Depending on what your business does, you may want to project any of several different feels – a bank, for example, will want to evoke a different feeling than a workout facility. It’s important up front to define what you want that feeling to be.
Should your lobby feel primarily “professional,” or should it be “comforting,” or possibly “hip,” “bright,” or “active?” Based on what you’d like to project, you’ll make different choices for each of the following aspects of your lobby.
The ambiance of a lobby space is important – keep in mind that both the level of light and the temperature of that light make a difference. If you’d prefer that it feel more “professional,” you may want to introduce strong lighting with blue tones. If your goal is to keep the lobby “comforting,” then you’ll want dimmer, more yellow lights. In many cases (and depending on the climate of your area), you may wish to introduce natural light as well.
Virtually every space should feel inviting – and both live plants and natural textures, used judiciously, can go a long way toward creating a space that feels more comfortable for your clientele.
Decor and Design
Ensure that your seating matches your needs and that your decor has some personalization in spaces where it’s appropriate. Some obvious issues with decor are furniture that doesn’t match, wall art which doesn’t match the intended look and feel of your business – essentially, it’s important with your choices in furniture and decor, that you stay on brand.
There’s nothing worse than a space which doesn’t have enough seating for the number of people who will typically be in it at a given time. Ensure that the flow of people doesn’t overmatch the space.
However, there are other considerations as well – if your lobby has a front desk, it needs to allow for the flow of people to the front desk without being in each others’ way. In smaller spaces, you’ll want to ensure that furniture is arranged such that people waiting in the lobby aren’t forced to look directly at the front desk, especially in situations where privacy is important (for example, doctors’ offices).
When possible, keep consistent people working the front desk at consistent times, and ensure that they’re greeting guests by name. The feeling of familiarity people get from coming into your office is one of the most inviting things you can arrange. This one, though, is primarily a personnel issue and not an issue of decor.