residential building entrance lobby designWe have all heard the old adage, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” And while the sentiment is usually used to describe people, the same can also apply to places that create a lasting impression. One such place is the lobby of your building, this article demonstrates some useful tips on optimizing your residential building entrance lobby design.

Much like the doorway to your home, the lobby of your building serves as a welcoming entryway that sets the ambiance for the whole building. Residential lobbies can vary in style — from the simple and functional to the grand and luxurious, and every variation in between. Regardless of what it looks like, your building’s lobby should always be inviting, attractive, and functional. After all, your lobby is the hub of your building, serving as the place where residents not only gather but receive very important services form the building staff.

As a Board member, ask yourself a few questions: is your lobby as functional as it can be? Is it making the right first impression to residents, guests and future homebuyers? Is it living up to its potential? If you answered no to any of these questions, we have some suggestions that can help.

1. Décor

Incorporating a few creative décor tricks can go a long way in making your lobby more welcoming and attractive to residents and guests. Adding the right décor and furniture can create ambiance for your lobby, converting it into an appealing space for residents to interact. Add comfy couches or accent chairs in stain-resistant fabrics, then throw in an interesting cocktail table with books and magazine to encourage browsing. Even those who do not linger, will leave with a positive impression.
 
When furnishing your lobby, keep in mind that smaller, lighter pieces with clean lines help create a sense of space. They also won’t pose obstacles or hinder the circulation of traffic. On the other hand, if your building is ornately decorated, grand furnishings might enhance the classic theme. Adding glass and mirrored surfaces, regardless of your theme, will visually enlarge space, especially in smaller areas, such as elevators and hallways.
 
Another easy and affordable design feature you may want to consider incorporating in your lobby is your building's logo, such as on your entrance doors and area rugs. Not only will this add to the look of your lobby, but it is also an effective way to brand your building.
 

2. Flooring

When it comes to the attractiveness of a building’s lobby, flooring is an important consideration. But beyond being aesthetically pleasing, flooring should also be durable, and maintained despite the constant traffic and tracking in of dirt and mud from people and pets. 
 
It is also important that your floor surfaces aren’t slippery, especially in wet weather. If you do not have carpeting in your lobby, a good rule of thumb is to put out non-slip mats when the weather is bad. Not only will they prevent slips and falls, they will also protect your floor from water damage. If your association is considering replacing your lobby’s flooring, consider options that look good and wear well. Depending on your budget, you may want to look at wood laminates, hardwood or some more contemporary materials like concrete, marble or stone.

3. Package retrieval

Package delivery and retrieval is an everyday activity in most buildings, so make sure to set aside an adequate amount of space for this purpose. If you have front desk staff, they can sign for packages and notify residents when they arrive. Most buildings do so by phone, email or virtual notification systems. If your building is managed by a property management company, they may offer specialized software that automates this process. For example, FirstService Residential’s Connect tracks package deliveries and instantly notifies residents.
 
If your building is not staffed, make sure that your package area is secure, whether you choose to utilize a separate area for packages or have residents retrieve their packages in lockboxes. This is an often overlooked, but important element of optimizing your residential building entrance lobby design. 
 
You might also want to consider providing package delivery companies like UPS and FedEx an alternate route into your building. This will serve two purposes: to eliminate traffic in your lobby and avoid scratched walls and scuffed doorframes, which unfortunately occur when large packages are being delivered.
 

4. Appeal to the senses

If you are looking to create an inviting experience for your residents and guests, don’t underestimate the benefits of lighting.  Front desks serve as a main hub for information and services, and therefore, must be well-lit. However, seating/waiting areas can have a much more relaxed vibe, and their lighting should reflect that. Consider accent lighting for these areas, or perhaps spotlights and backlighting. Another detail to consider is the type of bulb to use. Whether you choose to go with warm or bright, LED or fluorescent bulbs, keep them consistent throughout the lobby.
 
And lighting isn’t the only way to appeal to the senses. Another way to do so is to play soft music in your building’s lobby. Find a sound that reflects your building, and keep it low so that it does not interfere with people having a conversation. In addition to incorporating appealing sounds, have your maintenance staff look for those that are unappealing, such as doors that slam or squeak. Area rugs go a long way in muffling echoes, so that is something else to think about when improving your residential building entrance lobby design.
 
If you want to go the extra mile, look into dispensing a fragrance into you lobby. It should be a soothing aroma that welcomes residents and visitors to relax and stay a while.

Before considering any material alterations to your building, please contact the association’s attorney to determine if there are any restrictions on such alterations under your documents or applicable law.

Your building lobby serves many functions. It creates an inviting first impression for residents and visitors and serves as a central hub for essential services, just to name a few. If your lobby is in need of some sprucing up, follow these four simple tips. Once you do so, you’ll be well on your way to enhancing your building’s property values and the quality of life of your current and future residents. For more information on enhancing your building’s lobby, contact FirstService Residential
Tuesday October 11, 2016