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Reception and Lounge Seating

Reception and Lounge Seating

If your office and business were a movie, your reception area is its trailer. The décor and furniture in it, including your reception chairs, are a crucial part in setting the tone in terms of what your visitors and potential clients can expect from you as a business. The reception area will make a first impression on your visitors long before you make that first handshake, and if it doesn’t reflect your brand and its standards, you’ll be starting off at a disadvantage.

Difference Between Office Chairs and Office Reception Seating

When people talk about office chairs, they’re mostly likely referring to task chairs. These chairs are generally used only by one person who does most of their work at a desk. As such, they tend to be built for prolonged use, with multiple adjustments that can be used to personalize the fit and comfort for individuals.

On the other hand, reception seating is meant to be used by multiple people throughout the day, for short periods at a time. Because they’re meant to reflect a company’s brand or reflect the personal tastes of the person in the office, and the people sitting in them wouldn’t be sitting for long periods, aesthetics tend to be more of a priority than comfort or adjustability.

Difference Between Guest and Reception Seating

Both guest and reception chairs are meant for temporary use by multiple people. As suggested in the name, these chairs aren’t usually dedicated for one person’s use.

While they’re often referred to interchangeably, guest chairs and reception chairs have slightly different functions. Guest office chairs tend to refer to seating used by visitors in a personal office, whereas reception seating tends to be found in the reception or waiting room of an organization. Guest office chairs only need to reflect the brands and needs of the person in the office, whereas reception office chairs reflect the brand of the whole company.

Guest office chairs may have wheels, so the office visitor can be mobile in case they need to move around to work with the person in the office, whereas reception chairs can be heavier or even fixed to a location to discourage visitors from moving them around and potentially disrupting traffic flow.

Difference Between Waiting Room Chairs and Reception Chairs for the Office

While both waiting rooms and reception areas can make use of the same type of chairs, businesses may want to choose specific types of chairs depending on which type of room they’re furnishing, because they could serve very different functions.

Waiting room chairs are typically located in an area where patients or clients wait for their appointments or services. These chairs are often simple and functional, designed for comfort and durability due to the high, constant turnover of visitors. They may be arranged in rows or clusters for space-saving purposes.

Reception room chairs, on the other hand, are typically located in the reception area of an office or business. These chairs are often more stylish and sophisticated, designed to reflect the professional image of the business. They may have more comfortable cushions, upholstery, and design features, and are often arranged in a more formal manner.

Modular Office Reception Seating

As their name suggests, modular reception office chairs come in sections, or modules, you can use to create a customized seating arrangement in any reception area, waiting room, or break room. They are designed to be easily assembled and disassembled, allowing for flexibility and adaptability in office spaces. These chairs typically have a modern, sleek design and are made of durable materials such as leather or vinyl.

The segmental nature of modular reception seating also means you’re not stuck with a certain arrangement once you’ve positioned the pieces. You can add or subtract modules, or reconfigure them to create different shapes, to suit the changing needs of your business.

Find the Right Reception Seating for Your Office

Space and function will determine the best style of reception office chairs for you and your business.

If Your Office Has Long Waits

For busy offices or waiting areas, consider plush, cushioned chairs such as fully upholstered club chairs, or chairs with padded seats and backrests. Modular reception seating would also be a good option. If your visitors will be sitting for a while, giving them comfortable seats will help make their wait more pleasant.

On particularly busy days, stacking and nesting chairs provide additional seating when needed and can be put away during quieter days.

For Multifunctional Spaces

If your reception or waiting area is often used for other purposes, having large bulky seating would take up precious space and be difficult to move around. Stacking and nesting chairs are great for areas that need to be frequently cleared or rearranged, as they can be easily moved around and stored with minimal need for space.

The difference between stacking and nesting chairs is that stacking chairs save space by stacking on top of one another, whereas nesting chairs have seats that flip up so they could be nestled against each other.

Both can be easily carried and stored with dollies that hold many chairs at once.

If You Want to Make an Impact

Plush executive club chairs or even lounge chairs can complement the reception desk as statement pieces for the reception area. If you need to make an immediate visual impact on a guest, the luxurious look and feel of these plush seating options would immediately elevate your brand.

And you don’t even have to break the bank to achieve this look. Bonded leather looks like genuine leather, with added benefits: it’s more durable so it’s better suited for high-traffic areas, more affordable, and easier to maintain. The non-porous surface makes it easy to clean any spills or stains.

For Small Spaces

If your reception area is tight on space but you still need to accommodate multiple visitors at a time, armless chairs can be placed right next to each other without the chair arms taking up room. It also allows groups or families to be able to sit next to each other more comfortably.

Features to Look for in Reception Seating for the Office

Because reception office seating are meant for visitors and not personal use, the criteria for choosing these chairs are a little different than for a task chair.

Easy to Clean

Your reception seating will be used by multiple people, sometimes within the same hour. These people could bring elements of the outdoors, such as dirt or snow, into the office with them or leave food, drink or even sweat stains when they leave.

Chairs that are easy to clean would keep your reception or waiting area looking fresh and professional. In most cases, all you’d have to do is wipe them down with a damp cloth. Chairs made of antimicrobial material are even better for the upkeep of your chairs, as they prevent bacteria left over from body contact from building up and causing bad odours.


Your reception or waiting room area is likely the most high-trafficked space in your business, and it’s not only your visitors that go through it. Couriers and movers, dollies and other large objects, can inadvertently bang up your reception office chairs in the course of the day. While delicate, spindly chairs look amazing in a design or architecture firm, sturdier chairs will hold up longer in busy offices. You don’t have to sacrifice aesthetics for longevity, either; many modern and contemporary chairs are made to stand up to the rigours of a bustling business.

Aesthetic Appeal

Reception seating has a much more important function than simply providing a comfortable place to sit for your visitors. Because they’re part of building that first impression a visitor has of your business, these chairs play a vital role in reflecting the essence of your business, offering a welcoming atmosphere to visitors, and complementing the general look and feel of your business.

It’s important, then, to find chairs that create the atmosphere you want your visitors to share. For example, plush leather chairs with wood accents will give a law firm the appropriate gravitas, with a touch of warmth from the natural wood so the business doesn’t appear so stiff and formal. A graphic design business might want a light, airy look with chairs that match (just be careful of things banging into them).

Tips for Setting Up Your Reception Area

Design a Layout that Accommodates Visitor Flow

Since the reception area is the first place your visitors will see and interact with when they come to your business, it’s important to set it up in a way that reflects the company well.

The first priority is a layout that’s well lit and visitors can easily navigate, with the reception desk or counter easily distinguishable and accessible. Provide appropriate signage and wayfinding elements, such as directional arrows or signs, to help visitors navigate the space and find their way to their destination. These elements should be clear and easy to understand, and should be placed in strategic locations throughout the reception area.

Ideally, there will be a natural flow that leads visitors from the elevator (or front door) to the reception desk and then to the seating area without any obstacles. Consider accessibility to accommodate those who aren’t able-bodied.

If you’re not sure how to start, our Space Planning Experts can help you design a space meets the unique needs of your business.

Comfortable Seating

We’ve talked extensively about reception seating already, but it’s essential to find the right seating so your customers and clients can be comfortable while they wait. This can help create a positive first impression and set the tone for the rest of the interaction.

Another reason why reception seating is important is that it can help create a professional and organized appearance for the office. Having comfortable and stylish seating in the reception area can help convey a sense of professionalism and attention to detail, which can be important for building trust and credibility with clients and visitors.

Create a Welcoming Atmosphere

People want to do business with people, not corporations. Add decorative elements, such as plants, artwork, or other objects, to add color, texture, and interest to the space to make it welcoming. These elements should be chosen carefully to enhance the overall aesthetic of the reception area, without creating clutter or distractions.

Consider the needs and preferences of your visitors and clients, and tailor the reception area to meet those needs. This could include providing amenities such as water, snacks, or charging stations, or offering additional services such as a guest WiFi network or a children's play area. By anticipating and addressing the needs of your visitors and clients, you can build a reception area that is truly functional and welcoming, and create a great impression on your customers and clients that they’ll remember long after the transactions are over.

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