Nothing makes a patient dread an appointment like a boring, uncomfortable, ugly medical office. What’s worse, they may associate how the office looks and feels with the quality of the care they receive.
Your optometry office decorations and design should be an extension of who you are as a business and a reflection of what you stand for. A beautifully designed optometry office can breathe new life and energy into your practice and leave a lasting impression. Not only can a great environment make your clients feel welcome, comfortable, and confident in your abilities, it can make your team members more productive, proud, and happy to come into work.
This article will guide you through key elements to consider when designing and decorating your optometry office so that you make the most of the space. Keep in mind, in addition to online research, joining an optometry networking group is a great way to get ideas and inspiration from other practices, as well as access to professional optometry consulting if you get stuck during the design process.
An Introduction to Optometry Office Decorations
Medical practitioners, including many optometrists, are realizing the importance and power of optometry office decorations and design. Providing high-quality care and customer service is no longer enough to keep up with the competition; Customers are looking for more than a service or product, they want an experience.
Picture the classic, stereotypical medical office waiting room, full of drab colors, uncomfortable chairs, and withered magazines. What feelings do you associate with this image? In the modern age, medical offices are breaking away from these stereotypes, some so much so that they don’t even look like medical offices. Some look more like high-end retailers, trendy baristas or luxurious spas. They make you want to hang out there. Here are a few recent examples to get a sense for how things are changing.
Key Considerations in Office Design
When designing your optometry office, the main thing to keep in mind is how you want your clients to feel when they walk through your doors. Is your goal to create a dazzling and professional space? An inviting, home-like atmosphere? Every practice is different, so it’s important to keep your community and your values in mind throughout the design process and stay true to who you are.
Branding: Your practice’s brand is essentially your personality. So your optometry office decorations should be in line with the overall branding and marketing of your optometry practice. Say your optometry practice is all about community and warmth and your logo is yellow – you would want your office design to be a reflection of who you are and incorporate these key elements. Also, be sure to have your practice name and logo visible to your clients when they enter and while they are waiting for their appointment. If you need help creating your overall brand, you can consult with optometry marketing experts.
Color Psychology: According to the basics of color psychology, different colors are connected with a wide array of emotions — red with excitement, green with peace, blue with trust and productivity, yellow with optimism, orange with friendliness, purple with creativity, gray-scale with balance, etc. Carefully consider the color scheme of your optometry office, both with your clients and your team in mind. Of course, as mentioned above, try to stay in line with your overall brand.
Visual Clutter = Mental Clutter: It’s recommended that medical offices avoid excess clutter, as this can come off as messy and disorderly in the eyes of patients. In fact, recent psychological studies link cluttered spaces to stress and other mental health consequences. Paint the walls of your office a solid color instead of filling them up with posters, which can help create a calm and serene environment.
Comfort: If you want to put your clients at ease, comfort is essential. The chairs in the reception/waiting area should be comfortable and not crammed together. Avoid hard plastic and vinyl seats if possible; you don’t want patients leaving your office with aches and pains! Extra touches like flowers, plants, a refreshment bar, or maybe a television, can also go a long way in making your patients feel more at home. If they are at ease and entertained, the waiting time will be perceived as lower.
Layout & Flow: The office space should also be designed to enable and enhance the natural patient flow, from the moment they enter the space to the moment they exit. Is your space set up so that patients can easily be greeted and feel welcome right when they arrive? Are the products you sell visible to them while they wait to maximize sales? If you need help in this area, an optometry consultant can take a look at your patient flow, design, and processes and make recommendations for improvement.
Lighting: The lighting in your office space also contributes to the overall ambiance. For example, bright lighting can come off as clean and energizing, though if it’s too bright it can seem harsh or sterile. Less bright lighting is more calming and warm but can be dark and dreary if too dim.
Accessibility: Do your patients have any special needs that should be considered in the design of the office? For example, you may need to design your office with wheelchair access in mind. If fact, certain accessibility standards are legally required, as outlined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, so be sure to consider this in your office design.
Team Effort: It is important to involve your team in the office design process. After all, they are going to be spending the most time there. You want the space to boost their morale rather than drain their energy.
These are just a few optometry office design elements and tips to consider. For more ideas and inspiration, connect with other optometry professionals or seek the advice of a professional optometry consultant.
Optometry Office Design Ideas and Optometry Art
Once you have a well-planned out and designed space, you can focus on the finishing touches. If you sell eyewear, get creative with your displays. Treat your products as the art that they are! Many optometry practices have designed offices that look like museums or designer stores to highlight the products they carry and boost their sales. PECAA member Line of Sight‘s office in New York is a sleek, shining example of what is possible when you think outside the box.
Remember, you can also use your logo and tagline as wall art, which can help improve your optometry branding and generate more recognition. If someone walks by and looks through the window of your office, would they be able to easily find your business name and figure out what you do? If not, think about what opportunities you may be missing out on and make some changes!
Think About Every Area of Your Optometry Office
When designing and decorating your optometry office, start with your reception and waiting areas, but don’t forget about all the other areas that make up your office. Though every office is different, most will have at least these core areas:
Reception Area: This is where first impressions are made. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to make your patients feel welcome with a poorly designed reception area. Make sure that it’s obvious to patients where they should check-in when they walk through your doors.
Waiting Room: This area is all about comfort, and maybe a little entertainment. Usually the waiting area will be right next to the reception desk so that the receptionist can keep an eye on things and answer any questions your patients may have while they wait for their appointment.
Exam Rooms: Although these rooms are mainly about functionality, you also want to do everything you can to make your patients feel comfortable and relaxed during their visit. Think about your staff too and make sure that the room is easy to navigate and work in comfortably.
Pre-Testing Rooms: This is where all the preliminary tests take place. Make sure it can accommodate enough patients to avoid any bottlenecks. Investing in some newer equipment, such as digital refracting equipment, can also help streamline the patient experience.
Optical Area: If you want to encourage patients to browse through eyewear, make sure this area is open, inviting, and close to the reception/waiting area.
Contact Lens Counter: This area should probably be adjacent to the optical area. Consider whether a sink might be needed.
Exterior: Last but not least, don’t forget to consider your office’s exterior. You want your practice to be easy to identify and on-brand. Consider decorating your exterior as an opportunity to market your practice to passersby and put your best foot forward!
Parking: This one can be easy to forget about, but really, it’s where the patient’s visit truly begins. You want parking to be as close, convenient, and plentiful as possible. You also want to make sure your patients can clearly see that they’ve arrived at the right place.
Optometry Office Design: Do’s & Don’ts
In summary, here are a few key do’s and don’ts of optometry office decorations and design:
DO Pay Attention to Details: Little details can really change how your office and quality of care are perceived. Always keep things clean and tidy to avoid any signs of carelessness!
DO Design to be Welcoming: Ideally, you want a smiling face at reception to be visible right when your patients walk through the doors, or better yet, from outside the office.
DO Provide Some Distractions: Patients can get nervous and anxious in the waiting room, so be sure to provide some entertainment or distractions, such as magazines, a television, etc.
DO Design With the Senses: It can be inspiring to think about the four senses when you’re designing your office space. What will your patients see? Touch? Smell? Hear? Even taste can be incorporated with a little creativity; offer your patients some spa water or treats while they wait.
DON’T She Away from Color: A bland color scheme can make your optometry office feel drab and depressing. Pops of color can make your space more visually appealing and evoke more positive associations.
DON’T Make it Too Formal: Yes, you want your office to look professional and polished, but you also want it to feel comfortable and warm. Balance is key!
DON’T Forget About Safety & Security: Make sure your medicines are stored securely. The security of your office and waiting room is important too.
Optometry Office Decorations for Your Practice
Designing a great optometry office is no small undertaking. It’s a time-consuming and important investment, but if done well, it will vitalize your office, brand, team, and community and help you reach your full potential.
Of course, you don’t have to undertake this office design project on your own. Gathering inspiration from your peers and seeking advice from professionals in the industry will ensure a great return on your investment. Joining Professional Eye Care Associates of America (PECAA) is a great way to get started. Our expert optometry advisor team, vendor partners, and peer network will help you succeed in today’s competitive environment and be the best that you can be. As a PECAA member, you’ll have continual access to support, inspiration, and resources to guide you through all the aspects of running a successful practice. We’ll help your practice be attractive, inside and out.