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Do your conference rooms inspire collaboration and problem solving, or do they drain productivity? A few meeting room design upgrades can elevate the effectiveness of the space and even make it a center of office productivity.

We’re not just talking about plush leather chairs and polished boardroom tables. To make your meeting or conference room more effective, consider a few impactful improvements to the technology, design and decor.

The One-Stop Shop 

Stock a multimedia cabinet in each conference room with the necessary plugs, cords and chargers. Bring in drinks, especially coffee and water, and lighter snacks such as fresh fruit or granola bars. Not only is it thoughtful to make these items readily available, but it also reduces interruptions caused by people running out to grab this and that.

Planning for Function

When considering meeting room design, first think about who is going to use the room and what they’re using it for. If a dev team relies on the space for daily stand-up meetings, furnish with height-adjustable or cocktail-style tables where attendees can put their coffee, RedBull or laptop. If the room is used for brainstorming, couches or comfy chairs can help create an environment where ideas can flow.

Light the Way

Most people thrive in natural light, and in a meeting room it can actually improve productivity. Including natural light from windows and eliminating fluorescent lighting whenever possible will make the room seem more inviting. But if your windows face the street or let in the hot afternoon sun, be sure to put up blinds or shutters so light can be reduced when video screens take center stage.

What’s on the Walls

Does your meeting room look modern … as long as you pretend it’s 1973? Make sure meeting spaces aren’t outdated, or stodgy and stuffy. (We would suggest immediately removing the wood paneling.) Before painting, think about what atmosphere the room should have. Walls painted a soft blue, beige or grey are calming; bright colors are more invigorating.

Finally, don’t overlook the subtle messaging that pictures, murals or items on the walls might send about your company’s core values, mission or branding. So unless you’re in the big-game business, trophies (the taxidermy kind) are strictly off limits.

Up-to-Date Tools

Go beyond the standard laptop-to-projector set-up and install wireless video centers, such as Apple TV or Google Chromecast, and leverage the power of smartphones and tablets. Even better, enhance your collaborative tools with interactive whiteboards and immersive video conferencing tools. (Learn more about improved technology for meeting rooms).

Whatever specific meeting room design improvements you’re considering, keep in mind that although functionality is important, so is inspiration and energy. Factors like lighting, furniture and even what’s on the walls can make all the difference.

Interested in reading more about office design? Download our white paper, “Making Workspace Work.”