When a new client comes to your therapy office, there are looking for peace and comfort… both of which they may not have had for a long time.
As such, you should strive your best to provide them with a calming, orderly, and well-designed office to greet them and set the mood for your therapeutic work together.
Designing a therapy office and getting it right lighting poses a significant challenge to many therapists. You’re striving for the right color combination, décor, lighting, and overall atmosphere.
This all sounds daunting to lots of therapists!
If you’ve been uncertain on the best way to design your office, then this article is for you.
These are practical and affordable tips – tips that ANY counselor can implement – will make a positive first impression on your clients and have them looking forward to their next visit!
Tip 1: Choose Your Office Style
When selecting the style for your office, it’s crucial that you consider your target client population’s interests.
For example, if your niche is treating clients with anxiety issues, you’ll want to aim to design your office with this in mind. Go for a style and décor that promotes relaxation. Try to avoid possible anxiety triggers such as overpowering bold colors, tight or closed in spaces, and clutter.
Choosing an office style is about striking a balance between sharing your authentic self and personality with your clients, and a style that’s conducive to healing and fostering calmness.
For a quick run down of 20 common interior design styles, see Decor Aid’s guide: 20 Interior Design Styles Defined in 2019
Tip 2: Choose the Right Color Combinations
How you paint your office will have a direct impact on the emotional health of your patients. It’s recommended that you strike a balance between bright and dark colors. Avoid extremely bright colors so as to keep a relaxed mood in the office.
Generally, light colors will inspire hope and stir positive emotions, while dark colors are likely to bring out negative emotions. As such, we recommend that you mix both in the right proportions to strike a balance that will keep your patients happy.
It’s crucial that we point out that white may increase the stress levels for certain clients. For example, if you work with many clients with high environmental sensitivities such as HSPs, it’s only wise to avoid painting your office walls in bright whites. If you do, soften the white with complementary neutrals shade around it with the rest of your decor.
Tip 3: Choose the Right Furniture
Wondering how you can determine the ideal furniture for your clients even when working on a tight budget?
Well, you should not make the mistake of thinking that quality products must always be expensive!
In fact, there are lots of ways to furnish your office with high-quality pieces without breaking a tight budget. Easy ways to accomplish this:
- Look for furniture at local high-end stores that is marked down or on clearance. It will take some time to do this but you’d be surprised at how much it can turn out to be worth it!
- Browse around at local estate sales and auctions, as well as marketplace websites with listings in your local area such as Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace.
- Shop at discount stores and websites that resell overstocked items to keep prices low, even on high quality goods! Some popular ones include Overstock, HomeGoods, and T.J. Maxx.
- Shop at department stores with high quality items – such as Macy’s and Nordstrom – and target their seasonal sales and clearance items.
Tip 4: Choose the Right Lighting
Achieving adequate lighting does not necessarily require a large budget. In fact, one of the strategies that will yield incredible results is maximizing the use of natural light.
If you have office windows that can let in sunlight while maintaining your clients’ privacy, use them!
While this is a great lighting approach, it may be challenging to implement in urban settings. Or it can be impossible to utilize sunlight if you tend to see clients during evening hours.
In such cases, you should look for light bulbs that yield soft and relaxing lighting. Avoid the bright and harsh fluorescent bulbs since they lead to eye strain.
Generally, soft white or yellow toned bulbs are best but you can mix different shades of bulbs and play with them to get the right effect.
Tip 5: Incorporate Indoor Plants
Including plants in your therapy office is a simple but powerful way to take care of your clients.
Real plants are always better than artificial plants, as they’ll help maintain good indoor air quality. But be sure to choose plants that you can maintain over time and are appropriate for the lighting conditions of your office.
Tip 6: Include Artwork
You should never overlook the finer details of your office and this includes artwork!
We recommend that you use artwork that promotes calm, inspires hope and healing, and allows your clients reflect on a positive journey forward in their lives.
If well-incorporated, artwork can actually aid in changing clients’ perspectives. It may help them to open up or create a talking point, especially if they feel that they can relate to a particular piece.
Therapist Rachel Ann Dine’s coastal-inspired office in Virginia provides a perfect example of how to incorporate artwork into a therapy office.
If you have talent like hers, you can even create your own artwork as she did! But if you’re like the rest of us you can buy artwork from her and other artists:)
A thoughtfully designed therapy office will significantly improve the experience of your clients plus increase your enjoyment of your office space!
You never need a huge budget to implement many of these tips. You just need a little time and effort, along with channeling your natural healing abilities and care for your clients.
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