If your business is in a strip mall or office building you do not have much choice in the outside area. This means that the first impression the client will have of you and the business will be the reception area. Keeping it neat and clean is a definite must. You should also avoid clutter to make people feel more comfortable and not crowded. You don't want people getting the wrong idea, so you should take your time in decorating the room. Here are a few things to consider when outfitting the area.
To make the room feel clean and open, white, or light colored walls work best. However, you should not have plain walls. Use the space to promote your brand and business. Have pictures of your products or people using your services that present you in a good way. You could have shots of you with a client relaxing and smiling, or perhaps something that showcases your work, a building you designed, a backyard you landscaped, or even some type of timeline highlighting your company's success and achievements.
Make sure the reception desk fits in with the atmosphere too. If the room is small, do not take up a lot of space with a desk but have shelves and file cabinets behind it for the different paperwork and such. If the feel of the office should be professional and strong, go with a wood desk. If you want a more upbeat and modern feel, the desk can be acrylic or even a polished metal or stone. To project a relaxed feeling, go with a simple, metal desk and file cabinet. While there may be other desks behind a wall with a window to interact through, you should have one in the reception area for when the clients first come through the door. Someone should be seated there and able to answer questions for anyone waiting. Clients like to know they are not being ignored.
You want any furniture in the room to reflect upon the business. Make sure that any seating can accommodate people with disabilities and of all sizes. Make sure they are comfortable and not too hard and do not crowd them all together. You could have a few separate seating areas instead of just rows of seats.
It would be a good idea to take a day or so and walk into a few offices of the same type of business as yours. What do you feel when you enter and take a seat? Remember the good things and the bad and make sure you furnish your reception area appropriately.