The Art of Waiting

A few months ago, after sitting in my third doctor’s office of the day, I sent a couple of tweets that went as follows:

Screen shot 2013-07-10 at 8.38.06 AM


One of my next-in-line projects is a medical waiting room.  I don’t do many commercial projects since my heart is in the home, but seriously, have you ever looked around in a waiting room?  They are mostly terrible.  They feel so sterile and cold, and I had a hard time thinking of one that I liked.  Unless you think of spa waiting rooms…they are usually pretty and relaxing and soothing.  So why can’t that feel transfer to a medical waiting room?

I mean, most waiting rooms look like this, right?


Ug-ly.  Where is the imagination?  The comfort?  I did manage to find a few spaces online that looked like pleasant waiting rooms.  I may not love everything about them, but they are a vast improvement from above.






A little too posh maybe?  ha.



Granted, many of the rooms above look a bit too manufactured for me.  A comfortable space that feels good and is interesting to look at is always a formula mixing old and new.  Is it possible to do this in a functional waiting room that is going have a good share of wear and tear and people in and out?  Is it possible to make a waiting room look like this?



Okay, maybe that is a stretch.  But I am up to the challenge.  The challenge of making a waiting room feel good and nice and comforting.  Especially since most of the time, people are nervous about going to the doctor.  A smile at the front desk and a soothing space can go a long way, am I right?

What do you think?  I am curious to hear your thoughts on what makes a good waiting room experience.  What would YOU like to see in a waiting room?  Are there any waiting rooms you have been in that you loved?  What was it about them that you liked or appreciated?  I’m all ears!

Written by Grace

5 Responses to “The Art of Waiting”

  1. Jesse May July 10, 2013 at 10:53 am #

    The most pleasant waiting rooms I’ve visited had soothing water features, calming instrumental music, fireplaces, live plants, bookshelves stocked with informative books (not just magazines!)and little water or coffee stations. Not one waiting room had ALL these features, but they were enjoyable in each place.

    • Grace July 11, 2013 at 11:37 am #

      Great ideas, Jesse! I, too, love the fireplace aspect (and the others), but my favorite suggestion of yours is the books! Yes!!! And a little water station is a terrific idea, especially with the heat in Texas. Thank you so much for taking the time to comment!

  2. Lisa T July 10, 2013 at 5:03 pm #

    The only waiting room I’ve ever had a “pleasant thought” about was at an oral surgeons office in CO. Wood floors, comfy chairs, (no akward sharing on a love seat) tons of various reading material, an open coat closet with wooden hangers, a mini fridge stocked with water, the receptionist at an “open air” desk-( no sliding glass window thingy) and nice music playing…. Made my root canal so much less stressful!

    • Grace July 11, 2013 at 11:39 am #

      Ya know, I had not thought of the “awkward loveseat” thing, but that makes sense! Nice music and GOOD reading materials are key!! Thank you so much, Lisa! I’m writing all of this down!

  3. KR July 11, 2013 at 4:03 pm #

    I used to design MOB spaces when I worked at an architectural firm and the designs are usually a bit limited b/c of ADA and building code requirements. The industry has come a long way but still lacking due to the health and safety issues of patients in the waiting rooms. Good luck!

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