• The Chiropractors' Edge

5 Steps to Designing a Stunning Office

Updated: Feb 26


When it comes to design, we have noticed that many chiropractic offices are...well, lacking. Not all, mind you, but many.


What do we want our patients to feel as they step into our business to receive life-changing Chiropractic care? Is your office a place that patients look forward to spending time in? Do you enjoy spending time in it? And how much does this actually affect the bottom line?"


The answer is clear - A TON.

Chiropractic Office
Restoration Chiropractic by Emma Hansen

First Impressions Matter


Unfortunately, it's human nature to judge based on appearance. Even if someone is generally open and accepting, the subconscious mind can't help creating a narrative based on a first impression. No one is infallible.


If you were to walk into a doctor's office that looked cluttered and outdated, smelled funny or was dirty, would you be excited to take your newborn there? Would you be more or less likely to recommend the business to your colleagues? What conclusions would you draw about the Doctor who owns the office? Are they outdated with their training? Is their mind cluttered too? Since they don't seem to care about their office, do they care about their patients?


This point cannot be stressed enough: WHEN YOU HAVE A CLEAN, WELL DESIGNED SPACE, CLIENTS VALUE YOU AND YOUR SERVICES MORE - and they'll be willing to pay more for them too.

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Chiropractic Office
Corrective Chiropractic by Crossfields Chiropractic Office Design

Where to start


We realize that not everyone has a similar situation when it comes to office space. Maybe you own your own 4,000 sq. ft. building, or maybe you're renting a 400 sq. ft. room. Whatever your situation, when it comes to design you're going to need both form and function. The following are 5 STEPS that will help you design your own stunning office.


Step 1: Asses Your Needs

To start, you're going to have to make some assessments in three different areas. Budget, Staff and Patients. We recommend brainstorming with as many questions as you can possibly think of to get an idea of your wants and needs.


Budget.

How much work do you have to do, how much money do you have, and how much of that money are you willing to spend?


If you're a do-it-yourself-er, you may be able to get by on a smaller budget, but get to know the cost of your project and be realistic about your expectations as you move forward. It is not a bad idea to consider a low interest loan to help with a build out, especially if you have a big project. When utilized correctly, a low interest loan can really pay off in the end.


Staff.

What features do you or your staff need, and how much square footage do you have to work with? Do you have associate doctors? Do they need their own office space for recording notes? Will staff have a break room or need a separate restroom? It's always better to think ahead when designing, so think about how many people you anticipate working with in the future vs where you are currently at.


Additional questions may include, "How many chiropractic tables and rooms do you need? Will you incorporate x-ray services in house, and if so, what are your states requirements for lead lining?"


Patients.

Ask yourself, "Who is my ideal client?" Do you treat a high number of young children or families? If so, you'll probably need an interactive play area. Do you mainly treat working professionals with substantial income? If so, you should opt for a sleek, no nonsense design that caters to a higher end esthetic.


Think about your ideal client, where they would feel the most comfortable, then move on to step 2, and pick out your floorpan.


Step 2: Choose a Floor Plan.

Regardless of whether you own or are renting your space, you should have access to a basic floor plan. These can be provided by your construction company or landlord, and will give you information such as how much square footage you have, and depending on the level of detail may even include information as to where the plumbing/electrical and heating/cooling are located.


An accurate floor plan will allow you to determine what you have to work with so you can achieve the best results for your project. You can even make one yourself if you're willing to take the time to measure your space and do some simple math. It doesn't have to be perfect (unless you're doing major construction), but the general idea is to give you a bird's eye view of what you would like your finished office to look like. This includes where you plan to place large furniture such as a reception desk, couches or adjustment tables.


If you don't already have a floorpan or are looking for ideas to make your own, check out these FREE designs from Crossfields Chiropractic Office Design.



Step 3: Construction

Construction can be a pretty vast step, so for all intents and purposes, we'll just cover some basics. Here's some things to keep in mind when you are working on this step.

  1. Permits are required for any major changes to your layout, and even some minor ones. You will need a permit and inspection for lead lined walls if you want to include an x-ray suite in house. Be sure to check with your town/city/state for required permits, and get them started asap, as they can take time to process.

  2. Always be conscientious of ADA accessibility requirements. This includes the width of your hallways, the size of your bathroom, and whether or not you have a section of your reception area which is accessible. Your office should be comfortable for ALL guests, not just those without disability, and these considerations are usually required by your State anyway. Get ahead of it.

  3. Sound and privacy concerns can be an issue if construction is not done correctly. For instance, how would you like to be discussing private health topics with your doctor during a consult while the waiting room listens in? Or subject your migraine patient to the blenders next door at the juice bar while they blend their smoothies? Be sure these things won't be an issue by choosing to use proper materials on walls, ceilings and floors.

  4. Plush carpet underneath a chiropractic table may look great and be heaven to stand on, but it can also make adjusting more difficult. Putting thin office carpet or no carpet in these areas is a better choice.

  5. Consider adding electrical that supports dimmable lighting throughout your practice. This is especially helpful when a patient comes in who is suffering from a migraine or headache.

  6. Open adjusting vs. separate rooms - that is the question! When considering how to proceed with this, take in to account the feelings of your patients. If yours are anything like ours, some won't care, but some absolutely will. Many individuals are very private, and that's ok! If you're unsure how to proceed, half walls with a separate, private exam room is a good compromise. Half walls provide privacy for your patients while making it easy to get from one adjustment to another, and the private exam room is helpful for patients discussing personal matters.

  7. Build with materials that are easy to clean. The COVID-19 pandemic has made this an even bigger issue, so consider this during your structural design process. Most of our flooring, for example, is polished concrete (which most ground floor buildings have - you just have to polish it). It was one of the best things we ever did, and it makes cleaning simple and easy.

  8. No matter how small the job, if you are working with a contractor, be thorough in your understanding of your contract, how long it will take, and what it will cost. Stick to your plan, and NEVER SIGN A CHANGE ORDER. Always consult with a trusted attorney before signing any type of contract or paperwork.


Step 4: Make it pretty

This is the fun part for most people. Paint, finishes, furniture, accessories, and art are what will help make your office come together. Keep in mind that any piece you put into your space should feel like YOU, and blend with the overall design. Be authentic to your personal esthetic and preferences. You'll be spending the most time there, but remember your ideal client, current patients, and team members as well. For example, our Castle Rock, CO office features a warm rustic look with industrial touches. It fits the location, but also has a clean, comfortable and professional vibe, which our patients have praised highly.


Here are some quick tips when it comes to design:

  • With paint, the higher the gloss, the easier to clean. Try to use semi-gloss paint in higher traffic areas like a kids room or on doors.

  • Textiles (rugs, carpets pillows) should be washable.

  • Natural light is usually wonderful, and the more the merrier. Just be sure to have options for those who may come in with sensitivities to light.

  • Neutral wall tones (white, beige, grey, light hues) are calming for most people, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. We recommend reading The Secret Lives of Color, by Kassia St. Clair if you're interested in studying the history of color and how it has affected our world.

  • Be cautious with smells as many patients have extra sensitive sniffers! We don't recommend using things like Glade plug-ins or even most candles. Opt for an essential oil diffuser instead, and keep several natural options in stock. I love cinnamon and peppermint, but many of our patients don't, so it helps to be able to switch them out if needed.

  • Find furniture that fits your space comfortably. Pieces that are too big or too small make things feel awkward. This includes artwork.

  • Speaking of artwork, keep it classy. Not everyone will appreciate your nude self portrait.

  • Less is more. Keep your design simple, and esthetically pleasing. Pinterest, Instagram are great sources for inspiration!


Step 5: Keep improving

This may be the most important step of all, since design preferences change, and styles move on. We recommend freshening your decor every 5-10 years at the least - just to keep things current. And don't be afraid to change your mind. The whole point of great design is to do what works for you!



What if I don't want to do this myself?


If this seems overwhelming, don't feel like you have to take on this project by yourself. Not everyone feels comfortable - or has the time to put into designing their own office space, and that's ok! Sometimes, a project like this - especially if you have a lot of work to do on it - is better left to the professionals.


Our recommendation? Don't be afraid to invest in your office, as it will be worth it in the end, and be sure that anyone you're considering working with is thoroughly vetted beforehand. This includes contractors, construction companies, product suppliers and design consultants. Ask for references, and personally call at least 4 past clients to ask them about their experience. If possible, go see the work they have done in person.


Although we'd like to believe that most people have good intentions, not following this advice could cost you in the end.



#officedesign

#construction #officedecor #5stepstodesign


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