Skip to content

DGI’s Invisuals print division is now part of Kirkwood. Click here to learn more about this exciting development and what it means for you. Learn More

Waiting Room Interior Design Trends & Ideas

Avatar photo
Author: Glen Fairbanks | President
Waiting Room Interior Design Trends & Ideas

A waiting room, reception area or guest lounge — the space where your guests and visitors relax while waiting for appointments, tours or meetings — represents an opportunity to create a first impression. You want your guests to feel welcomed and comfortable, but the waiting area design is also a chance to show visitors to your office or workplace what kind of organization you are. If your waiting room is outdated and bland, that’s the image you’re portraying to your guests.

Waiting room time is one of the biggest guest complaints, especially in healthcare settings. In fact, studies have shown that 84% of patients consider wait time either “somewhat” or “very important” to patient experience at a doctor’s office. Redecorating or even making small design changes can help you make your waiting area fresh and welcoming.

Quick Navigation
Health and Safety
Strategic Room Flow
Arrange Seating to Compliment the Space
Thoughtful Décor is Key
Prioritize Patient Experience
Embrace Technology
Best Waiting Room Design Examples

Health and Safety

In a post COVID-19 world, waiting rooms need to take a visitor’s health seriously. When considering your office waiting room design, keep social distancing and cleanliness in mind — especially in medical or healthcare-adjacent facilities. Hand sanitizing stations or even bottles of hand sanitizer can go a long way in making a visitor feel safe.

Non-porous textiles and sealed surfaces allow for easy cleaning. From leather to vinyl, stone to plastics, there are aesthetically pleasing options for every taste and budget. If your guests will be waiting for longer periods of time, consider removable, washable covers in breathable natural fabrics.

This waiting area at Boston Medical Center has “open” and “closed” seating to make social distancing simple.

Strategic Room Flow

It can be frustrating for a visitor to enter a waiting area and not know where to check in. Having a clear reception desk or concierge is an easy way to control the flow of traffic. It may be beneficial to have the reception desk farther from the entrance to avoid crowding. Additionally, any coat hooks or hangers should be near the door for convenient exiting.

Give visitors space to move freely through your waiting room without invading each other’s personal space. Wayfinding signage on walls and floors can point visitors to reception desks, restrooms and exits. You will want to periodically audit the room flow and make updates accordingly.

Arrange Seating to Compliment the Space

Seating should help the flow of the room — not get in the way, especially in a small waiting room.

Modern waiting room design means thinking outside the box. Consider a mix of innovative seating options: extra-wide chairs, small loveseats, chaises in addition to single chairs (with and without arms), or seating around tables so guests can use a laptop of tablet comfortably while they wait. Give visitors options for conversation or peace and quiet.

This waiting area has a variety of seating so visitors can have their pick.

Thoughtful Décor is Key

Pay attention to your color choices. Incorporate your branding into your waiting room but bear in mind that waiting can be stressful and frustrating. Cool colors that evoke feelings of calm and comfort. The perfect wall color will energize your space; the wrong color could consciously or subconsciously contribute to feelings of frustration and discomfort. Save bold branding colors for accent pieces, like rugs and art.

Your best lighting options will depend on your objective. Use soft, bright lighting if you want to exude a sense of professionalism and low, warm lighting to create a friendlier and cozier ambiance. A mix of table lamps, wall sconces and floor lamps can double as visual accents while providing supplemental interior light. If possible, use natural light since it’s a proven mood booster. Window treatments and decorative choices like reflective surface and open sight lines can enhance your natural light sources.

Potted plants, fresh flowers, succulent collections and tabletop water features are simple ways to bring the natural world into your waiting room. Fish tanks, natural views, small waterfalls and natural design elements also bring a hint of the outside world into your waiting room design.

Prioritize Patient Experience

Consider a well-curated mix of periodicals, an infotainment display or streaming content feed, and if appropriate, games or puzzles for your visitors. Small distractions can help reduce anxiety and frustrations. Even your decorative accents can provide intellectual stimulation. Environmental graphics such as murals and motivational or inspirational quotes all provide mental stimulation.

Patient interactive experience options include:

  • Water or coffee station
  • Snack corner
  • Play area for kids
  • Video games
  • iPads
  • Books/magazines/newspaper stand
  • Small aquarium
  • Trivia on digital signage
These pole wraps in Boston Children’s Hospital bring color and a focal point into the waiting room.

Embrace Technology

Offering phone charging stations and free Wi-Fi (with the password clearly accessible) can go a long way in visitor satisfaction. Being able to get some work done while waiting, or keep a child entertained with a video can make all the difference between a pleasant and unpleasant visit. These simple things are greatly appreciated — if not expected — in waiting rooms today.

Digital Signage
Technology can also be utilized to display a wide variety of content, including time-sensitive information, waiting times, company news and updates and more. With advancements in technology, digital displays and LED video walls have become more cost-effective and quicker and easier to update than a manual system.

Best Waiting Room Design Examples

Men’s Urology Department Waiting Room at Mount Sinai Hospital

The waiting room was designed to “serve as a refuge for male patients waiting for a doctor’s appointment or looking for educational resources on prostate health or men’s health.” By creating a welcome environment, men can relax and enjoy the atmosphere when waiting for an appointment.


Kaio Dentistry

This waiting room is open with large windows that allow for ample natural light. Comfortable seating options make waiting for appointments more enjoyable.


Hubspot Waiting Area



Bluebird Bio


The bluebird bio office waiting area uses brand colors to accent the room. It’s light and have open space and comfortable seating.

Take Your Waiting Room to the Next Level

Whether your company is building, renovating, or moving into a new space and looking for fresh waiting room design ideas, a reception space that reflects your company values and welcomes your guests can have a huge impact. DGI’s experience in graphic design, acoustic management and workspace layout planning can help you take your waiting room design to the next level. Contact us today to get started.

Avatar photo
Glen Fairbanks | President

Glen joined DGI in 1994, just as the large format digital printing industry was emerging. He was originally hired as a telemarketer, quickly rose to inside sales, then managed the customer service department. From there, Glen moved to outside sales, becoming a top performer and exceeding goals by selling over a million dollars several years in a row.

Learn More
Video Wall Buyers Guide eBook Cover
Your Video Wall Buyer's Guide: 8 Key Questions and Considerations
Get answers to all your questions about buying LED video walls - download a free guide!
Grab my eBook
Footer CTA
Ready to start your project?
Request a Quote