Suggestions to Spruce Up Your Dental Office | Practice Cafe
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Spruce Up Your Dental Office

A Make Over with
Bang for the Buck

Whether you recently purchased an established dental practice and you’re needing some ideas for a quick makeover, or you’re looking at your own older office and thinking it could use a pick-me-up, you’ve come to the right place!

Today’s dental offices are changing, and ambience is more important to patients than in the past. Updating your practice systems or energizing your team dynamics might (and likely will) take some months of effort and patience, but sprucing up the appearance of your office can be done in a weekend or two! Some dental practices spend a lot of money on remodeling and expensive purchases, which in some cases is needed, but most of the suggestions on this list can be accomplished on a minimal budget with pretty good bang for your buck.

While many of these suggestions focus on the lobby and front desk area, they can still be applied to other areas of your office, from the hallways to the operatories. Contact us if you’d like some recommendations tailored to your individual practice!

Service Descriptions

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Tips for Visually Updating
Your Dental Office

Animated paint bucket


In many lobbies, painting one wall to be an accent wall is enough. Before you commit to a color, consider getting a few sample sizes of varying shades so you can test and compare the paint colors in the actual light of the room. Unless your practice is pediatric or the style of your office decor is already rather vibrant, it’s usually smart to avoid going too bold with your color choice. You want it to be interesting and appealing without being overwhelming.

Animated chair


Ask yourself if you have enough seats and if they’re comfortable. Pretend like you’re a patient and sit in them yourself. Even if patients don’t wait long in your lobby, you want them to be comfy and at ease for whatever time they are sitting down. There’s a balance to be found between affordability, practicality, comfort, and style.

Animated art work


There’s no necessity for this to be spendy. IKEA has very reasonably priced canvases and framed prints, including large options that can fill a big, open wall with one piece. Stores like Burlington Coat Factory, HomeGoods, Kirkland’s, Marshalls, Ross, and T.J. Maxx, etc., are other options for gem finds at discounted prices. If you’ve redecorated your house and now have artwork without a home, will it work in your office? Most of the items on this list could be repurposed from home to your practice, if the styles mesh. You don’t need a large gallery wall in your lobby. Often one nice statement piece of art will do the trick, perhaps with a couple supporting items. Many patients also like to see a personal picture or two of the doctor(s).

Animated rug


Get an appropriately sized rug to fill your space. Warm and cozy touches can do wonders to offset the clinical feel of a dental practice that most people dislike. Again, IKEA has a range of textiles at affordable prices. Home improvement stores such as Lowe’s and Home Depot also have rugs, and discount websites like and have a wide variety of options for those who don’t mind not physically seeing a rug before buying it. If you order online, check the return policies beforehand. If you’d prefer something with more commercial-grade durability, we love FLOR carpet tiles and have some both at the office and at home!

Animated lamp


A side table with a lamp and/or a floor lamp in a corner can vastly improve the lighting in a dental office that has fluorescent lights. Keep practicality in mind when purchasing so you don’t get a fragile or unstable lamp. If the thought of more lights to turn on and off bothers you, there are devices that can be used to set multiple lamps to be turned on and off with one remote control or from an app on your smartphone.

Animated plant


If you have enough natural light, a low-maintenance houseplant or two can up the homeyness game of your office considerably. At many stores, plants will have a tag indicating how much light and water they need, i.e., how hard they are to kill. If natural light is limited in the areas where a plant would make sense, a nice fake plant can add the same general feeling.

Animated books

Reading Material

Patients, particularly parents or others who wait for a child’s or companion’s appointment, appreciate something to look at in the lobby. A few non-controversial magazine subscriptions kept neatly in a wall rack, table tray, or upright magazine file on a side table or the counter can do the trick. We also think a couple of nice “coffee table” books can add a classy feel.

Animated tea


A small refrigerator with small bottled waters, preferably a fridge with a see-through door, is a very nice gesture that patients appreciate even if they don’t take advantage of it. The difference sometimes really is in the details! If you want a more robust beverage station, a single-serve coffee brewing system such as Keurig can take things to the next level. You can use a combination of an inexpensive tray and small baskets to organize the disposable cups, coffee pods, tea bags, creamers, sweeteners, and stirrers, etc. We recommend including an herbal tea and/or hot chocolate option for non-coffee/tea drinkers. A bowl of breath mints never hurts either!

Animated kids toys

Kid Stuff

If you see enough children to make this worth it, a basket or attractive, durable bin with some kid books and quiet, easy-to-contain toys can be helpful for keeping kids occupied (and parents appreciative) while they wait. Board books are a great option for durability, and toys like Magna Doodle and Etch A Sketch are perfect for being used over and over again. Once again, don’t hesitate to repurpose books and toys from home that your children no longer use, as long as they’re in good condition. Consider a run to the dollar store to stock up for a kids’ “treasure chest” of prizes for post-appointment cheer. A sticker, small trinket, or sucker can make a child’s visit! If you have a dedicated kids’ area, a wall mounted TV that plays movies or shows make a parent’s day if they have small children and are brave enough to bring multiple kiddos in for a family-block appointment. Have fun with your kids’ area and consider establishing a mascot, such as a rocking horse or a large stuffed animal that you give a name and personality!

Animated music notes


If you don’t have a TV on in the lobby, background music such as soothing instrumental or ambient funky beats can help fill the silence in a helpful way, especially for anxious patients. If your office doesn’t have a built-in sound system, there are affordable small speaker options that play music from a computer or phone over WiFi. Assign the role of “DJ” to your trusted front desk staff so you don’t have to worry about it. Your team will likely enjoy being able to contribute to the atmosphere of your office in this additional way.

Animated megaphone


If you have the wall space for it, take advantage of the opportunity to dedicate an area of your lobby or hallway to promote your practice. Feature specific services in a rotation, promote discounts, spread the word about charity or other special events, etc. Have your office manager or other appropriate member of your team spend a little effort and time to sell your services and engage your patients. This area, preferably near your check-out counter, could also get decorated and refreshed for different holidays and seasons to catch patients’ attention while they’re standing there thinking about what a nice visit they had.

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