First impressions are everything. The overall design, look, and usability of your lobby, whether in your newly opened office, business center, or hotel, sets the tone for any first-time visitor. If your lobby layout fails to impress, it will not be the welcoming place that you envisioned. So, what can you do to make your lobby more welcoming to guests?
Of course, you want to ensure it conveys your brand message and appeal while also outlining the kind of experience guests should expect. To help you achieve this, here are 10 essential design elements for a great lobby layout to get you started.
Find all the tips from DSCENE’s contributing architecture and interior design writer:
1. Professional Lobby Signs
It’s always possible to contribute to the good mood of the company or premise area with smartly designed and installed lobby signs. A beautifully-designed custom front sign for your business or hotel tailored to your exact requirements is a must-have, since it is the first thing that guests will see when they visit your business. It’s easy to get professional lobby signs customized for your lobby, with a little research and planning.
Go ahead and transform your lobby’s look with stunning signage that creates the type of brand presence you need while also establishing a professional or relaxed atmosphere depending on your overall design goals. You can opt for informative lobby signs, decorative lobby signs, or illuminated lobby signs depending on your preferences.
2. Consider Scale
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues worldwide, with increasing hope for a return to normality soon, one thing stands out: behavioral change post-pandemic. People are not spending more time in communal areas such as lobbies unless they’re well socially distanced. Over the years, lobbies have increased in size to accommodate more people, amenities, and revenue opportunities.
Think of shops, cafes, and pop-up restaurants for business centers and chill spots in hotel lobbies that appeal to the millennial guest or traveler. As we shift towards a more cautious future, in terms of how guests use recreational spaces, it’s essential to think of your lobby design scale while accommodating the changing times.
3. Balanced Design Strategy
When you think of scale, what typically comes to mind is the design strategy you have for your lobby space. Considering that the lobby is perhaps the busiest place in a business center, office, or hotel, the design strategy must have the visitors, employees, or guests’ needs front of mind. It must provide a perfect balance between form and function.
The lobby isn’t just a place for guests to relax, but can also be a working space for employees or guests doing various tasks. It can be the perfect spot for informal business meetings and check-ins. Your design strategy should make your lobby the ultimate multifunctional space with a versatile layout that’s stylish and can accommodate different requirements.
4. Dedicated Zones
While most lobbies acted as entries into buildings, they’ve also become increasingly versatile in terms of accessibility. Today, you’ll find sophisticated lobbies where visitors enjoy a more exclusive experience. The key to achieving this is to create dedicated zones to cater to specific needs. Think about separating more remote work-friendly zones from the casual, fun and relaxing zones.
There’s a shift from the typical front-desk-type lobby to more multifunctional lobbies used as co-working spaces, casual dining spots, meeting spots, and even open-plan entertainment areas. When designing your lobby, zoning should be a critical aspect of your space layout. Opt for smart and strategic placement of furniture and other user-friendly elements as well.
5. Set the Tone for Your Brand
One of the most critical design elements is about creating a lasting impression. By creating a space for visitors and guests to interact with your brand, you are setting up the expectation about the experience they will have at your establishment. That means every detail should be carefully chosen: from the colors you use, the finishing touches, the decor choices, and even the lobby’s scent.
You’ll want to evoke a sense of warmth and a welcoming feeling in your space. The design should also have a clean and stylish look that appeals to the eye. Do you want a luxurious look or a more relaxed casual look? Whatever experience you want to create, ensure it blends in with your brand outlook and guest or visitor expectations.
6. Proper Lighting
The type of lighting you have in your lobby will significantly impact the visitor’s emotional response. Of course, you want an impressive design with lots of natural light and balanced lighting source options. You don’t want to create lighting that’s too bright, as it may create an uninviting effect; nor do you want to go too dark, as it creates a dingy feeling in your space.
Stick to one lighting theme that makes the entire lobby stand out. For working spaces within the lobby, opt for practical task lighting solutions that don’t cause glare on PCs, tablets, or smartphone screens. For the social areas in your lobby, opt for ambient lighting that encourages visitors and guests to relax and enjoy the environment. Decide on the right lighting scheme early on in your lobby design process.
7. Design Style and Furnishings
While your design style will be the most impressive part of your lobby, remember that your furnishing options will make or break your space’s functionality. So, consider the furnishings specifically for each zone you create. For social areas where visitors relax, opt for high-quality, luxurious furniture that is soft and inviting. For co-working spaces within the lobby, choose ergonomically designed chairs and desks to ensure maximum comfort.
Each furniture piece you choose should enhance the overall style and functionality of the lobby. Considering that today’s lobbies are focusing more on multifunctionality, your furnishings should also encourage collaboration. That means choosing the right style of seating to promote group gatherings and functional eat/live/work inspired spaces.
8. Service Delivery and Operational Efficiency
The COVID-19 pandemic has taught us that people are changing their approach toward service delivery and day-to-day operations. People have shifted their mindsets as technology takes center stage in almost every area of our lives. Each business center, hotel, reception, or property planning to design a lobby must achieve maximum service and operational efficiency.
For instance, ask yourself if guests will continue to want all face-to-face interactions, or if it’s time to shift to an online or app-based check-in process using key cards to ease their worries amid the pandemic. Is the front desk in your lobby still relevant, or will touch-screen technology at strategic points provide guests a more hands-on approach when it comes to catering to their needs? Or, perhaps a hybrid model will work best.
It’s time to approach service delivery and operations differently. Perhaps, giving your guests more choices in tailoring their experiences to suit their needs is what they’ve wished for all along. Technology will help you achieve this, so consider your options carefully.
9. Nature-Themed Decor Elements
Today, people are more conscious of their surroundings and more often, people are embracing design choices that harness the power of nature. That means taking full advantage of any natural light in your design strategy, using sustainable building materials, highlighting natural elements, and incorporating biophilic elements into your decor choices and artwork.
The more you are able to create a nature-inspired oasis, the better. You can include a canopy of greenery or ivy creepers on your exterior brick walls to strike a balance between modern city living and the tranquility of the natural world. Your goal is to embrace sustainability and environmental awareness in your lobby design strategy. It always pays off.
10. Interactive Entertainment
Any stylish lobby is not complete without including some form of interactive entertainment. Whether it’s in the form of music, ambient sounds, or other fun and entertaining options, guests and visitors will appreciate having interesting options that align with their needs. For instance, a hotel lobby with a gently bubbling water feature puts guests’ minds at ease.
Installing large screens showing the latest news and stock market fluctuations is a good idea for a business center. For lobbies where families come with children, interactive technology and play areas are a welcome idea to ensure smooth check-ins. Think of other unique ways you can offer your visitors or guests what they need, and implement them.
Go Ahead and Design Your Lobby
With these 10 design elements, you can transform your space into a branded environment that tells your story while providing a tailored experience to every visitor, guest, or worker who walks through the doors. Implement these tips to reimagine or renovate your lobby.