Tips for Office Design

Laurie WardAt our recent Business Partner Summit, guest speaker, Lauri Ward, presented decorating tips for private practice owners.  These tips are aimed at eliminating clutter and creating an environment that instills confidence in the patient.  Would you feel confident visiting a clinic with chipped furniture, dirty surfaces, threadbare fabrics and outdated brochures?

According to Lauri, the 10 most common decorating mistakes are:

1)      Lack of maintenance
2)      Poor lighting
3)      Improper use of artwork
4)      Ineffective use of accessories
5)      Visual chaos
6)      Lack of cohesion (different fabrics on chairs, etc)
7)      Seating of different heights (seating alignment is usually more comforting)
8)      Lack of balance (pairs are important – pairs of lamps, chairs, tables, etc)
9)      Poor furniture placement
10)   Too much furniture

Oftentimes, offices have too many seats, which result in a cluttered waiting area.  Think about how many patients (and their companions) you would have waiting at a time, and make sure you have adequate seating, but not too much.

Lauri’s recommendations for creating the ideal office environment are grouped into four areas based on the “office shell”.


  • Are your walls cracked or stained?  Keep paint fresh.  Use a paint that has zero voluble organic compound (VOC).  VOC is what makes paint smell.  All the major brands now offer zero VOC paint.
  • When it comes to choosing color, opt for yellow pigment paints.  These colors offer warmth.  Stay away from blue pigment.  The ideal color is probably clean white with yellow pigment.
  • Another strategy is to use color to designate areas in your office.  E.g. one color for the waiting area, one color for the testing/demoing area, etc.
  • If you would like to use wallpaper, make sure you use vinyl.

Check back on July 16th for Lauri’s recommendations on lighting, window treatments and flooring.

Lauri Ward is president and founder of Use What You Have Interiors.

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