Art For Therapist Offices: How To Choose Your Decor

A therapist office tastefully decorated.

The subconscious can pick up on a lot of things, interpreting our surroundings in ways we’re hardly aware of. When a client steps into your office, their subconscious will automatically start viewing and assessing your office, making assumptions.

Artwork can help make sure that the initial impression is a good one, and that the client feels supported in the office space. In this guide, we’ve provided some tips for choosing the right art for your therapist office. 

Why Is Art Important For A Therapist Office?

A therapist office should be a supportive environment, and the artwork and décor are essential to creating that feeling. When a client is in the space, they should feel calm, supported, and welcomed. 

Blank walls, or an office with no personality, can send out the wrong message to a client. And with nowhere to put their focus during a difficult conversation, they might struggle to open up.

Carefully chosen artworks can help foster a connection between you and the client, and encourage the natural flow of conversation. 

Tips For Choosing Art For The Therapist Office

Below, we’ve covered some guidelines to follow when choosing artwork for your therapist office. However, don’t forget to respond to the space in question, and choose art that works with the room. 

Prioritize Natural Colors

Research shows that natural and earthy tones, such as blues, greens, and browns, can help us to feel relaxed. They remind us of our connection to the outdoors, and help the body and the mind to feel serene. By selecting artwork in these colors, you can imbue the office with a sense of calm.

Natural landscapes and artworks can offer clients a calming place to focus during a difficult session. If landscapes aren’t your thing, consider botanical artwork.

Avoid anything too busy, as this can become overwhelming in an office space. For example, a jungle scene is unlikely to have the same calming connotations as a meadow.

Create Positive Distractions

Artwork for a therapist office doesn’t have to simply fade into the background. Instead, look for artworks that offer positive distractions during challenging conversations. The client can then focus on the image, allowing areas of the brain to relax as they navigate complex subjects.

Calm scenes that invite the viewer in can be used to create a focal point in the office. Look for artworks that you can imagine yourself in, offering the client a place to retreat.

Choose Work You Like

Your clients might be the priority, but you’re the person who will be spending the most time in the office. The artwork you choose should be something that you’re happy to look at day in and day out. 

If you think a piece of art would look good on your walls, but you don’t enjoy looking at it, then it’s not the right choice. Bad artwork could end up distracting you, when your focus should be on the client.

An office in a private practice with decorations.


Think Outside The Box

We might traditionally think of paintings and canvases when choosing art for a therapist office, but these aren’t your only choices. Instead, look into textiles, such as tapestries and wall hangings, that can decorate the wall and add personality to the space.

Mirrors can also be a good option, particularly mirrors with decorative and attractive frames. Adding a large mirror to your room can increase the level of light, and help a space feel airy. However, be careful with your placement! The mirror shouldn’t reflect anyone during a session.

If a client can see themselves in the mirror, they’re likely to feel distracted and self conscious. Similarly, if the mirror reflects you, you might feel self conscious, and the client might feel targeted.

If you have a big office space, you might prefer to use shelving, and avoid large canvases. Neat shelves can help make the room feel smaller, and more personal, while a massive canvas might come across as overwhelming.

Show Personality

There’s a tricky balance to creating an office space that’s personal without becoming too personal. Your artwork should display something of who you are, while keeping boundaries intact and the focus on the client.

Choose pieces that you genuinely like when decorating your office. A few decorations that you’ve bought from home can add a touch of personality, without dominating the space.

Basic “hotel” art has its place, but if the room is too generic, it can send the wrong message to a client. The space should help the client feel humanized, and bland artwork can ruin this welcoming effect. 

Hang Art Low

Interior designers tend to complain that artwork is placed too high, and that it should be 57 inches from the floor as standard. In a therapist office, style conventions aren’t the most important feature, but it is worth considering placement. 

If the artwork is too high, it can feel a little unsettling, and the subconscious can pick up that something is not quite right. Remember, both you and the client will be sat down during the session, so check how the art looks from various chairs. 

Avoid Family Photographs

Your chosen artwork should show personality, but avoid anything that gets too personal. This is important for maintaining the boundaries between you and the client. Family photos should be kept at home, or out of sight.

It might seem like an innocuous family photo, but it opens the door to unwanted personal questions.

Finish With Clocks

They aren’t exactly art, but it’s important to save room for clocks when decorating the room. There should be two clocks in any therapists’ office: one for the therapist to see, and one for the client.

Avoid clocks with a tick, as these can be distracting and off putting for the client. Aim for simplicity—a quick glance should show you the time. 

Final Thoughts

Artwork for a therapist office should help the client feel relaxed in the space. Earth tones and natural elements can offer a calming focal point for the client, but don’t forget to add some personal touches. The artwork should contribute to creating a room that both you and your clients feel comfortable in.

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