What Design Elements Welcome Clients?

['Round the Table]

My last massage room had space for an old X-ray board. I turned it into a giant collage, filled with color, inspirational quotes, healing images, and nature pictures. This, in addition to weekly tips or facts I added on a dry erase board, and recent articles from Massage & Bodywork I posted on a cork board, truly made my space a healing haven.

Jessica Kreyger Warren, Michigan


When I first saw the room I was to end up in, I was taken aback by how sterile it was. It was just like walking into a hospital room: white walls, tons of light oak furniture, etc. [Before the room became mine] the owner painted the walls chocolate brown. I put a large, darkly stained buffet in it and tried to keep it simple. I added a couple of darkly stained wood dining room chairs at either end of the table, kept most of the accent colors blue, brought in a misting fountain, and decorated the walls with one mirror, two paintings, and a crocheted afghan. The result is that when people enter the same room, they say, “Aw” instead of “Eeak!” Turning the table so that it is not straight with the room also helps.

Marcia Reichert

Fromberg, Montana


Within the last six months, I have had to close two satellite locations. After closing these two offices, I suddenly had three times the equipment, lotions, linens, etc., and nowhere to store it, except in my “home” office.  So much for my newly downsized business! It was a floor-to-ceiling mess. I had to do something different.

Decluttering has worked out well. My treatment space now is warm and inviting, and it is easy for me to move around the table. I was able to keep the best of my equipment, lotions, linens, etc. I donated items that I didn’t need, and discarded or recycled things that were broken. I found that getting rid of my stuff lightened my mood. It certainly has helped me stay organized.

If you aren’t sure where to start with creating or changing your current design, try decluttering first. It will lead you to the next step. Happy organizing!

Kimberly Rogers

Waupaca, Wisconsin


I always like to make people feel at home. There is a sense of comfort in that for me and my clients. It’s welcoming and soothing. For more than 20 years as a practicing LMT, I have tried a variety of locations and themes. Hands down, when it is easy to walk into—colors are soothing and the room isn’t too clinical—clients respond positively. I feel your design represents you. So whether you enjoy a home-type environment, clinical setting, Zen atmosphere, etc., it must make you feel good, too, and your clients will respond.

Gloria Coppola

Black Mountain, North Carolina


Structural integration practitioners aren’t generally encouraged to make their office space inviting. In school, I got the impression that soothing décor was an unnecessary luxury or even that it might interrupt a client’s processing.

For nearly three years, I shared an office with other Rolfers. It wasn’t stark, but the carpet was old and threadbare, the previously white walls were grimy, and there were lovely rocks and stones placed willy-nilly around the room. The energy was good and my clients experienced wonderful healing sessions there, but the lack of intentional design always bothered me.

In my current office, I have created an oasis in the midst of a chaotic urban lifestyle. High stress levels cause soft-tissue degeneration, so the more I can help my clients escape their worries and troubles, the more effective our work together will be. I have an electric fireplace that wraps the room in a warm glow, and I burn a bergamot-mint beeswax candle to uplift my clients.

Sukie Baxter

Seattle, Washington


My welcome begins well before clients enter my office. They approach through a sheltered courtyard filled with plants, into an open area where lawn, gardenias, dogwood, and birch trees lead them to a large overhang sheltering the office. The door is usually open, inviting them into a tranquil space with no overhead lighting—natural and soft area lighting complement uncluttered indoor plants, with fresh flowers in both rooms. In the massage area, natural light and soft music surround the heated massage table. Both rooms are carpeted for coziness, with walls painted soothing light sage green and warm white. Hanging art, some of which is my own glasswork, provides color. I make a point to display some of the gifts clients have given me in plain view. My prize piece of furniture is a cabinet my husband built, on which I display hearts from around the world given to me by clients, which they are free to touch, hold, and rearrange. I sit behind a simple country-style desk and greet them with a smile.

BJ Pitts

Sacramento, California


The office entrance needed to be welcoming. With only a limited budget, my partner added plants in various sizes and varieties, which was accepted really well by the clients. The walls are painted pale green in the main area. The overhead lights have covered panels with clouds, which dims the stark effect of the fluorescent lighting. We used the Japanese screens to make a sitting area with magazines/books and dimmer lighting with bamboo shelving. It is not the typical corporate massage setting, but a local beach place that feels and looks very welcoming. We have massage chairs set up in the front of the office that welcome clients in. Yoga mats and exercise balls are available for clients to stretch and unwind pre/post massage—emphasis on self-help. Each massage room is a different color to make them have a more individual feel. We have had very good feedback on the colors, considering the clients have their eyes closed for most of the time! I say, “Be different/be welcoming and use your imagination—not all massage clinics are created equal.”

Jeanette and Katie Revell

Solana Beach, California


I have an office in an adult community facility. The majority of my clients are over 65. The room is painted in a soft yellow, and the furnishings are in quiet green tones with dark wood accents. I designed my room with space between furnishings to accommodate walkers. I have bright overhead lighting that I leave on for scheduling appointments, doing intakes, and entering or exiting the room and dimmed lighting while the client is on the table. Music speakers are situated on a small table near the head of the massage bed to make the music easier to hear. Additional pillows are placed under the table so I have easy access to them when needed. My chairs are upholstered with wooden handles for easy gripping. My space includes an antique dresser for sheets and a round table with chairs for an at-home feel. I have an extra chair for clothing. I try to eliminate any unnecessary clutter.

Mary Lambert
Hallowell, Maine