Generally, the elements expected in a reception area are :

  • A reception desk adapted to the needs of the organisation.
  • A comfortable and ergonomic office chair for the receptionist(s).
  • Chairs for guests and visitors.
  • A coffee table to hold books/magazines or to provide a surface for visitors’ personal belongings.

By including the above elements, you will be well on your way to creating a functional reception. But why stop there? Check out our tips for a pleasant and modern reception area.

1. The 3 key points of a successful reception area design

A well thought-out layout

This is a high-traffic area and should be kept clear so that visitors are not crowding each other. The reception area should ideally face the front door and have sufficient storage space for deliveries and supplies.


Floors and furniture should be able to withstand frequent use and be stain resistant. Use welcome mats in winter and ask your furniture consultant about stain-resistant options for your furniture.


Lighting depends on the aesthetic you are trying to achieve, but reception areas should be welcoming without being too bright.  Choose soft light bulbs that mimic daylight and give a natural feel to create a calming effect.

2. Fitting out a reception area: furniture


Your receptionist will be sitting there for almost 8 hours a day. So choose an ergonomic chair. The reception area will also need chairs for visitors. Choose chairs that are attractive and comfortable, but make sure they are sturdy and easy to clean. Many people will sit on these chairs every day, so they should be easy to maintain.

The reception desk

Your reception desk is a focal point of your office and can play a vital role in the first impression customers and visitors make of your business. Here are some things to consider when buying a reception desk:

  • Materials: Reception desks are available in a variety of materials, including solid wood, laminate, fabric and metal. Wood and laminate desks with a stained wood finish tend to have a more traditional look, while fabric, metal or solid coloured laminate panels can have a more modern look.
  • Shape and size: The shape and size of your reception desk also influences its overall appearance. An oversized desk can look imposing, while one that is too small can be disappointing. Reception desks are also available in a variety of shapes. Most desks are rectangular, but you can also find flowing shapes with a more unusual and contemporary look.
  • Design details: In addition to the shape, size and materials used to make a reception desk, other design details affect its aesthetic. For example, a desk with architectural mouldings will look more ornate, while a desk with clean lines and smooth surfaces will be more streamlined and minimalist. You can also find desks with metal trim or floating glass transaction tops, which add visual interest.

It is not just a showcase for your company: it is a workstation in its own right and should be designed as such.

Like regular desks, reception desks offer many features and storage solutions to meet your needs. For example:

Behind the desk

  • Built-in racks, drawers and storage cabinets
  • Pre-drilled holes for wires and cords
  • Power outlets at desk level for equipment such as computers and printers
  • Large work surface at desk level
  • Pull-out drawers for keyboard and monitor platform
  • Space for a panic button

In front of the desk

  • Large front counter overhang
  • Under-counter lighting
  • Metal reinforcement at the feet to prevent bumps and scratches from shoes and unintentional kicking.

Some examples of Motilde achievements:

3. Designing a reception area: technology

A small revolution in the hospitality industry: new technologies are now part of everyday life. Interactive terminals that allow you to make video calls to the host in the company, meeting room reservation systems, visitor registration: the possibilities are numerous and the digitisation of reception is only just beginning.

In addition, access control – or even a camera that detects the temperature of people entering – can be part of the layout of the reception area.

Although appreciated by visitors, these tools are not just window dressing. They often increase the productivity of the administrative staff, but also of the rest of the team.

Digital signage solutions

Digital signage is a communication tool that allows all kinds of information (films, photos, Flash animations, PowerPoint presentations, files, web pages, RSS feeds or streaming) to be displayed on a screen or on a video wall. The information broadcast can be controlled remotely, instantly or at a later time, globally or differentiated.

The reception area is a key place in companies, through which visitors, suppliers and employees pass. Use this space to communicate about your organisation, your brands or products, your staff or simply the weather or the day’s agenda.

Interactive kiosks

Kiosks are a type of self-service technology that allow users to perform a variety of functions by simply interacting with the screen. They can be used in many ways – including as your company’s receptionist – and are ideal for busy offices.

The visitor connects by audio or video with his host to inform him of his arrival. A kiosk loaded with a VMS can, for example, host visitor management software.

Visitor management software

Many companies are in the habit of keeping a record of who is on their premises at any given time (to comply with safety regulations, to improve emergency evacuation protocols or to protect their intellectual property).

The tools you use to register visitors are the final piece of the puzzle for a pleasant and forward-looking reception area.
A paper registration book sends the message that your business is traditional, even old-fashioned. It is generally accepted that electronic solutions are more secure, less error-prone and more confidential. Want your business to look modern? It’s time to go digital.

Are you looking to fit out or modernise your reception area? The easiest way is to call on an expert who will be able to advise you according to your current and future needs. From the design to the integration of technologies, including the manufacture of furniture, Motilde will accompany you in your project. Contact us for a personalised quote!

FAQ – The layout of reception areas

What are the features of visitor management software?

How to improve the acoustics of a reception area?

Where to put the reception desk?

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