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How to Choose Reception Furniture: Start as you Mean to Go On

Oct 8, 2007
Arriving for an interview or business meeting can be intimidating enough, especially if it is not clear what you have to do or where you have to go to speak to someone. While it might be easy for an employer to think that the receptionist will be able to greet everyone who enters a building, very often that person will be taking a call or helping other visitors. The best way to create a welcoming, professional reception area is to find the right sort of reception furniture and accessories, which will suit the reception staff and visitors alike.

Reception desks
The first thing to consider will be the amount of space you have available, which will determine the general shape of your furniture and the number of seats on offer: sometimes the supplier will be able to advise. Then, you'll need to choose the material that the furniture is made from, and this could be a traditional wooden veneer, or feature glass or metal for a more contemporary look.

If you have more space, you may opt for a reception counter, which will cleverly combine work space for the receptionist with a space or higher shelf for visitors to sign in. It also looks pretty smart.

Waiting areas
A reception waiting area provides welcome respite for visitors, and can feature armchairs, settees and coffee tables. You will need to consider how hard-wearing you want your upholstery; the reception area in a doctor's surgery, for instance, will need to be much more durable than a typical office waiting room.

Other options for a reception area
Massage chair: my optician has a massage chair in her reception area for visitors' partners and a game console for their children. It always seems disappointing to go straight in for a check up.

Designer armchairs: designed by German designer Ludwig van der Rohe, the Barcelona Chair is a design classic, with its characteristic cross-shaped legs and slanting leather back. For a more retro feel, a bubble chair, which is a suspended plastic or glass sphere with padded lining, is a possibility if you've got the cash.

TV: a small TV screen can set the tone for a more relaxed work environment, or for a company that is up-to-the-minute with the news.

Music: I once worked for a company that was situated opposite a travel company's head office, where they always played holiday music in their reception area. It sounds tacky, but it really made you to want to walk in.
About the Author
Shaun Parker is a keen follower of Reception Furniture. You can read more about office and reception furniture at http://www.triangleinteriors.co.uk
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