What does your establishment say to your clients when they walk through the door? Is the ambiance inviting and relaxing or does it in some way increase the tension already stressed clients may be feeling? It's an important question to ask yourself because the physical surroundings in which you provide your service actually are a part of your total offering and create a strong impression. That said, you want your environment to exude calm, not chaos, and inspire your clients to return often.

Ambiance is affected by a number of things, most notably color as well as décor. You may want to have a theme: tranquility, urban escape or even pure Zen, are some examples. Whatever you choose, try to use neutral and inviting colors: sage green, pale blue or earth tones. You may want to paint the waiting area one color and then select other colors or darker shades of the same color for the treatment rooms to vary the mood.

Make sure there is plenty of natural lighting so choose window treatments that allow in sunlight. Lighting that gives a soft glow is a good choice for the waiting room. Just make sure there is enough lighting if you have magazines on hand for clients. Consider lit candles in treatment rooms and only use the overheads after the session is over when you are preparing the room for the next client.

Furniture should be comfortable and cozy to enable clients to relax and feel at home while they are waiting for their appointments. And accessorize the environment with aromatherapy candles or dried flowers that give off calming and soothing scents.

Music also will play a big part of the ambiance, too. The music can even make clients more receptive to your treatments. There are special spa CDs such as Woodwinds & Waterfalls, Pacifica, Dreamscapes (a BIOTONE exclusive) and more. In fact, you may find many of your clients want to purchase a copy to continue to recreate the experience they had with you.

Whatever you choose in terms of colors, furniture, accessories and more, remember that ambiance is about mood and striking a chord with your customers. The ambiance is as much your signature as the treatments on your menu. You want to be sure your ambiance says, "Welcome back, relax and enjoy."