Thursday, August 06, 2009
Creating an Inviting, Comfortable Waiting Room for Your Office
By Grace Chen
We spend so much of our lives waiting. We wait in line for everyday tasks, such as paying for groceries or cashing a check. We wait for travel — in airports, bus stations, and in traffic. We wait in line at the amusement park, or to buy theater tickets. By the time we've reached adulthood, we're quite accustomed to biding our time and waiting our turn. But as children, our patience is thin, and waiting seems intolerable. And as parents, we are caught between teaching our children patience and maintaining our own comfort and sanity. Thankfully, a well-furnished waiting room helps us do both.
A well designed waiting space begins with comfort. Adequate seating for the client or patient population is a must. Waiting with a child is difficult enough, without the added inconvenience of having to stand. Seating should also be comfy, but practical—simple to clean and straighten. Oversized floor pillows may be easily arranged and serve as both seating and entertainment for children with active imaginations. Kid’s waiting room furniture is another option, and may be found in a variety of colors and sizes to accommodate both child and parent.
The ideal waiting area would also provide reading materials for adults and children, but also include activities for children beyond books or magazines. Waiting room toys make those long minutes and hours tolerable and also educational. Bright colors are appealing to children and lend warmth to a waiting area, and these multi-colored wires and beads keep active little hands busy and content. Older children will enjoy exploring exciting topics such as insect and marine life with magnetic tables. Wall-mounted games save space while engaging even the most impatient toddlers.
Of course, time-tested standards such as coloring books, crayons, dolls, and action figures are also excellent additions to the waiting room.
A fish or reptile aquarium can add visual interest and life to any lobby or waiting space. Brightly colored tropical sea life, domestic goldfish, or even a turtle or iguana can provide entertainment and education for children and parents.
Practicality and Cleanliness
A tidy waiting room is both inviting and calming. Magazines and other reading materials should be kept neat, and wastebaskets should be plentiful and emptied often. Hand-sanitizer may also be made available as a courtesy, placed near entrances and/or exits. Boxes of tissue or wet-wipes may also be appreciated for little sniffles or spills. Restrooms should be family-accessible and easy to find.
Lighting should be bright enough and appropriately placed for reading, but not too harsh or blinding. Soothing background music helps everyone relax, and certain paint color schemes are best suited to calm feelings. Waiting area televisions or Internet access terminals for help business-minded moms and dads focus on the task at hand.
Green plants are a nice touch, and provide fresh oxygen to the waiting area. Take care to include only non-poisonous species, or make plants inaccessible to children, as little mouths are often quick and curious.
Nobody really enjoys waiting, least of all children. A well planned, cleverly furnished waiting area can make time pass more easily and comfortably for all involved.
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