Medical Waiting Room Design Ideas

We’ll admit, medical waiting room designs aren’t always the most inspiring, and often people’s last thought when it comes to a medical fitout. It’s natural for most of the attention to be placed on the clinical rooms themselves and good functionality. But when it comes to medical reception fitouts – it is important to prioritise your clients and their wellbeing just as much.

There’s many different reasons people will be walking into your medical clinic. You may run a general practice or a cosmetic surgery – some people may be waiting anxiously for test results while others are waiting contentedly to get a cosmetic consult. It’s not always easy to determine how your clients will feel walking in each day, but since medical facilities are often places where people are unwell or maybe even going under the knife, it’s important to ensure that those people are well-looked after with a comfortable waiting room design that does its best to place them at ease. 

Poasa Naoia from Total Fitouts, Hawkes Bay says that while patient comfort is a key reason for making clinic spaces inviting, his clients tell him it’s not the only benefit.

Not only does the space look nice and operate better, but we’ve been told it’s actually done wonders for the morale of the staff as well.”

Generally speaking, you want to aim for a space that offers comfort and calm, that feels warm and inviting and perhaps delivers on some aesthetics and features that spark visual interest for adults and children alike. But what does this really mean? Let us walk you through some specific things to be aware of that can enhance client satisfaction – and these ideas won’t even break the bank!

Functional medical rooms, neutral and wooden colour palette and welcoming reception area for this medical fit out for Queensland Orthopaedic Clinic
Queensland Orthopaedic Clinic, Gold Coast by Total Fitouts

Charging stations and free wifi in your medical reception fitout

We live in a busy world and sadly, it doesn’t always stop for people’s health! For a number of reasons, offering phone charging stations and free wifi can be a really nice and easy way to make people more comfortable and even reduce anxiety. 

You may have a business professional who’s run in for an appointment over lunch, they need to continue sending emails but realise their phone is quickly dying. Alternatively, you may have a mother waiting for her appointment with 3 kids and an ipad with no charge. This is likely going to create stress for her and could even cause disruption in the clinic. 

Offering an iphone/ android charging bay for phones and tablets is such an easy fix to a common customer problem. It won’t be overly costly, but it will be remembered by your very grateful clients.

Include natural tones and calming colours in your waiting room design

People are most comfortable at home. So why not bring a little bit of home comfort into your waiting room design with less-clinical styling and tones! 

It doesn’t have to be so clinical anymore – medical practices are having a bit more fun with the space these days. There’s a lot of fittings and finishings you can do to try and make it more comfortable. So it’s not just, you know, white walls, white floor. You can, for example, include timber tones everywhere, or even feature colours, which can make it a bit more natural and relaxing.” – Poasa Naoia from Total Fitouts, Hawkes Bay

Colour can have a significant impact on our state of being, so choose wisely.  Incorporating colours that are found in nature can have a calming effect on people, some of these include tones of blues, greens and warm yellows (in small doses).

Ensure comfortable seating that accommodates everyone

The comfort of your seating is very important, particularly to your clients who may be suffering from physical ailments. 

Oftentimes, waiting room seating offers the standard padded seats with metal armrest. While these are a fine option for some, you’ll want to consider the broad spectrum of clients coming into your clinic and make sure everyone is comfortable, no matter their condition, shape or physical ability. 

You can do this by offering an assortment of seating options from two-seater pieces to seats with no armrests and couch-style seating for those who may need extra comfort. 

Include house plants in your medical reception fitout

Houseplants have many proven benefits for people’s state of mind and health. Allowing sunlight in and utilising houseplants in your clinic can be of wonderful benefit to your clients and patients. Here are some of the great health benefits houseplants can offer people:

  • Improve mood
  • Boost healing and pain tolerance 
  • Reduce fatigue
  • Lower stress and anxiety
Functional medical rooms, neutral and wooden colour palette and welcoming reception area for this medical fit out for Queensland Orthopaedic Clinic
Queensland Orthopaedic Clinic, Gold Coast by Total Fitouts

Consider placement of artwork in your waiting room design

Everyone can agree that waiting is boring and waiting room designs are made for function more than entertainment. Still, if your budget allows for it, consider adding visual interest by hanging quality artworks with splashes of colour and texture in your clinic’s waiting area. Remember, colours and tones can impact the mood of your clients so be mindful and talk to your shopfitter or designer about best colour schemes and subjects for your art. 

Leave space for a ‘kids zone’ in your medical waiting room fitout

If you’re a parent with young kids, sitting in a waiting room and keeping your kids amused while you wait is probably one of the more daunting tasks of your day. This can be made easier by committing a small space to being a children’s play area. When choosing toys and games for the kids zone, consider children from 2 years old all the way up to 10 years old and allow for the kids to use their imaginations a little!

Adding items to the kids corner like a distortion mirror or “fun house mirror” will have most kids well-entertained and making silly faces for the duration of their wait. It’s important to think about other clients in the waiting room too, so be sure to avoid any toys that make noise.

Functional medical rooms, bespoke branded signage and welcoming reception area for this medical fit out for Smart Clinics
Smartclinics Toowong by Total Fitouts

Bathroom placement in your medical waiting room design

For the same reason you don’t want to be seated near the bathroom at the restaurant, you don’t want to wait near the bathroom at the doctors clinic. It’s not a pleasant topic we know, but it is necessary to think about. It may seem like common sense now, but when you’re busy focusing on your clinical rooms, the right placement for the bathroom in relation to the waiting area is probably not your main concern.

Keeping in mind that in your busy waiting room, people are possibly going to be quite unwell, the bathroom may get a lot more use than other public settings. It’s also very difficult to utilise things like candles, flowers or scents in most clinical waiting rooms due to safety and how it may impact on a client’s health. 

Still, you want to keep your clients from feeling that your clinic is in any way “unclean” or “unhygienic”. For this reason, having people sit near a bathroom door that swings open and lets out a bathroom odor is a big no no. There’s a couple of ways you can tackle this: 

  1. Keep the bathroom a good distance from waiting area
    This is one solution to the problem, however, not always possible to design for this as it can depend on your site and where your services are existing. If you’re keeping the facilities a good distance away from waiting patients, be sure they’re very clearly signed and not hard to access (just tucked around the corner). After all, you probably have people of all ages in your clinic, from children to the elderly – accessing the toilet needs to be made as easy as possible and no risk of anyone getting lost.
  2. Give the bathroom a two door entry
    If you’re going to have a multi-stall bathroom facility, you may have enough space to separate the toilet area from the sink area with a wall and floor-to-ceiling door. This will create another layer of separation between your clients in the waiting room and the toilet stalls, reducing the chance of bathroom odor “wafting” past your clients.

Need a medical fitout? Get in touch with your local Total Fitouts team for a no-obligation chat today. We’ve designed and built medial facilities large and small across Australia and New Zealand. Call at 0800 348 888 or email us at [email protected], or fill in our handy form.