Published September 16, 2020
As a therapist, you of all people know that a therapy session is a holistic experience. It’s more than just sitting there and talking to your clients. It’s about coaxing them out and making them open up to you without them realizing it. For this, you need a multi-sensory approach.
This is why good design is essential for every therapist’s office. It’s not just about making you look professional. It’s also about giving your clients an environment that will maximize the therapy experience. With all this, you won’t have any problem attracting and retaining clients.
Whether you’re just starting your practice or looking to redecorate your space, here are the do’s and don’ts when designing a therapist office:
1. Keep it Simple
Having too many decorations can distract your clients. Not to mention that it would make your office look shabby and unprofessional. Surely, that’s not the kind of vibe you want to give your clients.
So get rid of those hideous wallpapers, and all those little trinkets that are taking up too much of your space. Keep it simple and straightforward. People tend to feel more comfortable and relaxed when there are few things that can distract them.
2. Visualize The Office You Want
The first step to getting the office you want is to visualize it. If imagination is not your strength, browsing for office designs online helps a lot. Most of those designs featured online are also done by professionals. So it’s almost like having a professional designer redo your space.
If you can’t recreate the entire look or want to make changes to it, then at least take note of the furniture, colors, and patterns used. If possible, print them and cut out the parts you like. Paste them in a sort of mood board and add other elements you like. This will help you visualize your ideal office design.
3. Make Use of Natural Lighting
There’s a reason why natural light is considered a major perk for employees and a selling point for real estate. Aside from helping you get better sleep, it also wards off seasonal depression. Thus, it will do your clients a lot of good if you allow more natural light into your office.
4. Add Quotes
Remember that quote that affected you so much, you started to tear up? You should consider hanging that on your wall. Who knows? It might change your client’s life too.
5. Define Your Budget and Stick to It
Transforming your space into something straight out of a lifestyle magazine can be costly. This is why you need to define your budget and stick to it. You don’t have to shop at name-brand stores. You can have your furniture custom-made locally and even do the paint job yourself.
6. Put Your Stamp On It
Whether it’s your house or your office, one basic design principle you should never forget is to put your stamp on it. Meaning, your personality should reflect in your office. Hanging your credentials is a good start. Or you can also display some artworks – it’s your call. But just remember not to overdo it.
7. Go For Functional Pieces
This is especially applicable if you have a relatively small space. Choose decorations not only for their aesthetic value but for their functionality too.
Upcycling is the name of the game right now. It not only helps you save money, but it’s also good for the environment. Plus, upcycling stuff, especially vintage ones, will help you achieve that rustic chic look with less effort. If you don’t have stuff you can upcycle, you can shop around in flea markets or garage sales. There are some really great finds there if you just look hard enough.
9. Balance Your Tones
The main goal when designing a therapist’s office space is to instill calmness and create a tranquil ambiance. A well-balanced tone can help you achieve that. Avoid loud colors and instead, go for neutral or light colors. According to environmental designers, painting your walls with soothing colors like sage green or dusty blue can help promote a sense of calmness and relaxation.
10. Prioritize Client Comfort
In all your design, decoration, and furniture choices, don’t forget that your client’s comfort should be the number one priority. So before deciding on anything else, make sure to pick the right couch. After all, that’s where your clients will sit. Make sure it’s large enough and soft enough so your clients will feel at home more easily.
1. Avoid a “clinical” ambiance
An all-white office can remind your client of a hospital room – and nobody likes hospital rooms. So how can you expect them to feel comfortable opening up to you? That’s why, as much as possible add some colors to your space. There’s nothing wrong with using white as long as you pair it up with other neutral or light colors to create a “homey” ambiance.
2. Don’t Overdecorate
If you’re planning to pepper your walls with quotes, photos and whatnots, don’t. Even your figurine collection will have to go somewhere else.
You see, decorations can distract your client. One or two art pieces hanging on your wall won’t do any harm. In fact, it’s recommended. But having too many of it can grab your client’s attention. Instead of listening to what you’re saying, their mind will wander elsewhere.
3. Avoid Plants That Are Hard to Maintain
Adding plants not only freshens the air inside your office. It also promotes relaxation, reduces anxiety levels, and improves concentration. But when you do decide to add indoor plants, make sure they’re not hard to maintain. Choose plants that don’t need constant watering or even a full dose of sunlight.
4. Avoid Chaotic Abstracts or Artwork Scenes
Remember you’re trying to achieve calmness and tranquility. Artworks that depict chaotic themes, whether abstract or otherwise, will just bring about the opposite. So avoid them at all costs.
5. Avoid Square or Rectangular Tables
Cornered tables don’t encourage communication as much as round ones. So if you want your client to pour their heart out to you, go for round tables instead of square or rectangular ones.