The Best Colors to Support Patient Healing
By Team Altus
Published Apr 01, 2019
| Updated Oct 27, 2022
| 4 min read
There are tons of studies that compare colors and the influence they have on patient satisfaction and wellbeing. Certain colors offer a certain experience, and some are more suited to specific scenarios than others. Before decorating your hospital, follow this guide to help decide where certain colors are best suited to your hospital's layout.
High contrast colors, such as black and white help illuminate and define volumes, shapes, edge changes, and planes. When looking where to implement these in your hospital, they work best in poorly lit spaces, or areas where there is a higher concentration of visually impaired patients. The high contrast makes it easier for patients to determine where doors, walls, and turns are so they don’t accidentally hurt themselves.
White specifically is good for making surroundings feel pure, clean, and lending the extra ability to focus. However, too much white can make a space feel desolate, unfamiliar, or bland. It’s best to keep high-contrast colors to highlight areas, keeping them to illuminate walkways.
Cool-toned colors are known to offer a calming effect. They’re best used in small doses, and in places where patients will be experiencing longer wait times. The cool tones are also best used to provide relaxation and offset noise in stressful areas of hospitals.
Blue offers a soothing feeling and lowers heart rates, making it great for waiting rooms, and emergency rooms. Cool tones are also great for alleviating headaches, and other issues with the immune system.
Greens are best used for patients that are in the hospital often. The natural feel of the color can put chronically ill patients at ease, and make their stay a more calm experience. These reasons are why many scrubs tend to fall into the cool-toned color grouping. Before painting every waiting room, and examination room blue, be sure to not overuse the cool tones. Excessive use of one color can lead to harmful tedium, and make the wait more of an annoyance to patients.
While cool tones are known to give a calming effect, warm tones offer stimulation and energy. These are best used away from any operating rooms, or in areas where blood is common. Instead, use them in environments with high service conversion rates to keep the line flowing, or in smaller patient rooms to make them feel larger. Altus uses warm-toned worksurface colors on our non-powered computer carts to keep clinicians from feeling tired during a shift.
Red works well in healthcare when working with patients that suffer from anemia, fatigue, paralysis, and exhaustion. It also works well in areas where action and exertion are needed, such as physical therapy. However, avoid using red in areas where patients with neurological diseases will be. It is known to raise blood pressure and offer adverse effects for those with epilepsy, bipolar, and schizophrenia.
Colors to avoid
Some researchers recommend avoiding colors associated with human waste, namely yellow and brown. While yellow can make a space feel optimistic, it’s best to be avoided in hospitals to keep any negative associations out of the hospital. Opting instead for a different warm tone, such as pink for a nurturing effect. Avoid using any neon colors as well. They can hurt the eyes and cause added stress to patients.
There is no cure-all solution when it comes to adding colors to your hospital. Opting for a mix of colors allows for a better feeling for patients, and prepares your hospital for anything a patient may come in for. In addition, picking the right color extends past just the wall color. Altus designs and develops technology workstations with a range of colors to promote healing. Contact us today to see samples of our non-powered cart worksurfaces and determine what fits your hospital best.