Interior design – 10 top tips

Kirsty Hague shares some top tips to help begin your interior design process, to achieve aesthetic, practical and ergonomic results.  

When it comes to the interior design of a practice, whether that be a refurbishment or starting from scratch, the team member in charge tends to fall into one of two camps:

  1. They have a vision but don’t know how to bring it to fruition
  2. They have no vision, don’t know where to start and need complete guidance.

Either way, there are some top tips that we at Hague Dental have developed that can help make that change happen, in an aesthetic, practical and ergonomic manner that also meets any legislative requirements.

1. Pinning down your vision is the place to go to start creating the look of the practice. There are many aspects to this, from paint colours to feature walls, types of flooring, getting the lighting right, furniture that is ergonomic and attractive, the list goes on…

I suggest making yourself a coffee and setting aside some time to have an enjoyable scroll through what’s featured on there. It really is a cornucopia of ideas and shows how things can fit together.

You can then save the ideas you like free of charge, so you can visually discover what you like and put it all in one place to get an overview and start to whittle down.

It’s also worth visiting, where there are some very inspiring interior design images of practices.

2. Imagine the patient experience

How do you want your patients to experience their journey within the practice and how do you want that to work for the team? From arriving on site to sitting in the dental chair and everything in between, the patient journey reflects your philosophy and their satisfaction.

An environment that does not appear to be clean, modern, up to date, or warm and welcoming will have an immediate negative impact (Gaughran, 2017), so you really need to get this right.

If you think you are too close to it, ask a trusted friend or relative who you know will tell you the truth. Once you have that constructive criticism, you can take steps to improve the situation during your interior design process.

3. Budget for design

At Hague, we have noticed that very few people put aside a budget for interior design.

Builders will quote for building work basics, very often excluding the costs of the interior niceties, and when realisation dawns it can make or break a project.

So, for example, if you want more than basic sanitary wear or a feature wall, make sure your initial budget reflects that and your building team knows what is expected of them.

Interior design – 10 top tips

4. Don’t go off-brand

Think about whether you want to stick with your current branding or are ready to make a change. Branding and interior design are not separate entities – they should flow and build a cohesive image.

Synergising these two aspects helps to reinforce the business’ ethos, build recognition among your patient base, and improve the overall experience.

In many ways, good branding offers a snapshot of your human side, which is subconsciously very important in building rapport.

5. Consider timelines from the outset

Timelines are great but, realistically, they are often subject to change. One of the main reasons for this is down to interior design choices being made too late in the process.

Manufacturers need time to make items to your specifications; if you want your dream to become a reality, no-one is going to have exactly what you want in stock for next-day delivery!

So, consider your choices from the outset, make a decision as soon as you can and put that order in without delay.

6. Choosing from a website is not ideal

There is only so much you can learn from a website, no matter how detailed the description or how wonderful the reviews. If you can, I highly recommend you visit a showroom with as wide a range of options on view as possible before you part with your money.

For example, we have the UK’s largest showroom near Gatwick, available for your viewing. We hold stock for a wide portfolio of products, many situated in carefully created interior design environments.

Visit our showrooms at your convenience, including evenings and weekends, and let our team give you the confidence that you are making an informed choice.

7. Project management requires synergy

Often, interior designers create concepts that may look beautiful, but they don’t work ergonomically or practically.

For example, I recently visited a high-end practice whose team was looking to restyle their reception. They had over 20 boxes of files scattered all round the reception area and had a quote for a brand-new reception desk, storage and furniture for just £15k. T

his included a very standard-looking lockable storage unit that would never have fitted all the files they had currently, let alone having room for more in the future.

Although they had told me that the last patient had just been given a bill for £50k, in the end I had to bow out gracefully as they wouldn’t raise the budget for the bespoke storage I was suggesting.

So, work out what you can get rid of first (most practices gather a lot of unnecessary clutter). Then ensure your reception team has a comfortable area to work in (or chances are they won’t stay or they will be off with back issues).

Make sure everything they need is to hand with minimal twisting and turning, and you provide enough storage to ensure your practice reception looks clean and calm.

8. 3D visuals are a winner

You might think you know exactly what you want, but our experience is that when we create 3D models for our clients, they often realise that what they had in mind does not come up to scratch.

Our in-house Interior Design and CAD teams work with clients to help then choose the right solution for their space.

We help clients select the size, shape and style of furniture that’s right for them, taking into account not only the dimensions of the room itself, but the number of team members (for everyday use and future use), any brand and a current style that they have or would like and, of course, the price.

We can incorporate practice logos, lighting, iPad holders, and any feature walls or display areas. We’ve even incorporated fish tanks, fridges and drinks areas to create stunning and engaging pieces of sophisticated furniture.

With 3D, the possibilities are endless and can help ensure clients get exactly what they want in the real world.

9. Loop in guidelines and legislation

Consider all relevant guidelines and legislation during your interior design process. This includes building regulations, bathroom facilities that meet Disability Discrimination Act requirements, Care Quality Commission expectations, HTM 01-05 requirements…there is an exhaustive list but there isn’t room for it here!

Expert guidance is key, so do engage the services of people who know dentistry inside and out.

10. Make green, ethical, sustainable choices

There is no way you should embark on an interior design project in this day and age without considering the possible environmental impact.

All of us need to make green, ethical and sustainable choices to secure the future in general and, frankly, if we want to secure the repeat business of younger generations, for whom this is implanted in their psyche.

Some suggestions for greener options include buying ethically sourced furniture, switching to LED lights to reduce energy consumption, and choosing eco-friendly paint brands (some traditional paints contain plastics, for example).

Let us help you realise your dream

I know that’s a lot of information, but you need not go on this journey alone. We at Hague Dental would love to go on it with you.

So, for further information on how we can help you create your ideal practice and keep it that way long into the future, please visit, email [email protected] or call 0800 298 5003.

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