Of all the different types of fitout we work on, dental clinic designs require the most careful consideration. Many of our dental fitout clients are acutely aware of the impact their design can have on the patient experience. They also appreciate that a thoughtfully designed dental clinic can help keep patients calm and minimise stress and anxiety.
Traditional dental clinic designs can feel very stark and usually feature minimal styling. They are designed around the basic requirements (reception, waiting area, consulting rooms) and give little thought to how the space feels. While functionality will always be important, a dental fitout can be both practical and comfortable.
Use colour to create a sense of calm
Soft, natural colours (like pale browns, greys, and greens) are extremely popular and the perfect choice for a dental fitout. They create a sense of calm and can help make the space seem lighter and airier. They also appear quite clean and crisp, without seeming stark or clinical.
For a higher-end look, consider incorporating materials like stone and wood into your dental clinic design. These natural textures feel warmer and more comfortable and can be particularly impactful in the reception and waiting areas. If your budget doesn’t allow for the real thing, a high-quality laminate could give you the same look and feel.
Colour can also be used to inject a little fun and personality into your dental fitout. A vibrant accent colour on a wall in your waiting room can make the space feel much more relaxed. Similarly, picking a statement colour for your dental chair can make your consulting room seem less intimidating.
Soften edges to reduce stress
There is a lot of (often conflicting) research on the psychology of straight lines and square corners. Some studies say that people find them structured and “reliable”, whereas others say that people prefer rounded forms. Either way, most research agrees on one thing – having some curvature in a design makes it seem more approachable.
This means that, by adding curves into your dental fitout, you could make the space more comfortable for your patients. You can do this through the shape of the walls, your seating, your reception desk, or even your lighting. When done right, including curves will also make your dental clinic design feel more bespoke and luxurious.
Leverage technology to engage, entertain, and distract
Most patients would probably tell you that the waiting is the worst part. If they are nervous about coming into your clinic, that anxiety can build as they sit in your waiting room. That’s why every good dental fitout should include features that distract them.
The days of simply providing a few (often out of date) magazines are long gone – instead, invest in a little entertainment technology. This could be as simple a one or two well placed TVs or as complex as interactive displays. Free Wi-Fi is also a must as it’s relatively cheap to offer and something your patients are sure to appreciate.
You should also consider how technology can be used to educate your clients. While the pamphlet rack still has its place, digital screens are more engaging and increase the visibility of important messaging. Interactive displays can also help patients find the information they need while gathering data about the topics of greatest interest.
Technology can also be used to streamline your booking and check in process. From self-check in screens to apps to manage communications, there are plenty of options available.
Keep lighting soft and natural
When designing your dental clinic, try to make the most of the available natural light. This will make the space seem less stark and should help your patients feel more at ease.
Your light fittings will also help set the mood. Instead of the traditional in-roof fluorescents, consider working softer downlights in warmer tones into your dental fitout. Statement pendants can also add an interesting design feature and help layer the light.
In your consulting rooms, you will obviously have specific lighting requirements, but this is usually built into your equipment. With that in mind, it is possible to optimise your lighting plan for patient comfort here too. Again, it’s best to preference natural light and make all other light sources layered and adjustable.
Don’t forget about your little ones!
If you have children that come into your dental clinic, your design needs to be considerate of their needs. Younger ones can be particularly prone to dentist induced anxiety and are often unable to regulate their response. Coming up with ways to inject fun into your dental fitout can help manage these emotions.
One of the easiest ways to do this is to create a separate play area for your youngest patients. This will provide a significant distraction while they wait and can give them something to look forward to. If space allows, separate this area from the rest of your waiting room to help the impact on other patients.
Need help planning your dental fitout?
At Cyclo, we understand how critical it is for a dental clinic design to be warm and welcoming. We are dental fitout specialists and have significant experience coming up with creative designs that are both functional and comfortable. Contact us today to discuss your design ideas and how we can bring them to life!