Claire Gold

By Claire Gold
Designer |

First impressions are lasting impressions. Your reception’s design can make your visitors feel welcome and give you a competitive advantage. By adopting a more innovative reception design, you can also boost employee wellbeing throughout the day!

Check out our top tips on how you can create the belle of the hall.

1. Spot on brand

Your reception is the office equivalent of a handshake. It’s a greeting that says who you are and what you do. Strongly communicating your brand is not only advised, it’s what people expect and helps them to orientate themselves. Noone should step into your office and think am I in the right place? You can go wild with your brand colour palette without being brash. Think beyond wall paint and consider your flooring, furniture, lighting, carpeting, window treatment and décor.

Use your logo prominently, of course, but also take the opportunity to get creative. If your marketing team agrees, you could isolate an element of it to create a unique pattern or motif. The focal point in Superdrug’s office reception inspired by their logo’s star. We created 10ft laser cut star from stacked metal sheets and the result is celestial (sorry, couldn’t resist).

2. Furniture finesse

The reception desk is the first thing anyone sees, so it needs to look the part. Make a statement with a custom desk that’s engraved with your logo, incorporate biophilic design using natural materials, add a curve or install some down lights. Lindt & Sprungli wanted a desk reminiscent of their signature, luxury Swiss chocolate truffles, so that’s just what we delivered!.

It goes without saying that your desk needs to be paired with an ergonomic chair suitable for long periods of seated work. One of the advantages of using a design and build contractor to source your furniture is benefiting from their buying power!

3. Clutter-free welcome

Mess equals stress. When your senses are overloaded with unnecessary stimuli, it can be hard to remain calm and collected. Make sure your reception has the storage facilities it needs to stay clutter-free and welcoming.

We’re masters of hiding secret storage and in some cases even boardrooms, just ask Suez. Their striking reception features a curved wall clad with shipping container metal sheeting. If you look carefully, you’ll see a push door that leads to the boardroom. If we can hide a 12-seat meeting space, imagine what we could do for your visitors’ coats and the office post!

4. Noisy natter

The front door opening and closing, ringing phones and general chitter chatter can make the reception a pretty noisy place. We’ve seen a trend of incorporating the reception into a common area, which can double as a secondary space in an activity based working environment.

It’s important to keep your reception a social place, but try incorporate a few design tricks to minimise noise. Adding textured fabrics to your design can make a big impact and absorb unwanted sound. Wall coverings, artistic panels and carpet can bring the decibel levels down. Creating physical boundaries (and décor flair!) with the odd partition, storage or plants will also help, like this example in MRI Software’s small but perfectly-formed office reception.

5. Climate change

A blast of cold air each time the door swings open isn’t cool! We get asked about how to find a climate control solution that doesn’t include an electric heater under the desk (hello, fire hazard!). Not only is it unsafe, your leaky reception isn’t very energy efficient.

There are a few options. A door heater at the entrance creates an air barrier for a warm welcome and works as a heat conservation measure. An air curtain can be mounted directly into the ceiling’s mounting recess. Having a glass-fronted reception with large expanses of glazing can also be tricky. Prone to condensation and letting in cold drafts, you can install a discreet trench heating system at the window’s base.

6. Reception deception

‘Front’ and ‘back’ office design continuity is so important. Have you ever visited an office with a beautiful reception and then walked around the corner and been sorely disappointed? If your design is disjointed, it sends a clear message that your employees and visitors aren’t valued the same.

Riverbed’s reception design flows seamlessly into the rest of the space. When visitors step into the office reception, they’ll find a comfortable lounge with sofas and informal chairs set around coffee tables and a coffee bar. This ‘landing area’ features all the same furniture, finishes, lighting, wood panelling, carpets and brand colours you’ll find elsewhere in the office.

7. Dare to be different

Or don’t have a reception at all! Maybe you’d prefer Costa Coffee’s barista bar, Nuffield Health’s juice bar or a digital check-in and welcome system. If you’re all about the ‘anti-reception’, your space can be creatively customised to fit your needs, brand, people and clients.