Office Design

The Hidden Potential Of The Reception Area


It is said that first impressions count: as first point of contact for the visitor the reception area offers the irresistible opportunity of showcasing company values or of delivering personalised messages. Furniture, artwork and flooring all come together to send the desired message. 

A Welcoming Space

There are a couple of interior design tricks that we can use to make the reception area a more enticing place. First and foremost make visitors, prospective or existing clients or employees feel welcome. It should be a space where visitors can relax while waiting for their appointments or where small, informal gatherings can take place. A coffee station for example can be an appealing item that is sensory and evokes the relaxation of home. Adequate lighting is very important and with the advancement of LED light bulbs now it is very easy to create mood lighting. With this in mind it is just as essential to have the right lux level for reading or browsing of corporate literature. Seating should be comfortable and the area should not be cluttered but needs to be clean in layout. The main purpose is to make everyone feel at ease and nurture positive emotions on both arrival and when leaving the office.

Reception Branding

Once everyone feels welcome and is relaxed at the reception area, it is unavoidable that people will start to look around and judge the attractiveness of that company. At this point “branding is key”, as it can help with the above process in reflecting values and what your company is about. For example are you a young and vibrant company? Is it a funky place to work in? Do you have fun at the office? Are you innovative or are you conservative? The reception area should have an impact and be creative without looking too busy. One can play with corporate colours but most definitely your company logo should be prominent and in your face. The display of company statistics on the wall or maybe in a video presentation is a wonderful way of communicating company activities and success. A current trend is to bring home furniture to the office reception. Being conservative can be another trend as this conveys the impression of durability, confidence and trust and speaks about a traditional way of conducting business.


Where Functionality and The Reception Meet

The functionality of the reception desk is key to the reception area and the proper use of space for productivity needs to be considered carefully. For example what activities will the receptionist be undertaking? For most companies it would be the first point of contact e.g. taking telephone calls, signing people in and out of the building and sometimes even light PA duties. Key to the above question is the amount of traffic coming in and out of the reception area. All of these activities have to weighed up in the design layout and carefully considered. As an example if you have the space you might want to create a reception back office.
Flooring and furnishings should be durable to withstand frequent use and it is advisable that they are stain resistant. The reception desk is the centrepiece and should face the front door. It’s all about clever designs.

Reception / Hospitality

Taking the above ideas a step further imagine how powerful a message of corporate hospitality you could give to the user experience by perhaps offering a hot hand towel to refresh after a long journey, a chocolate cake, a fizzy drink, fizzy water all presented on a silver tray. How special is that going to make your visitor feel and what PR message will that give?


Lasting Impressions

The reception area is by far “one of the most important spaces within the office”. It is the area where the visitor or employee’s journey begins and where the company’s vision is created with whoever visits and exits. The appearance of the reception area provides an instant snapshot of your company aesthetics, sensibilities, and focus. Companies big or small should be encouraged to value this space and maximise its potential to create lasting impressions. It is one of the most underestimated areas that is always last on the list but it is as important as a company logo, brand or services. A designer’s touch in fulfilling company objectives is to be sought after and appreciated. Let the journey begin!

Do you want your reception area to be an important branding channel?  Please let us know what you think in the comments box below. For advice about reception areas, please contact Waghorne Workplace Design on Tel: 01903 787240 or email at:

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