Three ways to design on a dime

September 17, 2018
Heather E. Lewis, AIA, NCARB
Heather E. Lewis, AIA, NCARB

Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, is a partner at Animal Arts, an architecture firm in Boulder, Colorado and frequent HospitalDesign360 conference speaker. She's a lighting geek and a (seriously) devoted advocate of minimizing pets' stress and anxiety during their veterinary visits. She has designed practices and shelters that range in size from 1,200 square feet to 110,000 square feet. During grad school (as a break from architorture) she trained miniature horses to pull carts!

Keeping your veterinary hospital tidy and welcoming is easier (and cheaper) than you think.

If you've caught yourself feeling downtrodden about the state of your hospital's interior-and feeling even worse when thinking of how much money it would cost to get said interior back into your good graces-don't fret. You and your wallet can rest easy with these simple tips to get your hospital looking alive and well again.

Refined and re-furnished  

One of the first things you can easily do without harming your budget is updating your furnishing. Purchasing things from Ikea when you have a modest budget is always cost-conscious. Clients should walk into a welcoming clinic, and that can be made simply and cost-effectively if you know where to look. I recommend checking out websites like art.com for affordable artwork to update your space. If you go about it in a thoughtful way, you can get something really nice that makes a big difference in your interior.

Big client service for a small price

Never underestimate the power of a coffee bar, big or small. Offering your clients something to eat or drink while they wait, or even an area to entertain their (human) children is easier than you think to incorporate into your practice. It could even be as simple as buying an adorable cookie jar and colored plates that make clients feel like they're at home.

Spruce it up

Other major things that can be done to your clinic for minor cash? Repaint and declutter. You don't notice how dingy your paint gets until you freshen it up-you'd be surprised how much it improves your space. Decluttering, on the other hand, is a time-sensitive thing. Right now, there's a popular book called Goodbye Things that I highly recommend. Get rid of the things you don't need, update your storage system, keep your floors clear and keep your spaces tidy.

An added bonus for you to consider is your own mental space. Don't forget to care for yourself alongside your hospital. You have a silent to-do list, and if you get rid of it all, your mental clutter goes away too. For a hospital, that's part of making a nice space.

Heather Lewis, AIA, NCARB, is a partner at Animal Arts, an architecture firm in Boulder, Colorado and frequent HospitalDesign360 conference speaker. She's a lighting geek and a (seriously) devoted advocate of minimizing pets' stress and anxiety during their veterinary visits. She has designed practices and shelters that range in size from 1,200 square feet to 110,000 square feet. During grad school (as a break from “architorture”) she trained miniature horses to pull carts!