How many times have you walked into a business building or office and immediately felt welcome? Can you remember what the environment was like? If you’d like to recreate that feeling at your business, all you have to do is follow a few “best practices” for reception areas that are proven to invoke a welcoming vibe in visitors.
We’ll show you how to do that – along with what to avoid in your reception area- below!
How to Create a Welcoming Reception Area
Making your business entrance a welcoming place involves making purposeful decisions in the colors, materials, and decor of your reception area.
While there is no concrete formula for creating spaces that others will perceive as appealing, welcoming, or peaceful, there are best practices you can follow to help achieve that welcoming vibe – even if you’re working with a virtual receptionist or don’t have a receptionist at all. Keep reading to find out how!
Pick the right lighting
Lighting is a powerful tool for managing and creating moods. You’ve probably heard of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), a type of depression that sets in during the winter months when sunlight is less direct and days are shorter. The same concept applies indoors – adequate lighting is a must for any reception area that strives to give off a welcoming vibe.
But not just any lighting will do. Harsh, fluorescent lighting has been linked with serious dips in employee productivity and mood because it just doesn’t mimic the warmth and color of natural light. Opt for warm colored light bulbs instead of bright white, utilize as much natural light as possible, and steer clear of fluorescent lighting to create a welcoming reception area.
Mind your materials
The materials in your reception area are very important in creating the vibe visitors experience when they enter the door. While sleek, modern-looking metals are common in many offices and create the popular minimalist look, they’re not the best materials for creating a welcoming reception area.
Instead, the material you should focus on incorporating into your reception area is wood. When we enter a building and see lots of wood, we’re reminded of places that are cozy or that we feel comfortable in: Our home, a rustic cabin, the forest, etc. Not only does wood offer a less “intimidating” look than metal, but it’s also warmer to the touch (see the ‘Don’t chill your visitors’ section below) and can be stained in any color you choose. If the traditional light brown hue shown above just wouldn’t fit with your office decor, opt for darker woods or stains, or a lighter wood like oak.
Incorporate some color
Now that we know incorporating wood materials into your welcoming reception area is one way to make it a cozier and more enjoyable place, let’s talk about color. Your color choices in the reception area are important in creating your visitors’ initial impression of your business building and determining how welcome they feel. Generally, the consensus is to avoid loud or “polarizing” colors that tend to be either loved or hated (Person 1: “Don’t you love these bright lime green walls? It’s my favorite color!” Person 2: “No, I can’t stand it – gives me a headache.”).
But that’s not to say that you shouldn’t be bold in your color choices. You should choose a color – one color, though you can use as many shades of that color as you’d like – to consistently pepper throughout the reception area. An easy way to incorporate a new color into your welcoming reception area is by painting one wall that color and adding coordinating pillows, paintings, flowers, plant pots, etc.
Don’t chill your visitors
You don’t have to be even slightly creepy to ‘chill’ your visitors – your thermostat can do that all on its own. Studies have shown that colder offices, those that set the thermostat around 68 degrees Fahrenheit, have lower levels of employee productivity, disrupt concentration, and make visitors feel uncomfortable.
Why? Think about any uncomfortable place you’ve ever been to – examples might include hospitals, funeral homes, doctor’s offices, and courtrooms. Now, imagine yourself back in that place. What’s the temperature like? Probably quite chilly. The last thing you want to do is have visitors associate your reception area with an unpleasant place or the unpleasant sensation of feeling cold.