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8 Simple Yet Powerful Reception Area Ideas For Your Business

When welcoming visitors or clients into the reception area of your workplace, it’s crucial to make a great first impression. Some studies suggest you have seven seconds to make a positive impression upon first meeting with someone, while other studies suggest you have just one tenth of a second.

Your workplace or office reception area is crucial to this process. Just as you would make a first impression in person, the space you welcome visitors and clients also needs to have an immediate warm, welcoming, wow factor. Whether you have a receptionist to personally welcome clients and visitors or you operate with an unstaffed reception area, there are a number of easy reception area ideas for making the best first impression imaginable (and equally some easy mistakes which you must avoid!) 

Your reception area is the face of your brand; if the space is bleak, tired and uninspiring, this can convey that your brand or business is the same - even if it’s not! And this could be the tipping point between the deal or no deal with new clients or candidates. Learning how to make your offices lobby more inviting should be one of the highest priorities when it comes to interior design and styling considerations for your physical workplace.

If you can make the space interesting, sleek and include little details that relate to aspects of your brand - perhaps a cushions featuring one of your brand colours for example - not only will you communicate a positive first impression, but it may be that catalyst for a conversation starter before you get down to real business, while leaving clients, visitors or potential employees with a positive first impression of your workplace and brand. 

In this blog post we share 8 simple yet powerful reception area ideas that you can easily implement to make your offices lobby more inviting.

8 Reception Area Ideas for Your Workplace

What makes a good office reception area?

There are several elements to an effective reception area. To begin with, the space must have an inviting appearance and should immediately strike your visitors as a pleasant place to spend time. When it comes to your reception area ideas, use the fundamentals of good lighting, comfortable seating, healthy plants, and interesting art to create an attractive interior space. 

Once you’ve mastered the basics, office reception ideas can go beyond simply being attractive and seek to communicate concepts and feelings specific to your business. For instance, if you have a video game design company, it would be natural to design for a sense of play and creativity. You could achieve this through bright, energetic colors, whimsical furniture, and unique art drawn from your games. Think about your company's values — what do you most want to communicate to visitors?

It’s important to realize that reception ideas for the office can come from anyone in the company, not just your interior designer. Ask your staff for feedback on art choices, color palettes, and furniture options. Coming up with front reception design ideas can seem intimidating at first, but everyone understands what it feels like to be comfortable. Anyone can design an attractive space by following our eight tips.

1. Introduce greenery with indoor plants

Who doesn’t love plants? Trick question, we know you all do. Bringing a little bit of the outdoors indoors is not only proven to have positive wellness benefits but this infusion of lush greenery will help brighten up your office reception area with colour and clean air. Depending on how much natural light your reception area gets, there’s sure to be plants to suit.

While most reception areas might have less access to natural light, choose plants which are low maintenance and can thrive in lower light conditions. To keep the plants manageable and pleasing to the eye, take a minimalistic approach. Design details are known to be pleasing in groups of three of different sizes, so why not start with three different plants varying in size to create different levels and form.

If your reception area is well lit with filtered sunlight, the Monstera Deliciosa (aka fruit salad plant, pictured below) or Fiddle Leaf Fig would be great choices. If you have low natural occurring light choose something like an Earth Star or Rattlesnake plants. 

Size matters when it comes to styling plants in your reception area, so consider a bigger plant like a Fiddle Leaf Fig or Monstera in a corner to anchor the space, a smaller and slower growing plant like Snake Plant on the coffee table to add some greenery and natural form breaking up the space. And perhaps a Zamioculcas between chairs or next to the couch.

Reception area ideas for your office: Introduce greenery with indoor plants

Kara Eads

2. Use appropriate lighting

When it comes to lighting your office reception area, paying attention to the details and finding the right balance is crucial; white lights and strip lighting can appear too stark and clinical, while warm side lights and bulbs overhead can appear too warm and homey. And that flickering light or broken bulb? Be sure to get it fixed.

You'll need to find the right balance for the lighting colour and strength to make your offices lobby more inviting. A spotlight setup with light warm daylight natural LED discs would be the best place to start. Otherwise, it would be worth doing some research into your options if you already have an alternative setup (like LED panels) to see what options you have for warm daylight natural lighting. 

3. Install a digital visitor sign in system

Sometimes the little things make a big difference. Signing into a paper visitor book in your office reception area might seem like a small task to ask but can feel laborious (not to mention, archaic), particularly for prospective clients or job candidates. At a time where people are more savvy than ever about their data privacy rights, it is crucial to meet and exceed expectations on the subject when you have visitors to your workplace.

Show visitors to your workplace that you take their privacy, and health and safety, seriously. Therefore communicating that your business operations are both modern, carefully considered and most importantly, compliant.

With a smart workplace management system like SwipedOn placed in your office reception area, all your visitors need to do is enter their details via QR code, iPad, or tablet, and SwipedOn does the rest - seamlessly notifying hosts (aka employees) and keeping your reception operations running smoothly. Emergency evacuation? All visitors can be accounted for at the touch of a button (and offline, provided they have followed the sign-in protocol).

Shred the paper visitor book and replace it with a digital visitor sign in system and transport your office reception area into the modern world. 


4. Play soft music at a low volume

Cut the TV and blaring radio in your office reception area. If you want to come across as professional and offer a space for visitors and clients to feel welcome, blasting their senses with the local radio station or TV shows they may find undesirable is not the best way.

Instead, choose a couple of playlists on Spotify (or create your own!) focusing on soft jazz which is sure to drift discreetly into their ears and add a touch of class. A good starting point would be Saib or The Breed, or go all-in with the "Jazz Vibes" or "Chilled Jazz" playlists on Spotify.

Reception area ideas for your office: Play soft music at a low volume

5. Ditch the mags, display books instead

Nothing says neglect than those magazines with dog-eared pages that have been leafed through way beyond their publish date sat sadly in your office reception area. Instead, invest in a collection of coffee table books that will stand the test of time.

The best bit? The theme doesn’t have to be random. You can actually use this as an opportunity to show you’re a knowledgeable and cultured business in your chosen industry and enhance the brand experience for visitors to your workplace. For example, if you’re a design agency, choose books about popular artists and designers that resonate with your brand. Or if your brand sells outdoor gear, choose books about adventure and advances in technology of technical and sustainable textiles.

Reception area ideas for your office: Ditch the magazines, choose to display books instead

Photo by Cara Beth Buie on Unsplash

6. Road test the furniture for comfort

Your office reception furniture needs to be comfortable so be sure to road test it yourself before you bring it into your office lobby. Remember your guests won’t be kicking back for a couple of hours with Netflix so you don’t want them sinking too far into a couch. If you have older clients or visitors they’ll need a harder piece of furniture they can easily brace on to get up again. Similar to the lighting in your reception area, you'll need to find the perfect balance between furniture that is comfortable yet not too squishy.

Be mindful and minimal when arranging the furniture in your office reception and choose a layout that works with your space and doesn’t clutter it. For example, two matching occasional chairs and one couch offer two comfort options for visitors to your reception area, add visual interest. Just make sure there is a common story or theme running through all the furniture like style or era. 


Photo by Frames For Your Heart on Unsplash

7. Be mindful and keep the space minimal

Most importantly, keep the space minimal. Too much stuff everywhere can also reflect negatively on your brand. Remember less is more so make it simple but significant. Your guest just needs to feel calm and welcomed, not totally bombarded. Don’t overcomplicate with too many plants, it doesn’t need to be a jungle, and you don’t need to buy the whole bookstore, just three or four good books for the coffee table will suffice. If you'd like more info about styling your reception area, this blog article by Spacestor is a great read. Good luck!

8. Perfect the color scheme

Color is a subtle art, yet anyone can appreciate it when they’re in an inviting space. In interior design, color choices can be expressed through your selection of materials, patterns, and lighting. Because color has a powerful impact on our emotions, it’s vital to have an emotional goal for your reception area before choosing your color palette. 

Are you seeking to evoke calm and comfort? Earth tones, like green, brown, and umber may be appropriate. Do you want to appear sleek and modern? Neutral colors like gray and white can be paired with silver and other metallics. Are you going for an upscale, luxury vibe? Consider combining rich colors like dark purple, gray, and brown with high-end materials like wood, stone, and fabric.

Tips for designing a small reception area

When space is limited, focus is paramount. Start with the number of people you expect to accommodate at one time — this becomes your seating minimum. Try to always have available seating: If you expect to regularly have four people in your waiting room, create seating for a minimum of six. 

Next, turn your attention to the atmosphere. What feelings are you seeking to evoke? Front reception design ideas should follow emotional cues. Create excitement through energetic color or art, or conversely, calm people down with neutral tones, plants, and a water feature. 

Small reception area ideas are all about making the most of limited space, so pay particular attention to the use of your corners. Make sure your corner areas aren’t dead spaces in the design. Fill them with lighting, art objects, or plants.

SwipedOn provides completely customizable workpalce management systems for various industries, including the transportation and logistics sector. This provides you with unlimited visitor registration, ID badge printing, digital agreements, evacuation management, resource booking, instant notifications, and even an employee in-out board. It is everything you need from a workplace management app.

More from the blog

4 Ways to Modernize Your Front Desk 

4 Small Things You Can Do to Make Your Visitors Feel Comfortable 

4 Ways to Make Every Office Visitor Feel Welcome

Brand Love at First Sight: How to Showcase Your Brand at Your Office’s Reception

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Lou Burton

Lou is our Brand & Content Manager at SwipedOn.