Medical Spas | Engaging the Senses for a Restorative Healing Experience

More often than not, a trip to the spa is spurred on by the need for relaxation. Visitors anticipate a therapeutic experience that remedies small ailments and a frenzied mind, leaving with both body and spirit rejuvenated. In a world that constantly bombards our senses with unsolicited and often destructive stimuli, the sensory design of these spas is critical to holistic relaxation and restoration. Sight, smell, sound, touch and taste all contribute to emotional and behavioral responses within spa settings. With proper research and implementation of colors, aromas, textures and other sensorial design elements, medical spas can harness their comforting affects and create a truly restorative healing experience.

CDI Features Medical Spa Design; Cumberland Elle Seating, Port Lounge, Dock Ottoman
Shown Above: Cumberland Elle Seating and Table, Port Lounge, Dock Ottoman

A Sensory Guide to Spa Design


The visual experience begins upon first walking through the door and a myriad of factors play into designing a welcoming and refreshing medical spa destination. Previous blog posts have discussed the profound role natural light plays on our body and mind, as well as how incorporating certain colors within a space can provoke both psychological and physiological bodily changes. Allowing for sunlight to flood a space and utilizing natural earth tones, crisp neutrals and other calming colors can help elicit a sense of purity and revitalization. Studies have proven that biophilic design elements, such as natural colors, textures, graphics and direct access to plants, lead to benefits such as lowered blood pressure and heart rate, reduced attentional fatigue, sadness and aggression, in addition to improved mental engagement, attitude and overall happiness. Natural visual elements not only possess powerful holistic benefits for spa visitors, but also for the facility’s staff members.

CDI Features Medical Spa Design; Kimball Nash
Shown Above: Kimball Nash™ Seating

While there is no one-size-fits-all design model outlining what furnishings to incorporate within a spa environment, its ambiance should be one of serenity and indulgence. Furniture and accessories should not be excessive or overwhelming, but rather uncluttered, well-lit and comfortable. Artwork within the facility can aid in the healing process when it elicits positive, calming responses and allows the patient to escape from emotional or physical stress. A blog post on the Healing Beauty in the Art of Nature by Great American Art describes how the incorporation of natural imagery within healthcare environments can help reduce patient anxiety and overall healing. Understanding the relationship between artwork and patient experience is crucial before making design choices.

Furniture choices within medical spas should be functionally appropriate and mirror the chosen aesthetic, blending seamlessly throughout the space. Whether it’s comfortable resimercial pieces within common areas, lounge chairs for meditation spaces, shelving and storage inside treatment rooms or seating for physicians and staff members, these design elements are instrumental in patients’ first impressions and proper healing experience. Below are several furniture options that bring both function and upscale aesthetic to the medical spa environment. Follow the links to learn more about each collection.

CDI Features Medical Spa Design; Kimball Alterna, Kimball Lusso, Cumberland Elle Seating, Table and Revo Lounge
Shown Above: Kimball Alterna Caseworks and Lusso Seating; Cumberland Elle Seating, Elle Table and Revo Lounge


While medical spa patients may receive massages, acupuncture, facials or other hands-on contact during their visit, tactile experience starts outside the treatment room. Seating choices should be comfortable with natural or lush textures, welcoming patients to take a seat and enjoy their visit. Textiles composed of natural elements, such as Knoll’s Melange or Maharam’s Layers Vineyard wool upholstery, are both cozy and durable for a spa’s consistent flow of patients. Maharam’s Alpaca Velvet textile or Lucky carpeting add unique texture to furniture and floors, while Designtex’s 3M Di-Noc is a luxurious leather option for an upscale application. Stone and wood materials are also examples of textures that connect patients to nature, harnessing its plethora of benefits when applied to tables, surfaces or wall coverings. Architectural Systems, Inc., offers unique, decorative surfaces of embossed leathers, simulated wood grains, laminates and modern ceramic tiles that can dramatize walls, cupboards and various surfaces throughout the facility.

CDI Features Medical Spa Design
Clockwise from Top: Couch with Maharam Layers Vineyard Large in Ivory/Black, Maharam Lucky in 522, Knoll Melange in Shoreline, Designtex Starburst in Dark Charcoal, Maharam Pebble Wool in Cordial

Taste and Smell

On the occasion that a spa would incorporate a hospitality hub, a full-size kitchen, café or refreshment bar may offer various treats to patients. These areas not only cater to a sense of taste, they can emit delicious aromas through food and drink. Natural food offerings promote health while making a space feel welcoming.

Fragrances and aromas within a medical spa should transport patients into full relaxation and indulgence. Chamomile, eucalyptus and lavender scented candles and essential oil diffusers are just a few ways to boost stress-relief and improve mood. Since smell is processed by an area of the brain directly associated to emotions, feelings and motivation, it can trigger specific behavioral responses. Pleasant fragrances can bring about happiness and relaxation, increasing patient alertness and performance within cognitive tasks.


Background music can influence patient mood and emotion and directly affect a spas’s ambiance. Classic instrumental or light jazz music should remain slow paced and quiet, gently masking other noises and promoting relaxation. Natural sounds such as falling rain, ocean waves or birds singing helps connect patients to the outdoors and the positive role it plays on our bodies and minds. Being mindful of facility acoustics and eliminating negative distractions also ensures that patients’ spa experience remains relaxing.

CDI Features Medical Spa Design

Designing for Body and Mind

The spa industry and its restorative services are becoming increasingly popular as the population pushes towards healthy lifestyle choices and maintaining personal well-being. While visual aesthetics and facility attractiveness play a huge role instilling a positive first impression and attracting patients, it is important that medical spas invest in a complete, dynamic experience in order to retain these individuals. By incorporating multi-sensory design elements that awaken both bodies and minds and reconnect patients to nature, medical spas can harness a vast array of benefits that aid in the healing process and instill holistic rejuvenation.

Header Image: Cumberland Cambridge Seating, Revo Lounge


For more information, pricing or to schedule a showroom tour, please contact:

Michele Aubry | Director of Sales | 262.544.8675

About CDI

Corporate Design Interiors (CDI) is an industry-leading commercial furniture dealership whose award-winning product knowledge, thoughtful design coupled with strategic planning deliver functional and inspiring interiors designed to foster employee well-being, productivity and engagement. CDI’s relentless focus on delivering positive workplaces mirroring the culture and vision of companies while delivering a high value investment has earned CDI diverse clients including;  established Fortune 500 companies, nonprofits/public sector and energetic startups.

As a “Select” Kimball dealer, CDI’s excellence in sales, partnership, quality improvement, community involvement and overall business best practices earned it the 2017 Kimball Premier Partner Award.  CDI was selected among 52 other Kimball Select dealerships throughout the country for this industry-leading honor, earning additional praise for its company culture and enterprise practices.

CDI Awarded 2017 Kimball-PremierPartnerView the video below to take a further look into Corporate Design Interior’s award-winning partnership with Kimball.

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Corporate Office & Showroom:
1711 Paramount Ct., Waukesha, WI  53186
P  262.521.1010