By Allissa Haines
This is part of a recurring blog series with business expert Allissa Haines that focuses on simple ways you can improve your practice.
Many independent massage offices become eclectic over time. We gather second-hand furniture to start up without a big expense. People give gifts that get displayed here and there. Every so often it can be helpful to step back, look hard at what has evolved, and revamp the look of your office or just part of your office.
Our surroundings both reflect and influence who we are and the work we do. Maybe you started out in massage with lots of anatomy charts hanging on your brightly colored walls, but your work has evolved into craniosacral therapy or energy work. An update to your decor can eliminate that disconnect and ease the vibe of your office into a more accurate and cohesive feel for you (and your clients).
A tip about “simple”
DIY and decorating projects can quickly spin into huge tasks that eat up time, bust your budget, and make you regret all your choices. Resist the urge to make the project bigger. Choose a window of time and keep the task properly sized for that window. Ideally, you can line up a friend to help and make the project more fun and practical. Or queue up a podcast playlist, grab a pizza, and enjoy the alone time of it all.
A fresh coat of paint does wonders for the look and feel of a room. Paint itself won’t break a $100 budget, but the equipment could. Ask around about borrowing a dropcloth, paintbrushes and rollers to keep your costs down.
If the idea of prepping and painting a whole room is overwhelming, consider painting just one accent wall. If you rent your office and can’t get permission to paint the walls, paint a few pieces of furniture instead, or swap out some furniture from other places in the office or your home.
2. Accent lights and plants
Lighting is an underutilized feature for changing the look of a space. Fairy lights and Christmas lights are super affordable, and a few salvaged lamps spray-painted a new color can change a room dramatically.
It can be tough to keep a real plant alive in an office with inconsistent light and temperature control. (My plants all died when I turned the heat way down over a holiday break. Oops.) Artificial plants will go the distance of your career and with a few fairy lights added it’s a new visual feature for your space.
If you already have and love the art in your office, move it around. Just moving a piece from the entry area to a hallway can give it a whole new presence. If you have a lot of art displayed, consider removing some pieces and cycling art in and out seasonally, to better feature each individual piece.
If you don’t have art, get some. This is pretty easy to DIY, depending on your taste and abilities. Check out thrift stores for frames that can be easily spray-painted to work with your office color scheme. Replace the art with a fabric you find attractive (thrift store for that, too) or a cheap print in the right size.
You can frame wallpaper samples that work with your style, or spring for a roll of temporary wallpaper to cover a very small wall, or part of a wall. A quick internet search of “temporary wallpaper projects” will provide plenty of inspiration for low budget upgrades.
You could also connect with local artists and ask about using your office to display art pieces for a few months at a time, with a notecard giving information about the artist, the piece, and the price.
Art is not limited to frames and paper. Widen your options and consider quilts, tapestries, or any kind of textiles. When thoughtfully placed, clocks, pretty tiles, or books are all art that can change and improve the feel of your office.
A little change goes a long way
Little updates to a space can make a big difference in how you feel as you work and how clients respond to your care. Take note of your feelings and the feedback from clients and let that inform future updates, big and little.
Allissa Haines is a practicing massage therapist and columnist for Massage & Bodywork magazine. You can read her column, “Blueprint for Success,” in the digital edition at massageandbodyworkdigital.com.