Who Likes to Wait? Designing Waiting Rooms for Patients

Who Likes to Wait? Designing Waiting Rooms for Patients

Waiting rooms in hospitals can be frustrating and often stressful. You approach the front desk after entering the waiting area and inform the nurse that you are there for an appointment. You are then asked to remain in the room until you called.

Or could be in the emergency room, where the triage nurse evaluates you before telling you to wait until your name is called again. As we all wait for the moment to be called, we all watch that clock tick.

A wide array of emotions are bottled up inside that space. Some are annoyed, some extremely worried, and others feel uneasy and ill.


Because of this, it's crucial to design waiting areas that encourage relaxation and put visitors at ease.

The furniture you choose makes a difference. Many waiting rooms are similar, with chairs arranged in a row where patients often feel uncomfortable sitting beside someone they don’t know! Try designing waiting areas with soft seats, perhaps chairs around a table for families, a stress-relieving quiet space, and a kid-friendly area to keep the younger patients occupied. Modular furnishings also contribute to the room's flexibility, making it simpler to adjust should needs change.


Think about the surroundings. Create an inviting space and choose colours and patterns that are calming and soothing to avoid anything that is overly stimulating or distracting. Cleanability is vital in healthcare spaces, so all finishes must be easily cleanable, durable, and long-lasting. Waiting rooms can be noisy and chaotic, which can be stressful for patients. Try adding acoustical items or sound-absorbing materials to the space to dampen noise while enhancing its aesthetic appeal.

The level of anxiety that patients and their families experience while waiting to be seen can be greatly reduced by properly designing waiting areas.

Are you remodeling your current space or creating a new waiting area? Call us; we'd be happy to assist you with the planning!


Ena Kenny, Stantec. "5 ways to make healthcare waiting rooms more functional and comfortable." (n.d.). https://www.stantec.com/en/ideas/five-ways-to-make-healthcare-waiting-rooms-more-functional-and-comfortable

SHAHNAZ Interiors. https://shahnazhealthcare.com/2020/09/09/how-to-make-medical-waiting-rooms-more-welcoming/. 9 September 2020.

Jukeboxy. How to Design the Perfect Atmosphere for Your Healthcare Waiting Room? (2021).https://www.jukeboxy.com/blog/design-the-perfect-atmosphere-for-healthcare-waiting-room#:~:text=They%20are%20the%20first%20place,ultimately%20feels%20about%20the%20treatment.


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