Wednesday, January 29, 2014

7 Easy Steps to Creating A Professional Lobby

Any interior designer will tell you that the decorating business is tough. It's a job filled with measuring, maintenance, colors, considerations, all sorts of furniture, and it's rarely ever a one man show. Paying attention to all of these things at once and trying to haggle with dealers and deliverers can be a handful, which is why, if you want to decorate your office lobby yourself, you're probably going to need some help. But don't worry. With this handy guide, all the tricks of the pros will be at your disposal. We've done our research on this one, so don't be afraid to dive in to that decorating project with confidence. Here are the seven easy steps to creating the perfect professional lobby!

Step 1: Measure Your Space

Measure Your Lobby Space

One of the biggest mistakes newbies make when having a go at interior design is bad measuring. This is perhaps the most important step to making sure your lobby looks the best that it can. Inaccurate measuring can leave you with oversized or undersized furniture, installation hassles, and tons of buyer's remorse. When a lobby looks like it's too big or too small for the furniture, guests will notice because this is the space you have set aside for them. Don't worry though. Even the pros mess this one up from time to time. That's why it's best when decorating to make sure you measure correctly. This is a bit of an undertaking, so don't be afraid to ask a friend or two for help. Just break out the measuring tape, the pencils and the graph paper to map your space out with a quality scale-sketch of your lobby space. Be sure to take note of permanent features that are already a part of the room, like doors, windows, and power outlets so you can furnish your space up smart. When you're done, give your drawing a quick double check to make sure your measurements are all correct. As they say in woodworking, measure twice, cut once, and everything will fit like a puzzle!

Step 2: Identify Your Needs

Consider Your Lobby Needs

Now that the hardest part is out of the way, it's time to consider your needs. When decorating a lobby, try to think like a guest. What will they expect? What will they want? How can you as a designer go above and beyond to meet those needs? Think about your guests' responsibilities. In a hotel, medical office, vet clinic, car shop, or service industry lobby, visitors might need a place to fill out information. Comfortable chairs and affordable desks for lobby reception are a must, but that isn't all that's expected. If you want your guests to be happy and content for longer waiting times, providing them with magazines and pamphlets about your company is a good idea. You may even decide your guests deserve refreshments while they wait, but they'll have to have some place to set all those items. That makes coffee tables and stylish end tables for lobby use a must have too. If you decide you want a slideshow for visitors to watch or something even more entertaining than some mags and a few pamphlets, lobby televisions are all the rage now, especially in medical facilities like pediatrics offices and dentistries. Making sure you have everything you need and that you have room enough for all of it is crucial to good interior decorating. It's best to start with the essentials and build your way up from there.

Step 3: Choose a Style

Lobby With Style

Okay! Here comes the fun part: the "decorating" in interior decorating! This is where you get to pick a color scheme, choose wall artwork, and decide on the style of furniture you want. Most people might think that lobbies are pretty self explanatory, but we can assure you that is not so. There are tons of great themes you may want your lobby to express. It's up to you to decide between urban charm, modern professionalism, kooky fun, or the classic wood furniture look. As far as colors go, try to decide if you want to go with the company colors or something else. Just make sure when decorating that one color isn't too overpowering. One trick designers often use is to pick their dominant color and then add a bit of the colors next to or opposite that color on the color wheel. If you need help, try starting with a piece of accent furniture you'd really like in your lobby, something like a lamp, a rug, or a painting. Pay attention to the colors that are in that piece and then choose your furniture shapes and colors based on that. Finally, when you have an idea of what you want, come up with a furniture layout using your measurement paper. Be sure you know how big the sofas, tables, and  modern lounge chairs for lobby use you want to buy is also, so you know it will fit into the space. If you have lots of room, a big, cushy couch is fine, but if your lobby is tight on space, something like lobby beam seating solutions might be more efficient. The goal is to have a lobby that looks as fashionable as possible, but also reflects your business.

Step 4: Shop For Value

Shopping for Deals

Next on the agenda is the shopping. Hopefully, if you already have your furniture picked out, you're aware of the price. Still, that's no reason not to look for discounts! Most furniture dealers get their product from manufacturers, and they vie with each other to sell at the best prices. Sofas and leather lobby chairs for guests can get expensive. However, if the desired furniture is online, try using tools like shopping engines and price comparisons if the site offers them to see if you can get a deal. Subscribe to newsletters for sales and updates on other cool furniture your lobby could benefit from. Call dealers and see which one is willing to give you the best price. Chances are, the might be willing to go lower than what their asking for over the phone in order to get the sale. Try Google searching for coupons, discounts, clearance, and sales. If you snoop around a bit, there's a good chance you'll get the same furniture or a stylish alternative at a fraction of the cost!

Step 5: Receiving and Installation

Furniture Transport

Aright, now you're in the final stretch! Receiving and installation can be a big pain, but not if there are a bunch of hands around to help. The first thing you need to know about this process is when the furniture will arrive. If business is already up and running, and this lobby decoration is just an office makeover, knowing when the furniture will come is crucial. An environment where doors are left open because burly furniture installers are carrying sofas in and out isn't fun for anyone, especially clientele. After you purchase the furniture, make sure you get a tracking number to monitor the furniture's progress. Also be sure to go ahead and call the dealer or the transport company to see if the deliverers will actually install the furniture as well. That way, you know when sell the old furniture, create a staging area, prep the lobby, and set up a temporary space for patrons in the meantime where they still have all the necessities they need to stay as comfortable as possible, and you also know if you need to round up some coworkers to help you install everything if the delivery service won't.

Step 6: Be Ready for Debris

Ready For Debris

This is a given. A surefire way to tell if the dealers you ordered from were working out of their basement is if the furniture arrives and isn't covered by boxes or plastics. Thankfully, this almost never occurs, but you do want to be prepared for the debris the installation process brings about. Guests don't like to look at trash any more than a business owner does, so getting it cleaned up right away is important. Have the brooms and vacuums ready to go once the installers leave, or if you have to unpack and install yourself, go ahead and keep all the unpacked furniture in the corner until your clean up the boxes and plastic coverings. This way, the floors are already cleaned up when you and your cohorts lay the furniture out.

Step 7: Enjoy Your Space!

Lobby Receptionist

Ah, finally! This one's pretty self explanatory. The hard work is over, and now you've got a brand new, stylish lobby to show for all your efforts. Take a moment to sit back and enjoy it!
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