First, declutter everything: your files and office supplies, treatment room supplies and products, decorative items, and anything else that you feel doesn’t belong. We often buy things with good intentions and with our current goals in mind. However, things change and it’s important to let things that no longer serve us go so that we can make room for new experiences. Check with your state board and accountant to see how long you need to hold onto paperwork items. Consider storing them off site if they are rarely needed.
Next, refresh your studio with a good deep cleaning a couple of times a year. It’s amazing how dust and dirt can gather in unseen places. Move the furniture and get your cleaning on! Cleaning can even be fun—crank up your favorite music or podcast and get into the zone. Don’t forget your windows—inside and out. You can even arrange for professional carpet cleaning if it’s in the budget.
Now we are ready for the fun part—making some changes to create your unique treatment space. It helps to look at your office from a fresh perspective. I recommend going outside and walking through your clients’ experience. from the front entryway to being on the table. As you go, note anything that might not make a great first impression or that you’ve been meaning to update or upgrade. Make your dream list, don’t worry about your budget at this point.
Look at things like: the condition of your supplies (pens, clipboards, sheets, and bathroom supplies), your storage solutions, furnishing, decorative items, and artwork. You may be used to these things—and they may be perfectly adequate—but are they giving off a message that might not be ideal? For example, a piece of art with a positive meaning to you might make someone else feel uncomfortable. It’s a good idea to just check in on these things from time to time and make your own personal decision about what is best for your space and your ideal clients.
Consider some of these updates and upgrades to refresh your studio:
- Color There is nothing like a fresh coat of paint or an accent wall to make a big impact for a small investment. Other ways to bring in color include: curtains, artwork, blankets, table cloths, or rugs. You can even hang long curtains over a wall to create color and add softness. A pretty rug can be placed over existing carpet (BONUS—the carpet stays cleaner). A tablecloth over a small table creates a pretty look with extra storage underneath.
- Lighting Updated lighting can change the look of a room for just a few dollars. Try lightbulbs with a soft pink glow, lamps you can easily switch on and off before and after a session, or LED candles with rechargeable batteries for instant atmosphere.
- Artwork In a therapeutic space, the artwork should be relaxing and neutral. Think nature scenes, flowers, birds, or colorful abstract art. People sometimes react strongly to art, a print of children playing on a beach may seem great to you, but to a woman who has lost a child it might be distressing. We can only do our best with this because anything could potentially be distressing, but there are neutral choices. If you have anatomy posters hanging up, consider framing them or ordering a new set if yours are getting worn out.
- Storage Do you need to upgrade any of your storage solutions or regularly used items? A massage table skirt creates under-the-table storage and an upscale look at the same time. How are your sheets, towels, and headrest covers looking? Check each item to see if it needs updated.
Where to find the supplies to update and upgrade your space
There are many ways to save money and get creative when you refresh your studio. Check Craigslist.com and Facebook marketplace regularly for furnishings, artwork, and even treatment room supplies. I’ve purchased nice waiting room chairs at Goodwill, and even found an infrared sauna on Facebook marketplace. Wall stickers or stencils can create a gorgeous mural at a bargain price. You can even shop in your house, repurposing things you already own as fresh office decor.
If you just don’t have a knack for decorating, you probably have a friend or family member who does. Take a few photos and ask for some feedback. Keep in mind that your space still needs to reflect you and the vibe and atmosphere you want to create, whether that is a relaxing spa escape or a professional medical massage office.