Designing Your Office? Ask the Experts at Form & Function

Your space says a lot about who you are as a healthcare provider, and a well-designed office can convey your unique personality while also signaling to patients that you are trustworthy and professional. SmileMakers knows that pediatric healthcare spaces require even more attention to detail to make a practice appealing to both parents and children. Deborah Wiswesser, owner and designer of Form & Function Interior Design, explains the importance of process and consulting the professionals:

Designing Your Office? Ask the Experts at Form & Function

Q. Describe your creative process?
A. When designing an office, the first step is to have a long conversation with the client to discuss their design aspirations. This includes their branding and the kind of environment they want to create for their practice. The design of an office has a direct impact on a patient's state of mind. Is it welcoming? Does it exude professionalism? Your space can say a lot about you as a doctor and is often a major factor in the decision-making process to proceed with a treatment or put it off.

Q. Do you use a different approach for existing practices than for new practices?
A. For the most part the creative workflow starts the same for existing and startup practices; I consult with the doctor to see what they envision for the future of their space. When working with established practices, the doctors usually know what has and hasn't worked for their practice and taking in that feedback is very important. I try and build on these notes and create a space in which their practice functions the way they need it to. My job is to balance vision with practicality, and create a space where a doctor can focus on their job and their patients and know their office is helping them reach their goals.

Q. What do you consider when making recommendations to update or redesign an existing space?
A. I consider the space and integrate some of the pieces or parts of the office that they want to keep. Repetition in design is something I try to avoid, and so I think of each office as its own encapsulated project. This allows me to design unique offices that fit the doctor's personality and vision.

Q. What are some common mistakes that doctors should avoid when trying to design, redesign or simply decorate their office?
A. The number one mistake is not consulting a design professional that has expertise in the medical industry. There's a lot of nuance that can go into the message a doctor sends to their clientele with their space and you really want to make sure you're setting the tone you want for your patients.

The design team must also understand all of the latest equipment, design regulations, practice-specific needs and medical delivery trends, and have an in-depth understanding of your practice's operational functionality.

Q. What are some examples of classic design? What are the trends? How do you differentiate?
A. Design trends vary with time, of course. But right now casual spaces are very "in". Professionalism is very important, but that can be achieved while making a space welcoming. You want your patients to feel your office is a place they want to come back to. Layering textures is also big these days and, of course, the hot trend right now is bronze.

Designing Your Office? Ask the Experts at Form & Function

Q. What inspired the space-themed office?
A. The space themed office was inspired by the doctor's love of Sci-Fi and his collections of memorabilia. His passion helped inform the decisions for the office design and he was very much involved in every step of the project.

Q. What was your favorite or most inspiring pediatric office?
A. Now that's an answer I can't give you. Every office I design is unique and I become attached to them all. I love my job and I love the spaces I design, I couldn't possibly commit to just one.

Q. What are 3 easy things that a doctor could do right now to upgrade their space?
A. There are a few things doctors can do to help spruce up their offices that seem obvious, but are often things no one considers:

  1. Clean it up!
    It's easy to be blind to clutter when you spend most of your time in your office, but your patients won't. Old magazines, unorganized front desks and lobbies in disarray are some of the first things a patient notices when they walk in the door. They can be easily remedied with a bit of extra work at the end of the week.
  2. Try a fresh coat of paint
    Clean the marks and scuffs on your walls with a magic easier or fresh coat of paint. Wear and tear on a space is natural, but a new paint job and clean environment projects an air of professionalism that patients trust.
  3. Change up your artwork
    Most people are used to the consistency of paintings or other pieces at museums, but that kind of standard requires a lot of maintenance that the rest of us just don't have time for. Photographs, prints, and reproductions fade with time and you don't realize how much life you can lose from a space without those spots of color! Consider investing in some new pieces. SmileMakers, for instance, has custom murals that are perfect for sprucing up pediatric offices.
Designing Your Office? Ask the Experts at Form & Function Silly Space Wall Mural available from SmileMakers. Customizable and scalable for any size wall.

Looking for more ways to spruce up the office?
SmileMakers decor can enhance any office space. Try our seasonal decor for the upcoming holidays!