FP fans, meet Tara Murphy, a therapist in West Hartford, CT!
1) HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE THE STYLE OF YOUR THERAPY OFFICE?
Glam Chic. A clutter free space with metallic accents, touches of mirrored furniture, and lighting that is the jewelry of the space.
The intent was to have a relaxed space with that feels like a tranquil boutique spa. My clients say they feel relaxed and safe when they are in my office.
2) WHAT VIBE DO YOU HOPE YOUR OFFICE GIVES YOUR THERAPY CLIENTS?
A feeling of bright softness that allows the person to feel at home without the distractions of typical office clutter. I wanted the space to feel like a living room and not an office.
I purposely designed the layout of the space with plenty of storage behind doors. You won’t find typical office items, such as, bookshelves, office equipment, or filing cabinets.
3) DO YOU HAVE ANY CREATURE COMFORTS IN YOUR OFFICE FOR CLIENTS?
Yes! I offer mints, chocolate, trail mix or granola bars. I have pillows of various textures and a velour blanket.
I infuse essential oils in the space to brighten the feeling or add a sense of calm. Some of my favorites are lemon, eucalyptus, and lavender.
I have a white noise machine and added a salt lamp to the waiting room to include a relaxing light source.
4) WHO DESIGNED AND DECORATED YOUR THERAPY OFFICE? DID YOU GET HELP FROM PROFESSIONALS, COLLEAGUES, FRIENDS, OR FAMILY?
I decorated the office myself starting with the main piece of furniture which was the sofa. I chose to stain the office doors with varied colors to create a softer feeling.
From there I chose pieces to add sparkle that you would find in a home. I picked out small chandeliers for the waiting room and therapy room that have small crystal accents to add another source of light, as well as my crystal lamp. Having varied light sources and dimmable switches are also great way to create a comfortable ambiance. If it’s a sunny day I may only need to add a small amount of additional light.
The biggest struggle was finding drapery that I liked that was the correct length. I think I tried 5 different sets. The window is the first thing you see when you walk into the office so I wanted something that looked anchored but gentle. The space is somewhat narrow and I felt the horizontal stripes helped create an eye line that was less narrow.
I employed the help of my mom to extend the length of the drapes to reach the floor. I read a lot about furniture placement, artwork size, height for wall placement, the best options for mounting drapery and the proper length.
I had to plan the office layout and construction and with that I was particular about having ample closet space and making sure there were outlets and lights in the closets for office equipment. I think my landlord thought it was a peculiar request but it has been extremely useful.
In addition, planning for an adequate number of outlets and their placement in the office was important to me. Not having enough outlets is frustrating, but also leads to having visible chords all over which takes away from a clean uncluttered space.
Picking a paint color that worked and felt neutral but warm was a challenge. There are about 1000 shades of “greige”.
In addition, depending on the light in the area the paint can appear to be a completely different color. When my painter put the same color on two different walls I was sure they were different colors. I was completely shocked the paint colors were the same after painting another swatch right next to what was on the wall.
5) ANY ADVICE FOR THERAPISTS WHO ARE JUST STARTING OUT AND DESIGNING THEIR OFFICE FOR THE FIRST TIME, OR SEASONED THERAPISTS LOOKING TO REDESIGN THEIR OFFICES?
Yes! I wrote an article for Practice of the Practice: Planning the Interior Design and Decor for Your Private Practice.
The article highlights some of the things I learned about decorating and considering the experience using your 5 senses. I found Pinterest helpful in finding designs tips that were important related to placement of artwork, hanging drapes and picking the size of all of the above. In addition, I collected images that I liked that looked like what I was trying to achieve.
I think picking an anchor piece of furniture that you really love and decorating based on that piece makes it easier. Picking a paint color and trying to find furniture to match is infinitely harder.
It is important not to rush and fill the space with things that you don't absolutely love.
Take your time and enjoy the process! Clients understand when you are in the process of decorating.
Tara Murphy is a therapist in West Hartford, CT...
She is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), Licensed Alcohol Drug Counselor (LADC), and Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR) therapist.
Tara is accepting new referrals in the Hartford Area!
Tara is accepting new clients in the Hartford Area!