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3 Tips for Designing a Private Practice Your Clients Will Love

How exciting is it to start your own private practice? It’s one of the biggest steps in your career so we’re gonna hook you up with three great tips from home staging and redesign expert, Sarah Wake Davies, on how to make your therapeutic office a safe space that your clients can truly feel at home with.

After breaking out of the entertainment industry after thirty years, Sarah went from being onstage as a professional dancer, to becoming a certified home staging professional. After her crazy life as a producer in show business on multiple cruise ships, she wanted to become creative again and in the words of Sarah, “get her hands dirty”.

After twenty years under her belt of American living, this spunky stager started our podcast by passionately stating, “I love everything house, everything interiors”. With the prestigious award of “Best of Service 2016 in Customer Service Category” from the viral, we were intrigued by her three simple ideas to consider when designing a therapeutic environments.

We opened up Podcast Episode 03 by posing the question – “What is the best advice you have ever received about being a business owner and entrepreneur?” and loved her response…“Know your worth and stand by that. Stand in authenticity and be okay with that. Be flexible.”

We discussed the importance of being authentic and utilizing that as the foundation of your business. Sarah described, “if you cannot be authentic, you cannot achieve being real to your client, and people want to trust that one-on-one relationship as both a client, and as a business owner.” Here are 3 Tips for Designing a Private Practice Your Clients Will Love!


TIP #1: Color is Key

Color is a mood enhancer. It can be an energizer, a sense of calm, a stimulator, an invigorator.

We want to emphasize identifying your ideal client through the process, and catering to their need. Determine your next step in design through the different moods and feelings – for instance, brighter colors and playful artwork for children, or serene spaces for clients who are struggling with emotional issues. Sarah suggested wall colors staying neutral, but bringing in pops of color through furnishings, rugs, and artwork. Make sure you are creating a home for your ideal client.

TIP #2: Evoke the Five Senses

Sound: Create peace in the room with low tranquil music, or a small water fountain that showcases a ‘babbling brook’ feel. Don’t forget about the duty of confidentiality and being able to strategically incorporate ambient music as a way of easing the clients in their emotions, and in their privacy.

Sight: Make sure your room is inviting and balanced. The more the client feels at home in your space, the safer they feel.

Feel: Don’t forget about texture whether it be in the cushions or seating, and the overall comfort a room provides.

Smell: Sarah suggested aromatherapy oils, and using different smells to bring out the emotions. A couple suggestions: lavender can produce calming emotions, and bergamot can help with stress or anxiety.

Taste: Kate shared about the small treats she keeps in her office, which are a huge hit. Consider a small bowl of chocolates in your space or something else that might tickle the fancy of your clients!

TIP #3: The Beauty of Plant Life

We love how Sarah said that, “having real live plants brings in honesty”. The softening feel plants bring adds such character to the space you are creating. Plants bring in energy, oxygen, and a lively feeling. We love that plants live in a space, thrive in it, and as Sarah said, “sit in its own truth”.

Don’t be afraid to bring in your culture to the room. Research what is indigenous to your area, and incorporate who you are into your plant life. For the population that doesn’t quite have a green thumb, there are multiple plants that are self-sustaining and easy to care for. A few suggestions from Sarah are: succulents, mother-in-laws tongue, ferns, or palms…

Staging vs. Redesigning

Here is a cheat sheet of the industry described by Sarah:

  • Staging: Decorating for the masses.

  • Interior Design: Decorating for YOU, the client.

Design is all about utilizing color, flow, balance, and proportion to market each room of a home, in order to evoke a reaction.  Here Sarah talks about her work in designing residential spaces for real estate.

Make sure you are staging each room as a means of capturing the client. For instance, in home buying, utilizing the master bedroom and putting a comfortable chair in the back corner with a book and a cup of coffee lets the buyer realize that he can enjoy his morning joe with a great book. Create moments for these potential clients.

Remember that the buyer does not want to see YOU in the space, they want to see themselves in it. It is Sarah’s job to educate the seller on this concept, so as to avoid offense in their own personal design, pre-staging. This is where therapy comes into play – as a stager we must handle the client’s emotions and well-being with care in order to take them on his journey. Alleviating the massive pressures of selling a space is a nurturing and supportive process, but we must always stick to, “what kind of experience do I want my clients to have?”

What can clients expect from the staging and redesign consultation with you?

Sarah described the process by first walking room by room and discussing different areas that need improvement, and offering suggestions and recommendations of pieces to bring in. Be an expert in knowing the client, what they need, and then help in facilitating that.

Everyone is educated in the realm of HGTV, but not everyone can execute those elaborate dreams. Just like therapy, people know what it is but need a professional to execute it.  We know what we want, but bringing in a professional can be your guide to achieving the ultimate picturesque space.

Sarah left us with this piece of inspiration: “Whatever you do, so long as you are doing it with heart and honesty, you cannot fail.”



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