How do you maintain consistency throughout multiple offices in a group practice? What are some office essentials for client comfort? Why should you try to use what you have first when changing your office?
In this podcast episode, Alison Pidgeon speaks with Kris Smith about Designing Offices for a Group Therapy Practice.
Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision
We made it another year and now it’s time to jumpstart your practice and gear up for a successful 2022. What are the first steps to bringing in more of your ideal clients? Having a great website and marketing your private practice online.
Whether you’re a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh, or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution.
And, during the entire month of January, they’re running their biggest sale of the year!
For the entire month of January, they’re completely waiving all setup fees and only charging $39/month for your entire first year of a new website – that’s a savings of $240 for your first year of website service with Brighter Vision.
All you have to do is go to brightervision.com/joe to learn more and take advantage of this great deal.
Meet Kris Smith
Kris is a licensed marriage & family therapist in Orange County, CA, and owner of Village Wellness Center, a group psychotherapy practice that provides help for the whole family. Kris has worked in the mental health field for over 20 years but it was only after leaving her work in county programs that she was able to focus on her true passion: helping women and mothers through the struggles of perinatal mood & anxiety disorders, women’s issues, and the everyday challenges of life.
Although her practice, Mother Warrior Counseling, had become a recognized & trusted name for support in her area, Kris wanted to expand her reach and help the whole family. She transitioned to a group practice, hired a team of therapists to work with, renamed the company Village Wellness Center, and is now able to serve four times the amount of clients.
Connect with Kris on LinkedIn.
In This Podcast
- Use what you have first
- Maintaining consistency in multiple office spaces
- Must-haves for each office
Use what you have first
In redecorating an office space, use what you already have first. Sometimes all a space needs is for one piece of furniture to be moved or rearranged for the flow of the office to improve.
If you start from scratch, then you have to completely reimagine the room. This can take a lot longer and be more expensive than simply finding a new way to use what is already there.
Look for an inspiration piece to start with. Find something small that you can focus on and uniquely integrate into the space to spark your creativity.
Maintaining consistency in multiple office spaces
Start with the reception area because that will set the tone for the rest of the office space.
The reception area to me is like the initial impression. That’s what people are going to see [first] … when they’re there, that’s where they are going to settle in and get comfortable with being there in the first place. (Kris Smith)
Set the tone for comfort from the beginning so that by the time the clients arrive in the therapy room, they feel at ease.
Each room can be different but fall under the same or similar style to maintain consistency.
Must-haves for each office
- A desk
- A comfortable office chair
- Lamps for ambient light instead of bright overhead light
- Comfortable couches
- A rug to soften the room, create a homey feeling, and assist with soundproofing
- A coffee table or side table for beverages and tissues
I wanted a [couch] space big enough so that if I saw a couple or a family that they could comfortably sit and not feel cramped or … separated, [so] I think about [the] dynamic of the people I am working with as well. (Kris Smith)
Consider the needs of your patients so that you can accommodate them as much as possible. Think about spaces, comfort, and safety.
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Check out the Brighter Vision Sales. For the entire month of January, they’re completely waiving all setup fees and charging only $39/month for your entire first year of a new website!
- For inspired office-space design and great interior ideas try Therasuite!
- Visit the Village Wellness Center website and email them at: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Connect with them on Facebook and Instagram
- Connect with Kris on LinkedIn
Check out these additional resources:
- Lori Miller is both a Therapist and Interior Designer | GP 103
- Group Practice Launch
- Group Practice Boss: www.practiceofthepractice.com/grouppracticeboss $149 a month
- Email Alison: email@example.com
- PoP Group Practice Owners Facebook Group
- Free resources to help you start, grow, and scale
- Work with us
- Consult With Alison
- Alison Pidgeon on Therapy for Your Money Podcast
- Practice of the Practice Network
Meet Alison Pidgeon, Group Practice Owner
Alison Pidgeon, LPC is the owner of Move Forward Counseling, a group practice in Lancaster, PA and she runs a virtual assistant company, Move Forward Virtual Assistants.
Alison has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016. She has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs start and grow their businesses, through mastermind groups and individual consulting.
Transformation From A Private Practice To Group Practice
In addition, she is a private practice consultant for Practice of the Practice. Allison’s private practice ‘grew up.’ What started out as a solo private practice in early 2015 quickly grew into a group practice and has been expanding ever since.
Thanks For Listening!
Hi and welcome. I’m Alison Pidgeon. I’m excited that you have joined me today. We are in the middle of a podcast series. We’re doing about six episodes where we’re talking all about interior design in therapy office spaces. Today I have interviewed a fellow group practice owner named Kris Smith. She’s a licensed marriage and family therapist in Orange County, California. She owns the Village Wellness Center and has a team of therapists helping the whole family. So I really enjoyed interviewing Kris because she had lots of good ideas and talks about how she tried to make her office feel cohesive. I think one of the challenges with decorating a multiple office suite is how do you not make it seem hodgepodge and you want it to feel cohesive and to flow and to have similar things from one room to the next. So Kris does a really nice job of talking about that.
In case you interested in getting some inspiration or you’re needing help to furnish and decorate a new office, I have a new website that I’ve launched Thera Suite. Thera Suite is a resource for therapy owners who either want to buy a board full of all of the furniture and décor items that they would need to furnish an office, or they can directly contact an interior designer who can design a custom office just for them. So if you want to check that out, it’s at www.thera-suite.com. So it’s T-H-E-R-A – S-U-I-T-E.com. I’m really excited about it. It’s something I worked on for most of last year and it’s finally ready and we get to launch it into the world. So that’s why we’re doing all of these podcast episodes talking all about interior design because I love it and it’s one of my favorite things. I think if I hadn’t become a therapist or a business owner, I probably would’ve become an interior designer. So I love talking about all this stuff and I hope that you enjoy my interview with Kris Smith.
[ALISON] Hi, Kris, welcome to the podcast.
[KRIS SMITH] Hi, thanks.
[ALISON] I’m so glad you’re here. Before we get started with our topic today, could you give us an introduction of you and your practice?
[KRIS] Absolutely. So my name is Kris Smith. Can I just go by Kris Smith because that’s a mouthful? I have a group practice, a group psychotherapy practice in San Juan, Capano, California and we’re down in South Orange County. Our practice is called the Village Wellness Center and I have about four other therapists, three pre-licensed and one licensed therapist that work for me here in the group. We focus on all kinds of different things. I started in maternal mental health but now we’ve opened it up to more family centered care. So we treat everybody in the family.
[ALISON] Nice. That sounds great. The reason I wanted you to come on the podcast is because I know you have an interest in decorating and it sounds like you just got finished furnishing and decorating some offices. I think that’s always a challenge for a lot of practice owners to figure out how they’re going to furnish their off this and obviously they want to make it look nice for their clients and their staff. There’s a lot of tips and tricks around picking out the things that are going to work the best for the type of work that we do. So, yes, maybe we could just start off talking about maybe what your process is for, you know you have maybe a couple empty offices, like what’s your first step in thinking about filling them up?
[KRIS] What to do about that? We just moved into a four office suite. So the challenge was definitely to figure out, okay, what do I do with this space? Typically it’s just been me and I can decorate my own space and that seems fine, but I also felt like I needed to now meet four very distinct personalities as well as also think about, well, what is the feel in the whole center that I’m trying to go for, what was important to me, but also important to my team?
I’ve loved office decorating for probably 20 years. I got into just really wanting to organize offices and make it very comfortable and so it’s always been somewhat of a side gig for me, a side passion for me. When I can do it I love it. So this was a big challenge for me having in these four offices and so we started out really, I started out very small at first, just did my office, did the reception area and did one other office for my other therapist just to get a feel. I went from a 100 square foot office space that had very little furniture, because not much fit in there and then I go into this 2000 square foot office space and I’m trying to now use what I have to get into this, to try and start this space.
It’s so funny to me when you think of going to something big and you’ve got like what your furniture feels very small now, because it comes from a smaller place. So it was quite interesting. But let’s see, so the way that I got started with it, one of the things that I do when I first get started with decorating is I try and just stay in the space for a while. I find myself just going from room to room most times and closing my eyes and trying to imagine what this room might look like. It takes me a bit, it takes me a bit of time to do that, but I like the flow of that. I like the process of that. I like the ideas that come to mind.
Once I have an idea I start with what I have. So my first thing that I do is I will look at every piece of furniture decoration whatever’s happening around me that is currently here within, in my possession. I will use that stuff first. Typically what I have found in any situation where I decorated an office or reorganized somebody’s office is I want to use what they already have. Sometimes it’s just about going in and putting something in a new spot for somebody or shifting the flow of the office so that it just feels different.
Sometimes that’s really all a space needs but when starting from scratch, you have to think of what’s the bigger picture going to look like? What’s the main idea you’re going for? So what I tend to do first is find an inspiration piece. I’ll go into the spaces, I’ll look at what I’ve got, I’ll put it in a space and if it’s something that I really like, or maybe something like I can’t get rid of that small couch because I don’t want to have to buy another small couch, I’m how can I work with this small couch and create something that’s different?
I’ll take one piece and it doesn’t matter usually what it is. It could be a current piece of furniture that I already have that I just like. It could be something that’s more functional and I don’t want to get rid of, and I don’t want to have to replace it. Whatever that is. It can be small. Like I used one time, a planter for a desk. It was like a desk plant that I had and I looked at the planter and I just thought, okay, it was a unique little planter and it didn’t like, it wasn’t especially important to me, but here was something about it that I thought, okay, I might be able to use this. Then in another office I used one piece of wall art and I just put it up and then I figured, well, okay, well what can I do with this? So I try and use an inspiration piece that tends to be pretty helpful.
[ALISON] I was just going to say, I think that’s great advice because I have found myself doing similar things when I’m deciding what to do with a space. I think if you find especially something that has maybe several different colors in it, like a piece of art or a rug and then pulling those colors out and repeating them a few different times in the room, making sure you have pillows that are that color or a flower arrangement or whatever it is, that was one of the tips I learned is just to have color repeat in the space. So then it feels like cohesive.
[KRIS] It feels like it flows. Like if you’ve got, even if it’s a small little color in, let’s say an area rug, maybe there’s multiple colors in an area rug, but there’s one particular color that maybe that’s not highlighted as much in that area rug. I may pull that color and think, okay, how can I make that stand out more? I have an area rug in one of the room and it’s got just this little bit of gold in it. I thought, well, it was a really pretty little bit of gold, but there wasn’t very much. So I thought, well, how can I pull that color out and have it be more present because it just seemed like a very, it was a nice color to look at, it felt comforting, it was really nice. So yes, pulling a color and putting it around the space is a great way to start. It gives you an idea of where to go right with it all.
[ALISON] So once you get a sense of, I like what you said about you spend some time in the space and really think about, know how could it probably, how could it function as well as, how could it look. Then do you decide then on a style or do you have just a style you really love and you just automatically know like I want it to be mid-century modern or I want it to be this or that?
[KRIS] Well, I’ve not, I don’t really know all the interior design lingo, so I could never tell you like this is mid-century modern. I could never say I know coastal. I mean, because, we’re coastal down here in Orange County and I get the beach feel and we’re close to the beach and I like that coastal look, but I don’t really have, it’s interesting, I don’t really find myself having a specific style I tend to grab towards. It’s more of a feeling that I have. So if I feel comfortable in the space, no matter where it’s headed, then it just seems to work.
A perfect example is in this new space that I have, that’s got these four different offices. It turns out completely unplanned this way. Each office is extremely different from the other and it wasn’t intended that way. I just started putting stuff into the space based off of whatever would inspire me in that space and it just came to be. What I found even more interesting is that with my employees, with my other therapists they each have gravitated towards one of the offices because for some reason it met what they were comfortable with. I thought that is really interesting rather than having this, not necessarily cookie cutter feel in the whole space. There’s a vibe in this, in the whole space. There’s a general flow, but if you walk into each office, it’s very different.
My office tends to be more cozy, more homey because that’s what makes me feel good and that’s why I’m here in my office all day. There’s one office that’s more of a holistic office, it turned out to be. I found this Buddha, beautiful Buddha painting. I got it for free and I put it on the wall and it just became that office. Then one office was, I started by spray painting this very random copper gold color onto a table I had found, I had purchased off Facebook marketplace and the office that turned out to be more of the contemporary office.
Then in my fourth office I started with a mirror that I purchased on Facebook marketplace. This is my go-to, Facebook marketplace, found this beautiful pottery barn mirror that I got for $20 and it had this nautical theme. I put it up on the wall and it turned in, everything became a coastal feel. So they’re very different, which I’m still, I still look at and think how did that happen? But it just happened and it was very cohesive, one office to the next, without it being very cookie cutter.
[ALISON] How do you still make it feel cohesive even though it sounds like each office has its own style? Are there similar colors? Is that what ties them together?
[KRIS] No. You would think so. You would think that there would be something. I think in this particular space, what tends to make it feel that way is that there’s a separate reception area. So that is a very, just a cozy but professional space. Then there’s a long hallway that just has a nice long runner, one of those long area rug, runner rugs. That sets the scene, I feel like, and then as they move into these spaces, they’re not so abrupt because of their differences. They’re still, you walk into them and you wouldn’t feel shocked that this is like crazy different than the next, but it’s like a theme room. It almost feels like each room is a theme room. So people walk into it and what we keep hearing is that it also fits them.
It’s a strange occurrence. It’s harder to explain, but I think that’s what allows for, you set the tone in the reception area and then as they walk in through down the hallway, doesn’t really matter what they’re walking into, being so different. It’s just is because maybe they’re already feeling good in the reception area. So the reception area to me is like that initial impression. That’s where people are going to see. That’s what they’re going to feel when they’re in there. That’s where they’re going to settle in and get comfortable with being there in the first place. Then as they go into the offices, I think they’re already in that space, that head space of, okay, I’m here. I’m ready to do some work I’m ready to, and wherever they’re sitting they are comfortable.
[BRIGHER VISION] We made it another year and now it’s time to jumpstart your practice, this and gear up for a successful 2022. What are the first steps to bringing in more of your ideal clients? Having a great website and marketing your private practice online? Whether you are a seasoned clinician with a website in need of a refresh or you’re fresh out of school needing your very first therapist website, Brighter Vision is the perfect solution. During the entire month of January, they’re running their biggest sale of the year.
For the entire month of January, they’re completely waving all set fees and only charging $39 a month for your entire first year of a new website. That’s a savings of $240 for your first year of website service with Brighter Vision. All you have to do is go to brightervision.com/joe to learn more and take advantage of this great deal. That’s brightervision.com/joe.
[ALISON PIDGEON] I’m curious if you had it to do over again, would you still make each office different or would you make them more similar or do you think there’s pros and cons to both?
[KRIS] It’s interesting you asked that question because after they were finished, I asked myself that question because I was so intrigued by how different they naturally just organically became. I thought to myself, because I tend to be one that moves stuff around a lot, like if I’m in a space for too long, like when I stayed home with my kids before I went back to work, my husband would complain all the time because he’d always come home and there’d be a new something that would be in a new spot? Because the more I’m in a space, the more I feel like there’s a better place for that. I should put this chair with this chair. Could be restlessness or it could have been creativity. I don’t really know which one it is.
But after this finish, I did have that initial feeling of, there was part of me that felt maybe I should have pulled the theme through every office that was congruent, that felt similar colors and similar feel. But when my team picked this all office, they gravitated towards a certain office. I felt like, no, this happened the way it was supposed to happen. This is the way that organically came about and they’re very happy with feeling like it’s because it’s not all about me. There was that piece of me that thought about that as well, like this office space, isn’t mine. It’s just all mine, it’s a team and everybody on my team is different. So I really like that it came out that way. So I wouldn’t have changed it. Wouldn’t go back and change it.
[ALISON] Yes, that’s cool. I would say my office is definitely the same style, but every room is different, has different furniture, but still probably similar colors and all the walls. The wall colors are all the same too.
[KRIS] All of our wall colors are the same as well. When I actually found this place, all the walls were already painted this really soothing, grayish blue. I thought, well, this is just a perfect wall color. Just going to leave it in every single room. So it worked.
[ALISON] I mean that may be one reason why it feels tied together.
[KRIS] That could be, I didn’t think about that.
[ALISON] When you are looking at furnishing an office, are there certain must-haves that you buy for every single office? Do you have a list of particular things that you know you need?
[KRIS] Well, I don’t necessarily have a list, but in my mind, I already know. I feel like I’ve been working in offices for over 30 years and you already get an idea. You need the basics, you need a desk, you need a chair, but in our kinds of office, for the work that we do you need more homelike furniture too. I prefer natural lighting. I prefer, with lamps and such, we don’t use overheads. So lamps are a key item. If I had a list, lamps were on my list for sure. Couches are always on the list for what we do.
[ALISON] Did you buy full size couches or love seats?
[KRIS] It depends on the space. When I had my first space, which was just that a hundred square foot space, I couldn’t buy a full sized couch, but I found what seems, it’s a loveseat, but it seems a little bigger than a loveseat. So at that point I was just getting what I could to furnish this space. So spots, if it fit, that was great. Now I get, I try and also size the furniture. So the couches that we have right now, I’ve measured the wall space and made sure that it wasn’t an overwhelming couch or it wasn’t an underwhelming couch. I wanted a space also big enough that if I had, if I saw a couple or if even I saw a family that they could comfortably sit and not feel cramed or not feel like the one’s in a chair, maybe they’re feeling separated.
So I think about what’s the dynamic of the people I’m working with as well and what are their needs? But I liked, with couches in particular, that’s the one piece of furniture that I always try my best when I can to make an investment in, because I think that the comfort of the couch is also going to help. I think a lot about my clients and I think about making sure that they are also comfortable and that they feel safe and that that’s important that they have a nice place to sit and spend an hour. It’s a long time you’re thinking about sitting down for an hour.
[ALISON] Yes, I agree. I think it’s important to invest in the couch.
[KRIS] The one thing that I would invest more in is a good office chair, like a desk chair because now with telehealth, we’re at our desk so much that if you don’t have a good office chair, it can become quite uncomfortable if you’re doing session after session of telehealth and you haven’t moved quite a lot. So never thought of that one before, but now that one’s becoming a little more important. Then have a therapist chair as you’re sitting with your client.
[ALISON] Do you tend to put a rug in the room even if it already has carpeting?
[KRIS] Every time?
[ALISON] Me too.
[KRIS] Carpeting is not usually great looking in most offices. I like the homey feel, it adds some, an element of comfort, I think, a good area rug, but not a good one where it’s, like I wouldn’t go and spend a ton of money on a beautiful, expensive rug just because the practicality and the use, the using of it. They get worn down. When I see moms, I allow them to bring their kids when they need to. So I’m constantly finding Cheerios and snacks and stuff all over the carpet, which is fines because I didn’t, that’s one of the reasons I didn’t buy a brand new rug because I knew that was going to fit what I needed.
[ALISON] And do you put a coffee table in the room typically or is that a no-no for you?
[KRIS] I know for some it’s a no-no. I like a coffee table. I think, again adds an element of comfort and warmth. I don’t view it, I know some people view it as a barrier between the therapist and the client. I don’t feel that way. I feel like people feel comfortable behind coffee tables. I think they’re used to coffee tables. Open spaces feel very uncomfortable, but I also, again looking at the practicality of my furnishings and who I see, I have a coffee table that is easily moved, can be climbed on if necessary by a child, can be curled through. I found it on Facebook marketplace. It just happened that way. But in my other offices I definitely have a little coffee table there. It helps.
[ALISON] Think it does too, especially because it’s a really great place for them. If they have a drink, they can set it down and also keep the tissues there.
[ALISON] I’m a big fan of the coffee table too.
[KRIS] Are you? Yes, I like them. I tried it without once and it felt awkward. So for my style, it didn’t fit.
[ALISON] As long as you have space, I think, we have hundred square foot office ones and there was no space for a coffee table.
[ALISON] Well, that’s great. Is there anything in particular that you don’t think that people should put in a therapy office, like maybe you’ve seen examples of things other people have done and you think, “Oh no. Why did you do that?”
[KRIS] I would say that I’ve ever looked at somebody’s space and item wise had that thought of, I wouldn’t have done that. If sometimes I look at spaces and I might wonder why they decorated them a certain way, I mean, but stylistically, I think that that was where my comments might be coming from, is I wouldn’t have styled it that way, but that always seemed to be their style. So that fit for them. It was never that what, you know there’s, I don’t know if it’s controversy or a lot of discussion about personal items in an office space.
Before I became a therapist, I loved having personal items in my office. It made me feel comfortable. It made me feel at home. I could have pictures of loved ones but then you become a therapist in your, at least I was constantly hearing that message of you don’t bring your personal life into the space and no pictures because that’s too personal. I worked in, before I started as a private practice owner, I worked in clinics. So I worked with, I had some pretty severe clientele that came into these clinics and there was a lot of concerns, a lot of them came from the court system and such. So there was also that idea of don’t put too much personal stuff out there for safety reasons, if anything.
So I think I got away from feeling the need to put pictures up because I felt like, okay, I can get that. This is separate work from my personal life. It was a way for me to hold that boundary for myself, keeping my personal life and my professional life separate. So I don’t do pictures in my office. That’s I think it’s just my own comfort level and so I think if I recommended that to people, I would feel comfortable recommending that for those reasons that I’ve shared.
I do however, have a couple of pieces of artwork from my kids. Nobody knows they’re from my kids. Well, one of them might seem a parent. My daughter did this painting that says, all it says is mom equals one’s mothers, like a definition. So I put that up and I thought, okay, that makes a lot of sense. So little pieces like that, that remind me of my kids or my family are, I think are fine. I think that they actually can probably make that space even more comfortable. The one thing I think I would recommend not doing is doing a lot of broken down or mix-matched, although financially for some, maybe that’s all they can do, but I find that when you throw pieces together in an office, like just random, because, I don’t know, maybe you’ve found it cheaper, you had —
[ALISON] Found them in your house.
[KRIS] Yes, but they don’t, there’s no flow in the office and it feels cramed in the office or it feels. Like you can see when effort is made and effort is not made in a space, I think. I have worked in practices where you go into the space and it just feels like everything was thrown together. For me it felt uncomfortable because I felt like if the client, if a client sees that, I would wonder how much value do they think you put in what you’re doing or in the space for them. Maybe they don’t care about it but in the sessions they ever seem affected by it, but for me it felt uncomfortable. So I would say avoid putting things in there that make you uncomfortable and try your best to put things in there that provide a sense of peace and comfort for you, because that’s how you’ll end up being in your sessions with people. If you’re comfortable, your clients are going to see that. They’re going to feel comfortable as well, is how I look at that.
[ALISON] I feel like that’s such a huge piece of the process when a client does come into your office to see that it is well laid out and the furniture is clean and all of those things. It’s amazing to me having come from community mental health, like that just wasn’t a thing. I think I had like this 20 year old, pink mov colored recliner in my office in community mental health and it was like steamed and it was just gross. You get an impression as a client when you come into a space like that. So, yes, I think people don’t always realize the importance of the space on the client’s experience.
[KRIS] And the therapist experience. Now that I have employees, it was other therapists that I also had to consider it. We felt very important that they also felt valued and that they felt like they could come in and have a workspace that they enjoyed and that they were comfortable in. They knew that I made effort to create this for them and that made them feel valued. That was also an important piece for me. It was more, it was always about my clients and my comfort, but now it’s about a whole team’s comfort and that’s important to me. I’ve been in places, I’ve been in group practices where there was a team and it didn’t matter not only what office you went into, but what that office had or looked like, or was how it was set up for you to be able to do a good job. If we’re not comfortable it’s hard to do our best work, I feel.
[ALISON] Yep. Absolutely. I know that, it sounds like you’re a DIY person and you like to find things on Facebook marketplace and put things together so it looks designed and cohesive and all of that stuff. So what are some of the tips that you have around finding pieces, whether it’s buying new things or finding new things? What have you learned from that experience?
[KRIS] Well, let’s see what I’ve learned. Although I love finding great secondhand treasures. I think they can absolutely be found on places like OfferUp and Facebook marketplace. I also use me and friends and family and I’ll use my own home sometimes when I think maybe I’ve stored away something that now, oh, wait, great. I can use it now. My husband’s not a big fan of things. I hold onto things too long, but there’s always, I always find a use for them and usually now it’s in my office.
There’s ways to get things that makes sense to you and makes sense to your space so you don’t always have to buy them new. As long as you’ve got some time, I think maybe for some people they don’t, they might not have the time or the energy or the ability to constantly be on the lookout on Facebook marketplace or one of those types of sites; but if you can, I have felt that you can find some really good treasures that people just because, maybe they’re just redecorating or they don’t need it anymore because it was outgrown or whatever. They put them up there and you can get it for really good prices, often negotiable.
The struggle and the tiring part of that is number one, looking constantly through these sites and trying to get something before someone else does. But then also what I have found Orange County is very spread out so even if you try and narrow your search to like 10 miles out from your home, that 10 miles feels like a very long drive when you’re just going to pick up a picture for like $5. So if you can hold onto that and stick with it and know that it’s for the better, is for a good cause then those little finds can be, I think they can be so great.
I love looking at all the little things and looking at it and going, I got that second hand and it looks beautiful and it looks perfect. And some things you can get for cheaper if you have a handiness about you and you like to maybe refinish things. Like I said, I bought these two matching beautiful metal tables on Facebook marketplace very cheap, but they needed to be painted. So I took each one and painted them a different color and they felt like new tables. If you can do that and you have the time and the ability, it’s a great side project as well.
If you can, I would recommend getting the things, investing the money into the things that are of value to you or you need to keep maybe for a long period of time. A couch to me was a good investment to purchase. I bought two new couches for this office because I already had one from my other office, which was in perfect shape. Then I bought another one off Facebook marketplace and I think that’s where I was like, no, I don’t think I’ll buy another couch off a secondhand site. It’s a great couch. It was actually just from a model home but it’s not the most comfortable.
So like, things that you learn as you acquire it. You’re like, but it doesn’t work the way it should. I’ve had many times where I have bought secondhand lamps and they haven’t worked like they should have. Or even going to Home Goods, for example. Their stuff is, I don’t know how you categorize it. It’s new, but it’s maybe stuff I think maybe that couldn’t sell in the regular stores. Again, with the lamps, I’ll get them thinking, got a great deal on this beautiful new lamp and then it doesn’t work, the wiring is off. But that’s because it was in that store.
There’s pros and cons for where you get things and why you get them. But if you can get new stuff that will last you and that is a really good investment in your opinion can be a piece of art, can be a couch, can be anything you want it to be. But if that’s where you find value in putting your money, put your money there because I think that you’ll appreciate that piece of whatever it is.
[ALISON] I’m glad you brought up that point because I feel like there are certain things that I will spend a good chunk of change on and then other things that aren’t worth. I know, like I won’t spend more than $80 on a side table. I try to not spend more than $125 on a rug, that stuff, just because it’s not in the grand scheme of things that’s more important to put the money into the couch, getting a really good quality couch or getting a really good quality chair that the therapist is going to be sitting in for hours and hours every day. So I think it can be a combination of things you spend more on, things that you might not spend as much on to stay within your budget.
[KRIS] A budget, I guess, is a good thing to talk about, figuring out what that budget looks like. How much do you want to spend? I had no idea when I was decorating this office, how much I wanted. I wasn’t quite sure what it was going to take to decorate this whole place.
[ALISON] So did you figure it out just from trial and error? About how much did you spend on each office or did you —
[KRIS] That’d be a great exercise though. I should go office to office and look at the stuff and figure it out. I think it is certainly important if you need to just set a budget. I didn’t think about the budget when I was decorating. In hindsight I wish I would have. I probably could have spent a little less, but I felt like, because I was getting the majority, 90% of everything in my office is secondhand or gently used from my home or my neighbor or something like that. I felt like that gave me the belief that, oh, you didn’t really spend that much.
But when you, if you go and you add everything up, I probably spent more than I should, but I’m glad at this point. I think once you’re done with it and you realize, okay, it maybe is that upfront cost, but the greater return of all of that is that now you have a space that you’re comfortable in and if you’re comfortable and you can do your best work. You don’t have to add more stuff to that space. Now you just are adding more clients and you’re building your work and you can focus on that. Then it all just repays in the end, I think.
[ALISON] It’s just like a one time upfront expense. So any other tips you have for people who may be looking to furnish an office space or maybe just aren’t as naturally inclined towards into decorating?
[KRIS] Find a friend, if that is. If you know somebody and you like their style or you think maybe they decorate their house well, or maybe you’ve seen their own office or you just don’t like your own ability to pick and you trust anybody at this point, bring somebody in. Opinions are great. If they can go shopping with you, they also will take that fear of spending that money out of you when they say, just get this, get this. You’re not the one making the decision. I have the hardest time decorating my own house because except for this office, when I was in my house, trying to decorate it, it’s different when I have to make the decision, is it worth it? Should I spend this much? I don’t know. I don’t know if I like it much.
You talk yourself out of it, but if you have another friend there that says, no, I think that this would really go, it’s much easier to go along with that. So I think you’ll go with somebody that you trust that you think might have a good at. If you don’t know, I think a lot of people are using the internet to look for inspiration. You look at other people’s offices or go on different, there’s so many websites out there these days, I think where you can get really good ideas and see what fits for you. What colors do you like? Maybe start small. What colors do you like? Are you a bold color person? Are you pretty neutral? Do you like to play it safe?
I like to play it safe and then add patterns. That’s where my comfort zone is. So everything is fairly neutral, but then I’ll throw a pattern in or I’ll pull up, like we talked about earlier, I’ll pull one color from maybe one multicolor thing I have, but I don’t tend to mix a lot of patterns and shapes and textiles and stuff. But real interior designers do that. They know how to do that. I don’t know how to do that. I’m probably like most people. I don’t know how to do that. I’m not sure if that all, if it’s worth the expense to try. So find inspiration. Even places like Target and Home Goods, they have samples out where they put things together and they show you. See what you like and what feels right. Start with one piece. Start small. One thing you’ll like, and then I think the rest comes from there.
[ALISON] Nice. That’s great advice. It’s been so fun talking about furnishing offices with you, Kris.
[KRIS] You too. Thanks so much.
[ALISON] If folks want to get a hold of you, or if they want to check out your practice’s website, how can they connect with you?
[KRIS] So through the website, the website is myvillagew, which stands for wellness center, but it was too long, so myvillagewc.com is the website. My email is just firstname.lastname@example.org. I don’t know if you give phone numbers, but probably not, but the website is not the best way to reach me. You can also email me directly through there. If anybody has questions, I’m always open to try and help. I don’t have any, I know we talked about maybe some offerings or something today. I wish I had some, but I’m always willing to offer my opinion or maybe a little suggestions. So people are welcome to email me and I’m have happy to get back to them.
[ALISON] Awesome. Well, thank you so much, Kris. It’s been great talking with you.
[KRIS] You too. Thanks so much, Alison.
[ALISON] Thank you so much to Brighter Vision for being a sponsor of this podcast. We love your websites. I have a Brighter Vision website from my own practice. If you want to participate in the deal we were talking about at the beginning of the podcast, just hop on over to brightervision.com/joe.
If you want to check out my new website, Thera Suite, it’s www.thera-suite.com. You can get inspiration. You can check out the boards, there’s all different styles. You can take a quiz, figure out what your style is. It’s all fun stuff.
Thank you so much for listening and I will talk to you all next time.
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