Last week I showed you a picture of a treatment room I carefully designed in my CAD program, and asked you what the bleep was wrong with it.
Before I show you the same exact treatment room designed with all kinds of love (don’t scroll down yet), I wanted to take a moment to thank those of you who sent me your hilarious and ah..mazing and did I mention totally right on answers.
You rocked it.👏🏽
Here are some of your answers to the question: What the bleep is wrong with this treatment room? 👇
Wow. You crafted a sickening room. Well done.
I’m imagining walking into that room as client. My whole body feels bristly and kind of on edge. Here are some things that don’t work for me. One. Bright yellow, almost garish, walls; two, worsened by overhead radiation lamp, I mean bare fluorescent lighting. Three, Stark poster-charts. Different heights on walls? Not softened with frames. Staring at me. Probably taunting me. Four, stark brown bench, the corner which is aiming at my head. Five. Metal cabinet looming. And well, six. Looks like my head will face the back wall instead of out toward the doorway. Trapped!
Where do I even begin?? Let’s start with the overall impression. This room looks less like a healing space than like a room where “enhanced interrogation” takes place. It’s the kinda place where I would be inclined to confess to crimes I hadn’t committed, all the while sobbing and begging to be released to my family.
Oh my goodness, I’m laughing!
EVERYTHING is wrong with that room!
• ceiling tiles & color
• wall paint color
• what’s hanging on the wall
1. Too many square/ rectangle shapes. Needs more circles.
2. The lighting is very harsh and would be directly over the patients eyes.
3. The paint color isn’t soft or welcoming.
What’s wrong with this room? The color is energizing and if you are already anxious, can exacerbate it. The anatomy picture on the wall- too clinical, the table in the middle puts the focus on the procedure. The position of the bench makes it feel cramped as does the cabinet. Can’t wait to see how you will do this differently.
The lighting might make one feel like a specimen instead of a person. The anatomical pictures are well-meaning, but are anxiety-provoking. Seating does not appear comfortable. Exam table looks like it’s gonna hurt being up there!
–MD One Internal Medicine Associates
Once again, here’s the before pic (just in case you already put it out of your mind and forgot what it looked like)👇
And here’s that same treatment room, which is a standard size exam room, measuring at 9′ x 11′ x 9′ (ceiling height).
That’s 99 square feet to love on. 😻
In other words, there’s so much you can do with a tiny, windowless treatment room to make it feel deeply restorative, leaving your clients wanting to come back for more love from you.
Check it out 👇
Okay, so what changed?
👉 1. New paint color. Not just any new paint color; a soothing wall color that one of my current favs, Whythe Blue by Benjamin Moore Paints.
This color helps to relax the nervous system. It is a cooler tone that compliments the brownish carpet and the warm colors in the artwork for a perfect warm/cool combination.
This alone is a huge improvement over the yellow walls which, as many of you pointed out in your answers, can and do make people feel anxious, irritable and agitated.
Babies cry more in yellow rooms. Need I say more?
Cost of new paint: $120 for 2 gallons of low VOC Ben Moore paint.
* Please note: I also painted the ceiling tiles the same color.
Whah, huh? Paint the ceiling tiles, you crazy?
No I’m not crazy and YES, you can paint your acoustic ceiling tiles.
Many of my clients have done this and love it! If you don’t own the building, please make sure to get your landlord/lady’s permission before doing this.
👉 2. New artwork. I took down those anatomical posters that don’t do much to help your people heal. Those posters oftentimes make your peeps feel overwhelmed and way too in their head.
Those posters can contribute to a clinical environment, not a nurturing one.
The beautiful nature images were free on Unsplash.com, which is an amazing resource for high resolution artwork that you can send to your favorite printer.
In this room, the art was printed on acrylic prints which is a process that many professional photo printers offer.
Acrylic prints are 1/4″ sheet of plexiglass infused over the print. It is cleanable and sanitize-able and looks absolutely stunning. 💃🏽
These prints are oversized at about 3 to 4 feet on the long edge. I always recommend going with larger prints because they make a much more powerful impact on the viewer than smaller prints do.
In this case, you and your clients and patients get to immerse yourselves in the restorative scenes while getting a treatment or sitting in conversation with you.
And finally, these types of images can take the place of windows (in windowless rooms), connecting the outdoors with the indoor space and making the room feel more expansive. A win win for everyone. 👏🏽
👉 3. Lighting. Lots to say here.
My clients who lease or rent small treatment rooms often say they can’t replace the overhead fluorescent lights, so I simply recommend to keep them off.
They are off in this room, and a floor lamp, table lamp and salt lamp were brought in instead.
This “layering” of lighting effect is the secret sauce to keeping things cozy and warm in a space.
Plus there’s enough light for everyone. Generally speaking, in a room this size, this lighting is plenty, unless you are a specialist and need a specific task light for your expertise.
👉 4. That big medicine cabinet was removed. Thank goodness right? 😅
Tall cabinets next to an treatment room table can make people feel overwhelmed and claustrophobic.
That’s a terrible combination for someone laying down on a table and feeling vulnerable regardless of what type of medicine you are offering.
After I removed the big medicine cabinet, I scooched the treatment room table over a bit, closer to the wall where your patient can feel held by two beautiful images when she is horizontal on the table receiving a treatment from you.
You’ll notice a lower table, a buffet, actually works well on the other wall. It offers plenty of storage space inside the cabinet and on top of the buffet, you can offer your peeps water or tea or something else that makes them feel special.
👉 5. Instead of a single larger brown chair, I added two nice, small, gray upholstered dining room chairs from West Elm, which worked well here.
This creates a conversation or intake area where you and your person can talk first before you offer a treatment. (You can only see one chair in the image).
👉 6. Notice the shapes in the room. There’s more balance between the rectilinear shapes (i.e. squares and rectangular shapes) and the curves. This is another secret to designing a room that everyone loves. If you’ve been following me for awhile now, you know I love to talk about the power of shapes in a space. You can listen to this topic discussed on my podcast (episode #49) here:
👉 7. Finally, the warm and cooler colors in the room were balanced. In other words, there are plenty of cool and warm tones in the design elements that together make the room feel special, cozy and a place you and your guests would want to hang out in and return to over and over again. And yeah, that’s amazeballs for your business, right?
I hope you’ve enjoyed this week’s treatment room design lesson.
If you want to learn more about how to design your treatment room to create a premium experience for everyone, I’ve written two books about the subject. You can learn more about those books here:
And lastly, please tell me what you think about the new and improved treatment room.
What is the single most important thing that inspired you?
Send me a note here and share your thoughts.
Feel my squeeze,