When it is cold and blustery outside patients need something to help warm them up. One feature that is really nice to add to every dental office design is a functional fireplace. The fireplace can be traditional wood, gas, electric, or gel and there are various design considerations to each.
Personally, there is nothing quite the same as a traditional wood-burning fireplace for the warmth, aroma, and ambience. However, they tend to be messy, require cleaning, and introduce greater safety concerns from popping logs and such. Probably not the best option for most dental offices.
The cost of running a gas line may make this option less attractive, but it is an easy and mess free way to achieve instant warmth and ambience. We suggest going with an electric ignition for added ease with starting.
The electric option just keeps getting better and better. The higher end models are looking more and more realistic in the design of the “flame.” Paired with a blower fan, they will put off heat just like a “real” fireplace. They tend to be safer for a dental office waiting room as they typically don’t get as hot to the touch as other options, so the chance of a patient accidentally getting burned is reduced.
We love the gel fireplaces for the great design options they open up. They don’t necessarily give the same warmth and radiance as other options, they definitely provide the visual appeal. They are easy to maintain and operate and have few safety concerns.
The key in introducing a fireplace into one’s dental office design is to help create a warm, welcoming environment that enhances the patient experience, so the fireplace needs to not look like an afterthought. This feature, however, will warm staff as well as patients giving them more reasons to refer their friends and family to the practice.
Here’s a few fireplaces we’ve designed for our clients: