Sitting in an uncomfortable waiting room is something most people have experienced. Whether a client’s wait is short, or lengthy, a stay in a waiting room can either be a calming or uncomfortable time before an appointment. In an age where online reviews can make or break a business, ensuring a positive experience for a client or patient is extremely important.

So how can you turn your office waiting room into a positive atmosphere that will bring your clients back time after time? 


Often overlooked, good lighting can make a world of difference in creating a certain ambiance. Harsh fluorescent lighting can cause discomfort, irritability, eye strain and even trigger migraines. Not only is it a problem for clients and patients, but it can cause lower productivity and health issues with employees as well. Natural lighting is the best option for any office, due to its positive impact on mood and behaviour, but is not always an option. A simple solution is to change the type of light bulbs used, to give off a more natural glow.


Uncomfortable chairs or sofas can cause extreme discomfort, especially if you are seated for an extended period of time. Hard seating can cause restlessness and make even the shortest amount of time seem like ages. In contrast, big and overstuffed seating can be difficult for elderly patients or those with certain health issues. 

Try to find chairs and sofas with a good comfort level but that still accommodate people of all mobility ranges, size and age. There are a variety of fabrics, so make sure the type of fabric will fit your needs. Most waiting rooms do well with engineered or combination fabrics, but for doctors offices, healthcare vinyl seating may be a better option due to its resistance to stains, moisture and most importantly, bacteria. 


The layout of a waiting room is an important aspect to be remembered. It needs to ensure there is a good flow and that everything is easily accessible, while also maintaining a professional atmosphere. If there is a reception desk, it should be the first focal point that clients encounter. This allows them to be directed to the sitting area, as well as acquire any needed information. 

Pay attention to the shape and size of the room. The arrangement of the waiting room furniture should make it easy for clients to move throughout the room with no issues. Some people may be uncomfortable with their back to a door, so it may be something to keep in mind while setting up your seating layout.


The reception and waiting area is usually the first thing a client sees in an office, and initial impressions are always important. Presentation is essential for a business, so bland and outdated décor is not only an eyesore but can reflect badly on the office.

Artwork is a great decorating tool that can showcase unique pieces of art. It’s important to have art that is tasteful but that still adds vibrancy to your office. Supporting local artists can be great for your business, while also giving back to the community. 


Different colors have different effects on human emotions. Cooler tones are soothing and relaxing, while warm tones are more upbeat and cheerful. Decide what message your business would like to convey. What emotions would you like your clients to feel? Here is a list of positives and negatives that colors portray.

Yellow – Positives: Happiness, optimism, summer

Negative: Dishonesty, warning 

Green – Positives: Good luck, health, monetary gain

Negatives: Jealousy, envy

Blue – Positives: Trust, peace, loyalty, harmony, cleanliness, calm

Negatives: Depression

Purple – Spirituality, nobility, wisdom

Red – Positives: Power, strength, love

Negatives: Danger, violence, intensity, aggression

Orange – Warmth, balance, energy, health

Brown – Nature, earth, comfort

Black – Positives: Formality, sophistication, power

Negatives: Evil, unhappiness, depth

White – Positives: Peace, cleanliness

Negatives: Sterility, cold 

Choose your colors carefully, making sure to pay attention to what colors work well together and the tone you wish to convey.

Finishing touches 

Now that your waiting room is laid out and decorated, don’t forget the finishing touches! Although most people will pass the time on their cellphones, it is recommended to have magazines and other reading materials available to them. This is a great place to tell your clients more about your business and what you offer, so have brochures or other informational items for your clients to read. For any children that may visit, have toys or a small play area they can spend time in. 

Have a drink station available, with water, cups and a trash bin. Coffee or tea can always make a wait seem better, so think about adding them to your beverage station. This will help clients or patients feel more at home while also giving them something to do. Don’t forget details like cream, sugar, stir sticks and napkins.

Keep in mind that the majority of time spent can actually occur in the waiting room, so helping your patients or clients feel at ease can go a long way for your business.