You’ve heard the phrase “first impressions count”, and if there’s one place where that phrase applies a lot - it’s the reception area.


In this article, we discuss the importance of having the right reception area design and how it can impact your business.


The purpose of the reception area

If asked what the purpose is of the reception area, you might respond that, among other things, its aim is to welcome visitors and to direct them to the right meetings or people.

What isn’t top of our mind is that the purpose of the reception area is also to build the right image of a business (or in larger office blocks, several businesses).

Effective reception areas need to make visitors feel calm, relaxed and welcome. Their appearance needs to convey the right level of professionalism, and the branding and tone should be in line with the company or businesses that it represents. Let’s look at some of these a bit closer…

A warm welcome

Ask a proven hospitality consultancy such as Ramsay Todd about great customer service and you will be told how important it is to make customers feel welcome and relaxed. Reception areas have lots of things going on, and a visitor can quickly feel hassled.

Having the right lighting, furniture and even background sounds can help to make a visitor feel at ease.

What message are you sending?

The common sense approach to reception area design is to use furniture and styling that gives a message of professionalism. A clean, well-designed layout that might incorporate plants, wooden furniture and that’s clutter free sends a positive message to the visitor, but not all big brands have gone down this route.

Companies such as Innocence Drinks and Mindy Candy have made their offices and reception areas fun and eye-catching as well as professional. According to ProtectMyPeople* “Guests are welcomed into the Mind Candy world with a reception area inspired by a treehouse with leaves hanging from the ceiling and a retro sweet dispenser”.

Designing a more creative reception area can carry risks if you get it wrong, but it can also inspire visitors and positively impact the brand. It might even get visitors and employees talking about it outside of the workplace.

If you are unsure about the layout of your reception area then working with a facilities management consultancy is recommended.

How long do you have?

Another factor to consider with reception design is how long it takes someone to decide what they think of a company or brand.

Our reception management consultants have seen various studies that show that people make up their mind about another person, company or something else very quickly. Figures range from the first 7 seconds** to 27 seconds*** and anything up to a minute.

Whichever figure you take, it isn’t long. A visitor will decide what they think of a brand as soon as they arrive at the door. If you need to take a visitor down a long dark uninspiring corridor to get to a great looking reception, or the first few steps in a reception area don’t look professional then that could have a negative impact.

The Psychology of how we quickly decide what we think of a place or brand doesn’t just cover reception areas. According to catering consultants, when entering an area that offers catering facilities, the smell, look and sounds can impact what a diner thinks of the place and even the food!

Further elements to consider

For a great reception design, consider elements such as the amount of natural light that there is, what furniture you use and where it’s placed -and even what temperature the area is set at. If the area is too hot or too cold then it can leave visitors feeling uncomfortable.

Make sure to plan out and design your reception area fully before making any changes. It’s also a good idea to get feedback and thoughts as well to avoid any costly mistakes.

Need help with your new reception area?

There’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating the right environment for your reception area.

At Ramsay Todd, we are soft services consultants who can help you with a range of facilities management aspects including catering, hospitality and reception areas.


We work with businesses to ensure that the first impression counts.


Get in touch with our soft services consultants to find out more about how we can help.