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Interior Design: Lobby Edition

Luxury lobby interior with marble reception desk

Luxury lobby interior with marble reception desk

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

lobby /ˈläbē/ n. a corridor or hall connected with a larger room or
series of rooms and used as a passageway or waiting room

Let’s role-play: Take a step back and put yourself in a customer’s shoes. Picture the last time you saw your doctor or dentist, or the last time you went to do your taxes or meet with a financial advisor. Even the last time you stopped at a hotel. Now think about the lobby and ask yourself:

  • What, if anything, stood out?
  • Where did you sit?
  • What did you do while you waited?
  • What went through your mind?
  • How did you feel?

Whether you are aware of it at the time or not, a lobby’s layout and decor subconsciously influence the way you interpret your surroundings, which in turn influences your physical and emotional responses. A lobby that is hot and densely packed with furniture can feel claustrophobic, and may lead you to feel tense. One that is cold and spacious, with sterile walls and limited seating, may lead you to feel small and insignificant.

Now step back into your interior designer shoes and think about how the lobby was decorated. When it comes to designing a lobby or waiting area, think “ambiance.”

Ambiance For Any Age

Regardless if the lobby is located inside a hotel, office building, or medical facility, it will often be the first thing your client’s customers see upon walking through the front door. An inviting space that promotes happiness and positive energy contributes to a positive consumer experience. (The best thing for any business!) Happy customers are repeat customers. Happy customers leave raving reviews. Happy customers are what every business owner dreams of.

As the designer, your main focus should be the emotional impact of your client’s space, not just its functionality.


Yes, white and light grays are neutral colors but light shades show dirt more than darker ones. Your client’s lobby sees heavy, near-constant foot traffic and daily wear-and-tear. Choose colors and materials that are easy to clean and maintain. Opt for tile or broadloom wall-to-wall carpeting in deep shades and textures. For furniture, skip delicate fabrics. Wool is a durable material that’s less prone to snagging and wrinkling, and is easy to spot-clean or vacuum as needed. Leather is versatile but go for the equally versatile and durable vinyl for its affordability and for how easy it is to clean.


Choose shelving that makes it easy for your client to leave out timely magazines and other reading materials to occupy their customers while they wait. Especially if their lobby is prone to long wait times, having reading material will serve as a distraction.

And don’t forget the kids! Parents will need something to occupy their children while they wait. Coloring books. Crossword puzzles. A tiny play corner. You don’t want to clutter your client’s space but setting aside a specific spot for children makes it less likely that they will run amok and upset other patrons.


Again, designing a lobby means designing a single room to attract a wide variety of clientele. Maximize negative space to create ample walking room and clear, navigable paths. Provide ample seating options, from soft cushioned sofas to hard-backed chairs and stools. Avoid low, deep, or plush furniture that may be difficult for some to get into or out of. Reduce trip hazards by removing area rugs, throw rugs, and runners where possible in favor of wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting or add area rugs to create friction and soak up excess moisture during the winter months.

Artwork To Inspire 

Use artwork to create visual interest but use it sparingly. Opt for larger prints your clients can swap with the seasons and select landscapes, soft textures, and muted still lifes to create a relaxing environment.

Look for artwork like:

WallsBeautiful art lobby interior design

Farm Artistry
Patterns & Textures Collection

WallsBeautiful art lobby decor

Golden Fields
Land & Sea Scapes Collection

Artwork For Every Lobby, Large and Small

At WallsBeautiful we make it easy to find high-quality artwork to brighten up your client’s interior.  Interested in learning more? Contact our in-house Art Advisor for individualized help on selection and planning by emailing