Episode 150 | Budgeting and Decorating New Office Space
WITH MAUREEN WERRBACH
- Episode 150 | Budgeting and Decorating New Office Space 00:00
Hey Group Practice listeners! New podcast episode out today! In this episode, I’m talking all about my systems for budgeting for decorating new office spaces and how I go about decorating.
In this episode we cover:
- breaking down the office decorating budget
- easy therapist office decorating tips
This episode is sponsored by TherapyNotes. TherapyNotes is an EHR software that helps behavioral health professionals manage their practice with confidence and efficiency. I use TherapyNotes in my own group practice and love its amazing support team, billing features, and scheduling capabilities. It serves us well as a large group practice owner.
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I hope you’re having a great day. Today I wanted to talk about a how I approach decorating office space. I know I have such a fun time watching in the Facebook groups when people talk about what their offices look like and share pictures and photos. And I know it can be overwhelming, not only for new group practice owners to kind of figure out not only style and where to buy from and what their office space should look like as a group practice. Then the financial piece, obviously. But also for established groups that are potentially moving and doing a rebrand or, you know, if you’re anything like me, you kind of hodgepodge pieces together initially when you were starting off. And as the business grew and you had more finances to be able to find a space that had a brand had a look that kind of went across all of the offices, that that sometimes takes a little bit of time. So I just wanted to share some thoughts on kind of my process and hopefully that shed some light or give some, you know, ideas for those of you that might be starting off. Or those of you that are thinking of doing a sort of re-haul on your group practice.
So one of the things that I do, even to this day, I have a fourth location that we are building out right now. And I’m in that process like I am, every single time we move or grow, of having a budget per office. I like working at this level, it’s a little bit more micro than having just an overall practice budget for decorating and you know, building out a space. I like to go a little bit more micro and I have an idea on how much what my maximum amount is per office room that I want to spend. It helps me kind of stay in a better space when it comes to what I’m spending and not overspend, you know?
I think, for me, at least when I’m looking at like a whole practice, let’s say I have a five office space and I say I want to spend, you know no more than $10,000. It’s really easy to look at couches and chairs and quickly fill up that budget right away. Whereas I like to look at it from a singular office or room perspective and think of how much do I want to spend in this office to furnish it. And then I can more easily stay within my budget as I’m looking for, you know, the furniture that goes in there, the lighting, the artwork and all that stuff. I find that I stay within budget, and sometimes even under budget when I’m working at that level. So that’s just a tip, for those of you that are more budget minded is coming up with an individual room budget for your office versus like one kind of global one you can work your way backwards, obviously. And if you have like a total budget, you can break it down then by room.
When I’m thinking about furnishing an office space, there are certain things to me that are the most important things that I’m willing to spend on and then other things that I then go budget on. You might work differently depending on what your practice is like and what you’re like. You might, you know, want to have the best of the best for everything, from artwork, to furniture to side tables to lamps. And then some of you might be more budget friendly all around, you know, being almost 10 years into having a group practice, I am sort of in the middle. I have two things that I’m willing to splurge on. Actually, one thing I should say–one and a half–the one thing that I splurge on is the therapist chair. I find that since our staff is sitting all day long, in the same chair, whereas clients are sitting for just an hour and getting up and leaving, I spend the most on our therapist chairs. I get mine from West Elm, they’re called the Carlo chair, I’m obsessed with them. They’re so comfy. You can go into a West Elm and actually sit on it and feel it for yourself. But we have such a hard time finding a chair that fits all the needs of the you know, the different bodies that we have. So I love that chair works really well for our practice, and everyone loves it. And it took a really long time for us to get to a place where we had a chair that fit, you know, sort of the needs of everyone. It has good back support. It’s deep enough, it’s wide enough, it’s soft and hard enough, it’s just an all around, perfect chair and really fits our style.
And then everything else. So for the client couches, that’s my one and a half, I say I spend the most on one and a half things. That’s the therapist chairs, the one and the half is the client chair, or the client couch. So because we have so many butts that sit in the couch, normally, I don’t want to spend, you know, a million dollars on a couch, because couches are going to be replaced more often than probably anything else in the therapist’s office just because there’s so much use. and there’s so much up and down, families sitting on it, people spilling on it, that for me, I’ve decided that I want something that’s comfortable. So I’m not getting like an uncomfortable super cheap couch. But I’m also not going to spend a million dollars on a couch. Because even if we have clients that are taking, you know, being really careful in the office space one, I don’t want them to have to be thinking about that. But to just by nature of having clients coming in and out families and kids coming in and out and sitting on it, it’s not going to last long. So that’s a choice that I’ve made–that the couches for the clients are going to be comfortable, but kind of in the middle price point space.
So I actually have an Ikea couch that we use, they’re really comfortable. They’re like, I don’t know, $800 or something like that. So they’re not super cheap. But they’re also not very expensive. And they’re pretty durable and they’ve lasted us a long enough time for it to be worth it for us. And then everything else for me in my practice is more about that it goes with our branding and style and vibe of the practice as a whole. But I do all of that, from artwork to pillows to side tables and lamps and all that super budget, it’s more about–and this is where it kind of becomes a game for me to find really thrifty pieces that go with our overall theme and decor. But that aren’t expensive. So I’m not getting the most expensive things. I spend a lot of my time–one, I’m lucky I have my mom who likes to build a lot of our furniture and uses scrap pieces of wood. So our side tables and coffee tables, and some of our therapist desks even are made by her, which then are you know, obviously, much cheaper. And then a lot of our artwork and just table decorations and pillows and bookshelves and all those things, I’m getting at, you know, places like home goods and TJ Maxx and IKEA and online at some stores.
But my purpose for all those is to make sure that I stay under that budget.
So I have a budget of around $2,000 per office room. The Carlo chair comes up to like $800, the couch comes out to around $900 I’ll say with tax and all that. And then you know, I have just a $500 or so probably, I probably say it’s either $2000 or $2500 that I spent per office. But pretty much I have like maybe $500 left for all of the artwork, the pillows, the blanket, the therapists desk, a couple of lamps, some, you know, artwork and things that go on the bookshelves and we usually have a little bookshelf in each office for therapists to put their stuff. And so that’s how I do it from a budget perspective. And I find that I really stay within my budget and don’t feel like I’ve kind of gone off the deep end financially at the end of a large office redesign, or if I grow into a new office space.
Now, from a perspective of style, I think we obviously all have different styles. And mine is kind of like this modern farmhouse tea vibe. But part of when I started my practice was that I wanted–and this is, when I was solo–I had said that I wanted each office to feel like a living room. Like you were going into your friend’s living room to sit and talk because to me, like that best friend that you have, like sitting in a comfortable living room. That kind of just living room feel, gives me the the feeling of like openness to talk, to feel safe. And so each of our offices has the feel of it being like its own little living room. So that made it easier for me in terms of what the style was going to look like, to sort of be able to replicate that in each office.
I have a really nice tip is when thinking about decorating an office space, maybe because it can get overwhelming, especially as you’re growing. So we have four locations, most of our locations have, or all of our locations have at least 10 offices or more inside of the rooms. And it can get really overwhelming to like, decorate each one and not have them all look identical. Also, it gets hard to like make them all look so different, because there’s only so much you can do. So what I’ve done is I have staple pieces that are in every office. And then to make them look a little bit different, I have other pieces that I then change up office to office. So like I mentioned, I use the Carlo chair in each therapist office. But I have three different colors of that chair, because they have a ton of colors. When I buy for an office, like a 10 office space, I’ll get like three of one color two of another color and two of another color. What does that 6,7,8, 9,10 that’s done. So it’s not like a cookie cutter, every room looks identical. Because I think you know, at least for our vibe, that would be weird. But it gives it enough of a feel like that going from office to office, there’s a similarity to it, but not too much.
So we have the same chairs in every room. But we kind of trade between a couple of different colors of that chair. The couch is exactly the same in all of the rooms. But we have it in two colors. And so some are like a minty green, and some are gray, but the exact same chair. And then all of the offices get a similar type of rug, but they have different designs on them. They have, it’s more of like a black and white themed rugs. But they all have a little bit of a different design on them. But I know: black and white rugs, with the Carlo chair, and the IKEA couch. And then everything else can be whatever I find that I like. And even though they might have different side tables and different desks, because some of those core pieces are a similar style, it really makes it easy to translate from room to room and feel like it’s all kind of going together with a theme and a brand.
So I don’t know, I feel like that’s the process that I go through. That feels really simple. And it helps with me not getting overwhelmed when I have to furnish like a ten office space, which is what we’re doing now in our fourth location, I already know where I need to go to furnish the two main things, which is the therapist chair and the client couch. And then everything else, you know, I go to my usual suspect places and grab whatever fits the theme, but is also you know more on the budget side. Because like I had mentioned before, I like to stay within that 2500 per room space.
So I’d love to hear if you have any sort of process for expanding the physical space and how you either budget or organize the decorating of your office spaces. I know it feels overwhelming for a lot of people, especially if decorating or interior design isn’t your you know your thing! So I’d love to hear–send me a message or tag me in the Facebook group and let me know something that works for you if you have like a process that works for you when you’re expanding or growing into new locations when it comes to budgeting and decorating your offices.
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Thanks For Listening
Thanks for listening to the group practice exchange podcast. Like what you heard? Give us five stars on whatever platform you’re listening from. Need extra suppor? Join The Exchange, a membership community just for group practice owners with monthly office hours, live webinars, and a library of trainings ready for you to dive into visit www dot members dot the group practice exchange dot com forward slash exchange. See you next week.
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Meet your host
Maureen Werrbach is a psychotherapist, group practice owner and group practice coach. Learn more about her coaching services here:
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