Design of therapy offices


The designs of therapy offices are subject only to general legal norms. Designers and investors have a lot of flexibility in the choice of finishing materials as well as the size of the office itself, possible division into zones, selection of colors and equipment. Such a large variety has led to the development of several parallel trends over the last few years, and the design of therapy rooms has already become the subject of academic research, the results of which can be used to design a perfect office.


The concept of emotional design is most closely related to therapy offices. This is a concept that originally only applied to textures, but is now extended so much that it can also include interior designs. The idea of ​​emotional design is imitating the mental emotional map of the recipient in the real world. This is done by using various materials and combinations of colors. Scientific research also suggests that one of the most effective ways to use emotional design in the design of therapy offices is to resign from some of the classic interior design elements in favor of additives that have been so far underestimated for various reasons. One of the proposed changes is, for example, changing armchairs into pillows, although for various reasons, not every such modification is considered desirable today.

Emotional design in the case of therapy offices has a very important function to fulfill – it can be a way to build trust between the patient and the therapist, it can facilitate the patient’s opening to help, it can also make the room closer to the idea of a perfect office, which – as studies show – are common to over 80% of people.


For practical reasons, an ideal solution in a therapy office would be PVC flooring or ceramics. At the same time, however, these materials are rather unpleasant to the touch, which is why at least in some of the many offices of recognized therapists they are replaced with a carpet or building floor covering. Walls and floors are often finished in pastel or natural colors, but the monotony is broken by additional materials: large-format graphics, architectural elements marked with special effects paints or three-dimensional masses, etc.

The lightning plays an important role in the therapy office interior. It creates an atmosphere and has the power to increase the comfort and safety, and also favors – if properly designed – establishing a relationship based on trust and relaxation. This is particularly beneficial from the point of view of the effectiveness of the therapy. Materials – in accordance with the idea of ​​emotional design – can be different. A white desk made of laminate is sometimes placed next to a wooden shelf. Some offices are reminiscent of pop-art interiors, but in practice it is a deliberate procedure that is carried out to create a less homogeneous environment.


Designing therapy offices always includes an important stage, which is the organization of potential disorder. While in the most people’s ideas of a perfect therapy office, there is room for considerable stylistic diversity within the arrangement, it is absolutely unacceptable to have disorder in the documents or in the workspace. Therefore, the architect’s task is to develop an individual way to organize documents, tools and therapist aids. Such a system may include various types of furniture, but also more complex storage systems.


Designing therapy offices must lead to the creation of a fairly versatile room in which it will be possible to conduct therapy according to different schools, which in turn requires the use of extensive auxiliary equipment. In addition to periods in which individual items are actually needed, the office must provide the possibility of their storage. Suffice it to say that in a study conducted by Jacek Nasar from Ohio State University, participants described the worst therapy rooms as “cluttered”, while at the same time they highly appreciated those in which the arsenal of therapist aids was expanded.



The therapy requires reliable documentation, which is why when designing therapy offices, the architects often focus on creating ideal conditions for processing "live" documentation and its storage. Of course, these processes do not have to take place in the main part of the office, but it is the task of interior designer to arrange the available space to find the right place.



In the therapy offices, the role of the therapist’s diplomas and certificates is emphasized more strongly than in any other place. One can suspect that this is due to the fact that the patient is willing to trust a person who is more qualified. This is another task for interior designers – they have to plan the space so that the presentation of the therapist’s documents is both subtle and effective. Finding a place where the visibility of documents will be good enough, but at the same time the environment will allow to focus longer on them, may not be easy, but the best therapists and their patients attach importance to it.

  • A similar concept functions in relation to the design of doctor’s offices or dental surgeries, however, the role of diplomas is a bit smaller there – it is not small but not as big as in the case of therapy offices.
  • In many designs of therapy offices, only some of the diplomas are presented in the main room, while some are presented in the reception part. This is dictated by the need for transparency in the office and the limited amount of space available.


Therapy offices may require a slightly different design approach depending on the therapy methods used. In principle, however, the architects should always create several separate parts within the office:


``Proper office``, or the place where the therapy will be conducted. It must be a spacious and bright room, but not excessively large, so that it can still be considered as cosy and giving a sense of security;


Reception and waiting room, which can not be tight and dark, because it would increase the level of stress. The ideal solution is to combine them into one and create a corner of tranquility and relaxation within this zone. A cloakroom or a coat hanger will also be part of the reception area;


Toilets for patients and therapists, which are most often created separately. Such a procedure results directly from the regulations and although one can get permission to work in an office with only one toilet, it should be remembered that such organization of space can limit the comfort of patients.

In some therapy offices, designers provide for – most often within the reception area – a place for vending machines or a coffee table. Although their setting requires meeting additional sanitary requirements, but they are not high, and even with a relatively small space, many therapists opt for such a solution in order to provide greater comfort to patients.


One of the key problems associated with designing therapy offices is their reduced availability for people with disabilities. In contrast to medical offices and dental surgeries, therapy offices oms are often created in less representative places, which is to provide patients with greater comfort and discretion. This, however, often means the need to introduce quite far-reaching architectural changes in order to adapt the facility to the needs of the disabled.

  • Doors (both entrance and all internal) should have a width of not less than 95 centimeters.
  • All places where it will be necessary to make a u-turn of a wheelchair (toilet, space in front of the reception desk, which should be lowered, space in front of the desk in the office itself, etc.) must provide not less than one and a half square meters. In practice, it is recommended to leave 2-2.5 meters, as long as the housing conditions permit.
  • It is necessary not only to remove architectural barriers, but also to install handrails, railings or ramps, which will make it easier for disabled people to use the entire space of the therapy office available to them.


The issue of designing thrapy offices is not consistently regulated by law, so it is worth to follow the guidelines obtained even during scientific research. A good solution is also to simply trust architects who have more experience and know the realities of therapy offices. Their design is quite a challenge not because of the regulation, but actually the lack of uniform guidelines – moving around in the jungle of available options requires unique intuition, enormous experience and the ability to feel the real needs of the investor and patients of the office. Owing to such skills, it is possible to design therapy offices that will guarantee patients a sense of security and relaxation, and will provide the therapists with the possibility of conducting effective therapy.

See also: Designing veterinary surgeries