Interior design for conference rooms
When designing a conference room or meeting room, there are several things to consider to create an inviting, functional and ergonomic space. Today, 50% of our meetings are generally hybrid or digital, which is why technology is an important aspect of your room design. By analysing needs and carefully planning, you can create inspiring conference rooms that support the business.
Start by thinking about what kind of meetings the room should support. How many people should the room accommodate? Is the room intended for long or short meetings? To keep meeting participants engaged, the room needs to be furnished holistically, taking into account everything from furnishings, colour, lighting, ventilation, acoustics, access to materials, and technology. You also need to decide whether or not to make the room bookable.
Different meetings require differently designed interiors
Digital and hybrid meetings. If the room is to be used for digital and hybrid meetings, the design and choice of furniture needs to be customised to suit the technology and equipment, enabling everyone to be seen and heard clearly. It is important that anyone using the room is trained in how the technology works. Failed hybrid meetings are often caused by a lack of knowledge. However, avoid putting up sticky notes with instructions as it gives a cluttered impression. Instead, make instructions digital on the screen.
Closed or open environment. Traditionally, conference rooms are designed with four walls and a door that can be closed. With smart interior design solutions, however, the conference room can just as easily be designed in an open environment with the help of partitioning textiles, furniture or screens, and supportive technology. This makes the office more flexible and enables users to change the environments.
Formal, informal or creative meetings. Think about how you want meeting participants to act and feel in the room. Should everyone be seated or should it be possible to stand and move around in the room? Should there be access to a whiteboard, pens or other material?
Long meetings. For longer meetings, you should have conference chairs with a high level of comfort and that give opportunities to stand occasionally. It is preferable to have windows to let in daylight as well as fresh air when needed to help maintain concentration.
Confidentiality. Should the room be customised for having discussions of a confidential nature and for reviewing confidential materials? This will determine whether the room needs solutions for blocking visibility and absorbing sound, such as textiles and sound absorbers.
Flexibility. Will the room be used for different purposes and should it be easy to rearrange? A height-adjustable meeting table makes it easy to switch between sitting and standing. In large conference rooms, stackable chairs and foldable tables give the opportunity to alter the room depending on the number of attendees and the needs of the meeting. Smaller tables that can be arranged in different constellations are good furnishings for hybrid meetings.
Choose the right conference table and chairs
Conference table. Choose between fixed, height-adjustable or foldable depending on your requirements. Consider how the room might be used and how many it should accommodate. This will determine how the table(s) should be placed. A large table is often well-suited to being the centerpiece of a room, while smaller or foldable desks are ideal for furnishing in small groups, crescents or U-shaped seating. It is important to have power sockets in the table. Consider how many you might need and where they should be placed.
Conference chairs. Shifting body positions allows you to stay focused for longer – we are made to move. A conference chair with castors or a swivel function allows you to move easily without being disruptive to the meeting. Invest in high-comfort chairs with some adjustment options to customise to the user. It is also important that the chair and table fit together.
Ergonomics in conference rooms
Acoustics. Sound absorbers are often needed in meeting rooms for good acoustics. At least 15% of the wall surfaces should have some form of sound absorption, and these should be placed at an angle to each other if possible. Remember that sound bounces off hard surfaces, so avoid placing the video screen and whiteboard opposite each other – or plan for textiles along the wall that can be drawn. Overall, textiles in meeting rooms, such as upholstered furniture, absorbers, rugs and curtains, contribute to a good acoustic environment. But avoid making things too quiet, just the right amount is best!
Lighting. We are happiest when we have access to daylight. Therefore, it is preferable to have windows in conference rooms. But it is also important to be able to control the room lighting, through blinds and dimmable fixtures. For video conferencing, the basic rule is to have cylindrical lighting coming straight on from different angles to avoid shadowing of the face. Also remember that conference rooms do not always need to be lit, so can be good to invest in lighting that is programmed to be turned off when the room is not in use, as this reduces electricity consumption and energy waste.
Colours. Work with monochrome materials and a down-to-earth colour scheme to give a calm and harmonious impression without negative distractions. Remember that attendees add colour through what they are wearing. If the room will be used creatively such as for brainstorming or innovative projects, it can be good to add yellow, energy-promoting hues.
Additional meeting equipment
Storage. Are pens, notepads and other materials available in the room? Make sure to have a storage unit to hide these away so that the room is neat and tidy when meeting participants arrive. It can also be a good idea to have a serving trolley on castors to easily roll in coffee, tea, water, fruit and other things that are needed to keep the stamina of meeting participants up!
Plants and greenery. Don't forget to add plants to the conference room! They give a cosy impression and promote good acoustics. Surrounding ourselves with natural elements also has a positive impact on us humans.
Clothes rack. Consider whether meeting participants will need to hang coats in the room, or whether they can do this elsewhere in the office.
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