Using Color In Healthcare Environments: Tips To Improve Patient Satisfaction

artwork for healthcare facilitiesBy now, most people are familiar with the benefits of art in hospitals and healthcare centers. Numerous studies have found that artwork for hospitals can reduce stress, speed up healing, and improve patient satisfaction. In fact, a recent study showed that 60% patients who viewed the Cleveland Clinic’s contemporary art collection reported stress alleviation.

But sometimes, it’s not only the calming nature scenes that produce this positive effect. The colors displayed in these images, as well as the hues used throughout a given facility, can have a huge impact on patient well-being. So in addition to the types of artwork for healthcare facilities you utilize, you’ll also need to give some thought to the color schemes you choose.

Color is extremely powerful. Many neuroscientists believe humans are hardwired to respond positively to certain tones over others. That’s why it’s such a key component in any business’s branding. It can even have a colossal effect on whether patients want to take certain medications. Patients respond more positively to pill colors that reflect the medication’s end result. And one recent study found that heart attack patients were likely to discontinue their medications if they suddenly changed in shape and color.

So how does this apply to the choices you make in artwork for healthcare facilities?

Hospitals and healthcare facilities should create an atmosphere that’s welcoming, warm, and calming. It should never be visually overwhelming. Think lightness and tranquility, rather than bold and busy.

William N. Bernstein, the president of the Behavioral Healthcare Architecture Group, tells Behavioral Healthcare Executive that warm yellows, oranges, and purples, pastel blues and greens, or taupe often work well.

“Pastel colors are some of the most beautiful colors for the environment as they have a richness of color yet conveyed in a way that is soft and comforting,” says Bernstein. “Using a pastel color that is rich and not too light or dark could create an accent wall that has the right degree of presence and subtle differentiation from adjoining off-white, non-accent walls.”

Although the best practices vary greatly depending on the center’s layout, there are also some colors that should be avoided, both in paint colors and in artwork for healthcare facilities. Design expert Lilliana Alvarado tells BHE that red can be tricky and should be limited to small areas, as it can cause panic or remind patients of trauma. And dark grey and black should be avoided completely, since this can trigger sadness in many patients.

According to a slightly older study, it’s also important to ensure your facility doesn’t look dull. The best way to keep this from happening is to keep variety in mind. To stave off sensory deprivation, lighting, artwork, and wall colors should vary throughout the hospital or healthcare center. The atmosphere should feel peaceful but not monotonous. Art consulting firms and interior designers will help you accomplish this.

Certainly, nature scenes and photographs are among some of the most popular choices for healthcare facility decoration. But that artwork won’t be able to do its job properly if the rest of the center’s design is merely an afterthought. By zeroing in on impactful color schemes throughout a facility, you’ll be able to better create the ideal atmosphere that truly helps your patients.