Designing a Dental Practice Reception and Waiting Room

This article has been created to assist you in designing your ideal reception area and waiting room for staff and patient satisfaction.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Your reception and waiting room is the first impression you give to your patients and tells them how much you care about them. Many practices have similar waiting rooms, with rows of chairs and low-cost tables cluttered with magazines, maybe a TV tuned to the news; on silent with subtitles.

Patients can be nervous of their impending consultation or procedure, they may have a tooth ache and be concerned that the diagnosis could mean surgery or the dreaded drill. Even if they are only waiting a few minutes this can feel like a very long time in a plain room with no outstanding features, especially if the seating is uncomfortable.

So, look to decrease perceived waiting time by identifying elements that can make a more appealing, inviting and comfortable waiting experience.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Ensure your patients love your waiting room to give them the best start to their time with you. The reception they receive and the room they wait in before their consultation will definitely affect their experience and to turn patients into loyal customers you want them to have a good memory of this.

If you are looking to update your reception and waiting room areas, the style and colour of the furniture should also reflect your practice brand. If you have cutting edge services and modern equipment, then your reception desk and seating should give this impression before the patient has entered your surgery.

So, ideally create the perfect blend between reflecting your brand and relaxing your patients, by utilising the space you have available and implementing some of these ideas….

How Can I Improve my Waiting Room?

For ultimate relaxation, making your patients feel at home will really improve their experience. Comfortable furniture and homely features like plants, warm lighting, wall decorations or art. Even a fireplace can add a nice touch, as in this example.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Try to arrange the seating so patients can sit where it is most comfortable for them; play areas for children or quiet, light areas for those who wish to read or scroll their phones.

Use a TV for controlled digital content. Show information about the practice, images / photos that you would post on social media, procedures that benefit patient health, patient testimonials etc.

Keep magazines up-to-date and arranged carefully. Consider charging points for phones, access to Wi-Fi, maybe add a splash of colour or patterns on walls for a vibrant feel.

If you have the space, you could include luxuries like a massage chair?

Or, a fish tank / aquarium can also add colour and light to the room. They have health and calming benefits as shown by a study completed by Plymouth University. As well as looking attractive they reduce stress, induce relaxation, minimise blood pressure and even lessen pain.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Colours and Lighting

Because one of your main goals is to relieve patients’ feelings of tension or fear, lean toward colours that soothe, rather than those that excite.

You cannot rely on windows all year round, so a sufficient lighting set-up is imperative. There are many options for ceiling lighting and general lighting is around 200 – 700 Lux.

A recommended lumination would be 300 – 400 Lux. For a unique lighting effect recessed lights and down-lighting can be utilised for a modern and luxurious appearance.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

It is recommended to use a lighting design that provides a smooth light distribution rather than directed light and if possible, a gradient of increasing light strength from the waiting room to the surgery, to accustom the patient’s eyes: 400 Lux increasing to 4000 Lux.

Colour temperature is expressed in Kelvin and uses the symbol “K”. Temperatures over 5000K are bluish, cool colours and lower temperatures (2700 – 3000K) are called yellowish warm colours.

Receptions and waiting areas will need to be warm and inviting, as well as relaxing. So, lower colour temperatures should be considered.


Pictures of happy patients, your doctors and other staff and even some printed testimonials will provide a warm welcome. Avoid wallpaper with busy prints, these can be disorienting. Popular decorations include art, a feature wall, plants, ornaments or your company name / logo.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Connecting the Community

Dental practices are very much local businesses. You could hang a bulletin board with local flyers and activities.

Reception Desks

From an aesthetic point of view it is very important for the reception desk to look good, seeing as this is the first thing clients see when they walk into your practice.

Whether your chosen style is luxury, like a high-end hotel or contemporary and minimalistic, our design team will work with you to create an area that reflects your branding needs, gives you optimum staff workflow options, meets legislative standards and looks stunning with various possibilities, such as: -

  • Feature lighting
  • Durable work surfaces
  • Matching cabinets
  • Numerous wood options
  • Limitless layouts
  • Modesty panels
  • Styles for any budget

We aim to deliver highly recommended staff and patient experiences to enable dental practice success. To discuss your waiting room and reception ideas contact us on 01322 293333, email at or use this Contact Form.

See our case studies for the reception desks and waiting rooms we have created to bring happiness to staff and relaxation to patients.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

7oaks Clinic - Modern and contemporary reception and waiting room.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Share a Smile – Stylish reception and bench seating.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Watling Street – Comfy sofa, minimalist reception desk and matching cabinetry.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Westland Medical Centre – Elegant waiting room furniture and spacious reception desk.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Ivy House – Glass entrance enclosure.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

White Oak - Modular reception desk.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Kent Smile Studio Chatham - A comfortable and inviting waiting room.

Dental Reception & Waiting Room Design

Cyfarthfa Dental Care – Natural lighting from a stunning glass ceiling.

We also offer a Turn-Key solution - while you are on holiday, within 2 weeks and guaranteed solutions.

We have other articles on design, fit-out and refurbishment tips for your dental practice, just follow these links: -

Considerations for Dental Surgery Design
Top tips for Dental Surgery Lighting
Dental Cabinets for Surgeries & Decontamination Rooms
Decontamination Room Design

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