Reception and lobby seating – are they sending the right message to visitors?

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The reception and lobby of a building is the first true impression your visitors will get and the furniture can give good or bad impressions. The style, colour and amount of seating you need depend on the type of company you run.

Aside from what your seating says about your company, you also have to think about who will be using it and how their needs and requirements can be met.

What type of company are you?

Reception area seating is no standard thing – if you’re looking for furniture for a GP surgery then you won’t be looking for the same type of seating as an advertising agency or a law firm. Think carefully about what you want your seating to say.

Classic high quality leather reception chairs and sofas give a really professional feel and have a luxurious and more formal look than bright fabric chairs. These sorts of styles generally have fairly neutral colours that work well with more sombre business environments such as law firms.Very contemporary office furniture and artistic designs work well in advertising agencies and companies with a more creative and youthful flair. Social media companies also have the ability to use unusual and modern styles to their advantage.

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If you’re offering a formal and professional service then that should be partly reflected in your furniture. The same goes if you’re creative and modern, try more informal styles that are eye-catching and fun. But remember not to overdo ‘quirky’, or you could find yourself tipping over into ‘infantile’ or ‘garish’.

Who will be visiting?

Your reception area furniture says a lot about the attitude of the company but it should also show awareness of your visitors. Who will be visiting your reception? Are clients going to be visiting or do you have a small reception that is mainly for staff from other branches of the company? Do visitors come in groups, such as a family, or do they tend to come alone?

In the case of a medical facility such as a counsellors office or doctors surgery, visiting clients may need a variety of seating choices so they can choose to sit with family or sit alone without being forced to share a sofa with a stranger.

More social environments such as theatres and creative workplaces can explore more informal sofas, stools and chair arrangements where visitors are likely to be happy and relaxed.

What different styles say

There are lines between formal and intimidating and also between contemporary, creative and immature or over the top. Many suppliers stock stylish designs that meet a huge range of needs and have formal yet modern ranges as well as fun yet professional ranges. These types of office furniture suppliers offer dynamic and comprehensive options.

Full service

You may not be an expert in interior design or space planning so finding an office furniture company who offer a full service could be the difference between having a reception area that serves its purpose, and having a reception area that makes a great impression and is still highly functional.

Choose a company that offers a virtual space planning service so you can see exactly what your idea will look like and then tweak it into perfection. A good company should also install the furniture for you as well, so you shouldn’t have to be left on the doorstep with a lorry load of flat packed coffee tables and chairs that need fixing in place.

About the author – Kitiara Pascoe has been in some phenomenal reception spaces and some downright dreary ones. She blogs regularly about a wide range of topics including business services and design and this piece was written with the help of information found at


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