cluttered, cramped, or feels unwelcoming, they may not return. Always design your space with them in mind so they’d be sure to return. 

Small offices and reception areas are unavoidable at times, depending on your location and budget, but they can still be used effectively. Design your small reception area to maximum use of your available space and put your best foot forward.

Contact the design experts at Juniper for more ideas and help on creating the perfect reception area.