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Pay attention to the psychology of color

September 19, 2014
by Cameron Forte
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When it comes to the design of your healthcare facility, few details play a bigger role than that of color. From the blues and greens to purples and yellows, every hue you use evokes a different emotion from your visitors. If you choose the colors in your design scheme well, you will be able to give the impression that you can be trusted, improve the mood of your patients, and even help the recovery process go smoother. Clearly, the psychology of color is something you want to pay attention to.

1/ Make a good first impression

When someone walks into your facility, they judge you. They take a brief look around and instantly decide if you will provide them with the level of care they need. It doesn’t matter how great your staff is or how amazing your technology is if your visitors don’t feel like they can trust you from the get-go. So how do you ensure that you are giving a positive first impression?

According to Forbes, it’s all about the greens. The lighter shades make people feel accepted, and the medium hues target the trust factor. Warm browns might be a better option for the walls because of the sophistication they provide — which is comforting to potential patients because it means you are in the know about new technologies and practices. While paint color surely plays a big role, don’t feel like that is your only opportunity to introduce these shades. Bring in the green tones through the wall art, plants and even furniture, and you will end up with a lobby that is welcoming and trustworthy.

2/ Increase the functionality

Color also plays a crucial role in patient care. It doesn’t just make the room more appealing to look at; it can actually assist people who are losing their vision or memory. So how can you use this to your advantage?

For starters, consider the fact that when people age, their vision gets a slight tint of yellow to it. This can make it difficult to differentiate between shades of browns and grays, causing these patients to have a rough time when trying to find their way through the facility. To help them out, use brighter colors, such as deep orange, to help them find their way. Brighter-hued stripes along handrails are not only functional, but they can add some necessary cheerfulness to your hallways.

The use of violets and soft yellows in the eating area can encourage socializing and increase appetite. For common areas, soft blues and creamy beiges should be considered, as they can calm the emotions and decrease the occurrence of arguments between patients.

Remember that the design of your facility involves a lot more than just paint color. In fact, it works best to choose a neutral shade for the walls so that if the purpose of the room changes, you don’t have to repaint. Instead, introduce the blues, violets or yellows with floral arrangements, large wall art and curtains.

3/ Aid in healing

In order to heal, patients need to feel relaxed. And where do most people feel relaxed? Out in nature. Therefore, the patient rooms should be designed in a way that emulates the colors found outdoors. A base of rich brown, partnered with ocean blue and grass green can be very calming, ensuring the best recovery possible.

To create this vibe in a way that still appears professional, start with a stone gray wall. Then add in warm dark wood accents in the cabinetry and shelving. Next, bring in the bold blues in the furniture and wall art. Make sure the pictures you choose have vibrant coloring and take up a large portion of the wall. For the finishing touch, include some realistic silk plants and floral arrangements.

While there are many factors to consider in your healthcare facility’s design, the color choice is one that should not be taken lightly. When you choose the hues you use accordingly, you will end up with patients who trust you, are more relaxed and often experience a quicker recovery.

Cameron Forte is the Sales Manager at Interior Design Solutions. Located in Baltimore Maryland, the organization helps healthcare facilities and hospitals all across the country with different architectural finishes.   
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