We all know how important it is to ensure your reception area creates the right impression when a client or visitor first sets foot inside. And when you’re refurbishing or fitting out your office on a budget, it’s understandable that you have priorities – you’d be forgiven for thinking your investment will only stretch so far.
But when you concentrate only on your reception, where does this leave your meeting room? That’s the space that your client or visitor will go on to spend most of their time in. So when they sit down to ‘do business’, what will they think? Will that first impression quickly be forgotten?
It’s in the same meeting room that you’ll probably expect your employees to come up with some of their finest work. So are you doing all that you can to ensure the surroundings spark the best from your staff? Would you describe the room as inspirational? Or does it, quite simply, lack a bit of ‘life’?
If these questions are leaving you a little concerned about the meeting space you have to offer, don’t worry. You may be surprised to know that it’s possible to make a basic meeting room brilliant, on a budget.
Here are 7 quick and easy tips to explain how:
You don’t need to have the surroundings of Google or Facebook’s HQ to make an impact. Consider a splash of colour on the walls and think carefully about the effect that your chosen hue will have. Orange is great for high energy meetings for example, blue instils tranquillity and trust, whilst white boost creativity, especially when enhanced by lots of natural light (inc.com).
Give glass a go
It’s stylish, it gives the impression of open space and it lets in natural light. Glass can be a fantastic choice for your meeting room walls, and if you need to section off space, glass partitions can be installed quickly and easy to create a new meeting hub.
If privacy is a concern, incorporate a manifestation or degree of opacity into the glass design, or why not consider a screen?
Install a focal point
Whether you want a meeting room table with wow factor or a feature wall that creates a real talking point, try to introduce a focal element that indicates your space was carefully thought through, rather than carelessly thrown together.
Magnetic walls, white board/chalk board paint, vibrant vinyl or branded wallpaper will all attract people’s attention. If you’d rather the office furniture itself stands out, invest a little more of your budget in a statement table. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a traditional, solid cherry wood table or an ultra-modern white table with sleek clean lines, there’s a piece to suit all styles and tastes (not to mention budgets!)
Be flexible with furniture
If the space is likely to play host to different types of meetings, make sure this one room can adapt to suit your varied requirements. This may mean you need to think beyond the basic boardroom table and chairs, but you don’t have to blow your budget. Did you know, for example, that office furniture can be really modular, with foldable, flexible and adjustable tables that can be extended and/or packed away according to the size and purpose of your gathering. The same goes for chairs – they can stack, collapse and hide away to ensure a small pow-wow isn’t spoilt by over-powering furniture that’s better suited to an AGM!
Readers of Malcolm Bird’s book The Complete Guide To Business And Sales Presentations will know that uncomfortable seating can pose a huge distraction. So, if concentration levels matter in your meeting room – and we’re pretty sure they will – think carefully about the chairs you choose. Some organisations will go so far as to opt for ergonomic chairs for maximum support, but if this is a step too far for you, at least think about whether the chairs are comfortable enough to prevent fidgeting. If you’re not sure, try them out! That way, you’ll ensure your money is going to be well spent!
Be true to your brand
By all means turn to the internet for meeting room design inspiration, but remain true to your brand, your organisational culture and what you want to be renowned for. If your company is renowned for being vibrant, fresh and fun, then your meeting room can be equally as energetic. But if your brand is built on deep-rooted values and heritage, you may be better opting for a more traditional, corporate and/or neutral theme. Thinking carefully about this from the outset will help to ensure you’re happy with the look and feel long into the future (thus protecting your investment!)
Boost productivity with plants
Plants won’t just inject a touch of nature into your space. They’re also scientifically proven to destress, heighten concentration and boost productivity (University of Exeter). So, from simple replicas to carefully cultivated living displays, spare a tiny bit of budget for some interior greenery.
So now what? You’ve digested our office furniture and interior fit out advice, but where do you go from here? Why not use our 7 tips as a handy checklist that will guide you through what to do next? Or, for complete peace of mind and a hassle free project from this point onwards, talk to us about your needs – and your budget – and we’ll take care of everything for you. Whether you’re looking for that statement boardroom table, the perfect meeting room chair, a lick of paint or a bit of design inspiration, there’s only one number you need to call – 0333 323 1949.