First impressions – we all know their importance. The lobby is the first impression of the building, it is perceived to reflect the personality of its owners and residents, essentially, it is the face of your company. It’s a great first impression on new clients, potential customers, future employees, and other people that you do business with. There are two main things to remember when you are designing your office lobby – it needs to be both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It doesn’t do anyone any good if your beautiful lobby doesn’t’ allow you to conduct business with ease, nor is it a good idea to have a functional office that is dull and boring. Here is a checklist to consider before embarking on any lobby renovation projects.
A well-designed reception area is a focal point within your lobby. The reception desk and the wall behind their desk should act together as an anchor point within the lobby design. This area should reflect a level of quality and professionalism that you show to your clients and should be impressive enough to visually cue your visitors to approach it and check in. In this reception area, the company logo should be displayed prominently, either on front of the desk itself or on the wall behind or parallel to the reception desk. . This is the first time your visitor will see your logo upon entering the building, so investing in this piece – you can add specific lighting or even just the finishes.
While talking about reception, maybe the most important thing to consider is the personality and customer service the person sitting behind the reception desk has. They are the first person that a visitor meets coming to your facility. How they interact with your visitors affects how they will feel about their overall experience when visiting and interacting with your organization.
Designs for Lobby
Now that we talked about your logo hanging above or around your reception desk, it’s time to take a look at the rest of your lobby area. Are there a lot of blank walls or are they covered in outdated photography or art work or maybe the frames need an update? Random papers taped to the wall or cork board? Do these communicate clearly to your visitors that you are innovative and forward thinking as a company? No need to plaster your lobby with every product or concept your company offers, but this is a great opportunity to make an impactful, long lasting and positive impression on your visitors.
The way in which the lobby space is lit can have a dramatic effect not only on our first impressions but our emotional response to it as well. There is nothing worse than entering a poorly lit lobby. Outdated fluorescent grid ceiling lights can produce a dim yellow tone that is drab and makes you feel stuck in the past. Too dark and it may appear dingy and small, too bright though and the space could feel clinical and uninviting. Updating your ceiling lighting to LED fixtures that mimic natural light helps to provide a more welcoming and refreshing experience. Adding accent lighting, like wall-washing fixtures and low-voltage display lighting, can bring key areas into focus that you want your visitors to notice. This will help highlight and add visual complexity to your company logo, award displays and certificates or just the wall art.
Everyone loves natural light. It can greatly affect airiness and open feel of your lobby design and promote positive feelings within the space. But too much sunlight can cause glares and can make your clients uncomfortable at certain times of the day. No one wants to be staring into the glaring sun. If you do get a lot of sun, it would be worth investing in blinds (programmable mechanical ones if possible) to help cut down on the amount of direct sunlight at the peak times throughout the day.
Trends are always changing, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t incorporate a few current looks into your lobby. Just choose looks that are relevant and attractive for years to come. The rustic look is very on trend right now but it can also be made into a classic look that will create a calm, natural ambiance in the office. A few ways to incorporate this look is stained concrete flooring, nature-inspired art, upholstery and patterns, plants, a small water feature and using reclaimed wood.
Before deciding on anything just a few elements to incorporate at the very least: your company logo that has prominence in your lobby, appropriate artwork, styles and designs that compliment your building, and furnishings that are comfortable, beautiful, functional and high-quality.
As we already know from last week’s blog, stone tile flooring can be quite an investment. So you want to make sure you protect them the best you can. Over time they can lose their sparkle and the grout can discolor. Fortunately, most types of natural stone flooring are easy to care for and keep clean with easy maintenance.
One of the most important things when cleaning stone is to not use a cleaner that is too alkaline or too acidic. Both of these can remove the shiny finish from the floor. Make sure to always use a neutral cleaner when working with any natural stone. A pH of 7 is neutral, anything below that can eat away at the sealant and cause etching. Above 7 is alkaline, which is great for removing dirt and grime, but can leave a damaging residue so make sure to rinse to neutralize! This also goes for products containing lemon juice or vinegar on marble, limestone or travertine.
General household cleaners, such as ammonia and bleach can damage stone tile, while using natural solutions and methods on your stone flooring ensures its beauty is not only maintained, but also enhanced. Taking simple steps to maintain your floors daily, is essential, especially when dealing with marble. This helps to make your cleaning more effective and efficient, as well as keeping your floors from scratching. Marble is one of the softest stones and can be damaged easily. So make sure to sweep high traffic areas daily and use mats and rugs so dirt is left behind on them instead of on the floor. Dirt, grime and crumbs can act like sandpaper under shoes and act like sandpaper. Another item to stay away from when it comes to your stone floors are abrasive materials like steel wool and microfiber scrub pads, as they will scratch the surface.
So then what is the best way to actually get your floors clean? Just fill a gallon bucket with warm water and use a mild all purpose cleaner, stone soap, or Castile soap – making sure to change out the water if it gets too cloudy. It is recommended to use a rotating microfiber mop handle with microfiber towels or a wet mop. Rinse and thoroughly dry the surfaces of your floor with clean water after washing to ensure a film is not left on the stones surface. Dry with a soft, clean cloth. Never use oils or waxes to clean or treat your stone flooring.
Natural stone tiles are unquestionably beautiful. They give a home a warm, classy and beautiful feel that goes with just about any style or decor all thanks to Mother Nature. Like any other material though, it has its high points and faults. So in order to help you decide if natural stone flooring is the right choice for your home, especially in the kitchen, here are the pros and cons.
Appealing Aesthetic: Because natural stone is a product of nature, the details are different when it comes to each piece, making each one unique. Because of this, you can give your home a truly one of a kind look. The wide array of sizes, shapes and colors available make kitchen design possibilities endless as well.
Durable: This material is literally, hard as a rock, the name pretty much gives it away. Yes a rock, which makes it a durable, long-lasting flooring choice in such a high traffic area like your kitchen.
Easy to Clean: Although it does need to be properly sealed, natural stone flooring is easy to clean and keep looking new. A simple sweeping, dust-mopping or vacuuming prior to wet-mopping with a light cleaner or warm water works wonders. And since it doesn’t attract dust or allergens, it makes it even easier to clean.
Non-Slip: Natural stone is sturdy and provides good traction. It is not slippery like other flooring materials, which makes it a safer option for kids and pets, especially in the kitchen.
Expensive to fix: While natural stone is just that, stone – they sometimes get chipped and even cracked. Some natural stone varieties, especially slate, are relatively easy to fix when chipped. But repairs for other types of stone can be expensive and more labor-intensive.
Upkeep: Natural stone is porous and needs a protective layer to prevent it from staining and water damage. This type of kitchen flooring needs to be regularly treated with a sealing agent. Some polished stone can scratch easier than others and natural imperfections can create the risk of running out of matching pieces before your floor is finished.
Cost: Because it is a natural material, natural stone kitchen floor tiles are some of the most expensive flooring options. But, their luxurious look makes the expense worth it, if you can swing it with your budget.
Now that you know a little more about natural stone flooring and can decide if it’s right for your home, come back next week to learn about all the different types of natural stone flooring!
If you can make the space, building an at-home gym is a great investment, not only for your home, but for your health. Once you have that space, the right equipment and your music ready to go, the only thing missing that helps lay the groundwork for any successful sweat session – is the floor. Poor traction and lack of shock absorption that comes from concrete floors in basements and garages can lead to injuries. Concrete can be just as unforgiving on your equipment too, especially if you tend to drop your weights. The right home gym flooring can increase stability, reduce body impact and boost plyometric power. It also helps keep your subfloor protected from scuffs, scratches and cracks. When choosing a surface, consider the space, type of equipment you’ll need and what exercises you will be doing. From rubber to cork, to foam, here are the most popular flooring options for your at home workouts.
This can be a pricier choice, but one of the best options, rubber is perfect for home gyms, or any type of gym for that matter. This is what is used in most commercial gyms. The material is strong, resilient and sturdy, making it ideal for any type of exercise. It’s the ultimate gym flooring because it is great at covering any existing surface, including concrete. It can support the heaviest equipment, has max durability and shock absorbency. It comes in mats, rolls and even interlocking tile so there is sure to cover any type of room with all different thickness options and price points.
- Easy to install and maintain
- Durable, shock absorbent & long lasting
- Water resistant
- Soundproof (helps keep your workouts quiet while you’re at home, especially if you have a baby and want to workout during their nap time)
- Expensive (especially if you want bright colors)
- Poor insulator (if you install rubber on cold concrete floors, the rubber will feel cold too)
Foam is one of the most comfortable options for floor-based workouts (like yoga and pilates). It is like having exercise mats laid out all over the floor, interlocking for easy installation and even portable! It is cheaper than rubber but much less durable. It has excellent shock resistance, making it great for HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) workouts, but lacks support for heavy weights or equipment and can leave dents over time. But, for cheap and easy-to-install flooring that can double as a play area in-between workouts, it doesn’t get any better, especially for new parents.
- Comes in a variety of colors and styles
- Cushioned for comfort
- Low cost
- Good shock absorption
- Short lifespan
- Less durable compared to other options
- Not suitable for heavy equipment (too easy to slice or cut this type of foam)
This can be a practical choice for flooring because it can stand up to the abuse of a home gym, yet still be comfortable and chic for a living space. It is mold, mildew and moisture resistant, making it perfect for basements. Vinyl can even handle harsh cleaning chemicals to wipe up all that sweat. Vinyl material can be easily punctured and torn, so being careful is a must with this flooring. VOC emissions from the vinyl can pose as a health risk, which is a big factor to consider before purchasing. These tiles also come in a variety of colors and patterns that can help blend into any living space.
- Long lasting
- Easy to install and maintain
- Mold, mildew, moisture resistant
- Extensive selection of styles and patterns
- Easily punctured by sharp objects
- Low shock absorbency
- Can give off VOCs
Believe it or not, carpet is probably the most popular flooring option for most home gyms. It’s soft on the joints, easy to maintain and already comes installed in most homes. But not just any carpet will do. Shag should be left in the bedroom. Opt for a low commercial-grade pile instead for good traction and stability. Anti-fatigue carpet tiles have a higher shock absorbency too if you need an upgrade. You can even get interlocking carpet tiles for a DIY route. They will hold up against weight training, HIIT and even yoga. Regular cleaning is recommended to prevent bacteria and odors.
- Home friendly
- Versatile and durable
- Soft and comfortable
- Easy to install (especially the interlocking tiles)
- Low shock absorber
- Can trap sweat and moisture causing odors (may require a touch up cleaning by a professional every couple of years)
- Stretches over time (possibly needing to be restretched by a professional)
Wood can give your home gym a professional look and can be suitable for almost any type of exercise. Thanks for innovative foam-backing, wood is now more shock absorbent and fitness friendly. But it can scratch, splinter and dent if heavy equipment is dropped. Wood can also become slippery from excessive sweat but will be a stunning addition to any workout space.
- Great for aerobics and kickboxing
- Attractive design
- Can splinter from heavy weights dropped
- Poor traction – slippery when wet
This is a green-friendly flooring made of renewable, fully biodegradable material, perfect for eco-exercisers. The flex design is ideal for HIIT and weight training and is resistant to shock, fire, mold, mildew and mites. Cork glue-down tiles are recommended over a floating cork floor for supporting heavy loads – however dragging equipment on either type can tear the surface. Since cork can fade in the sun, it is a great option for the basement or garage. If you need to support heavy machinery (elliptical or treadmill) or weights, try doubling up with glue-down cork tiles on top of a floating cork floor.
- Environmental friendly
- Naturally insulating
- Water resistant
- Easily torn or scratched
- Heavy equipment can leave dents
- Prone to fading from direct sunlight
Working from home is an awesome perk, but have you accidentally created a workspace that is drab and lifeless as a cubicle? Here are some steps to help create the home office of your dreams.
- The top of your computer screen should be at eye level or just a little below. Position your computer monitor so there’s no glare from windows or overhead light. Make sure to adjust your chair so your feet rest firmly on something. Since you will be spending a good chunk of time here, invest in a great chair. A beautiful, ergonomically correct, comfortable seat is worth every penny.
- Move your desk close to the windows (if any) but place it parallel to the panes. This set-up is ideal for the benefits of natural light and gives you something interesting to stare at than a blank wall, giving you an excuse to turn away from your computer when a break is needed. If you’re in a windowless space, hang a pretty picture above the desk or position your chair to face the door.
- Unless you’re going for a contemporary look, choose accessories that enhance the comfy feeling of your home office, like a fun mug for pencil holder, trendy notepads, sticky notes and a decorative waste bin. Add utilitarian bookshelves behind curtains made from similar material. Inspirational prints or even kid artwork help fill empty spaces and become focal points for the wall.
- Many home offices aren’t swimming with square footage, so using space efficiently is key. Hanging floating shelves on walls and getting paper off your desk and in vertical folders, baskets for mail can help keep the appearance of order and keeps your desk cleared. Cube storage is a great alternative to bookshelves and baskets can even be added for knick knacks or extra wires.
- Even with natural light, it is still a good idea to have additional lighting for darker hours of the day. This helps cut down on eye strain and headaches. Table lamps, floor lamps, overhead lighting, the possibilities are endless.
- Forget boring office beige. You need a color that you love, that gets your work brain moving. For some people that is a bright, cheery color, bold like lime green, burnt orange. Others need calming shades of botanical green or sea foam blue to feel as though they will perform their best.
- Adding plants to your office helps reduce stress, increase productivity, and even filter the air. So many easy options that thrive from neglect too!