The colours we choose for our clinic are so much more than a decorative interior design choice. In fact, the colours we choose for clinic fitouts play an important role in patient and staff wellbeing. Looking at colour meaning, colour psychology and even looking back from an evolutionary perspective, there are plenty of ways the right colour choice can improve the patient and staff experience in your clinic. Read on for our round-up of the four top things to consider when choosing colours in clinics. Be sure to stick around for number three – where you’ll discover exactly why white should not be the go-to for every clinical setting.
1. How colour makes patients feel welcome and at home
Colours can evoke certain emotions or moods in our patients. Hence, if we choose our colours carefully, this may be the difference between an easy patient and a tricky one! In a 1994 study of 68 subjects, all respondents specified their preference for lighter colours in patient rooms. Across the ceiling, linen, floors and furniture, lighter hues were the most popular choice.
Looking at colour tone, soft, natural palettes tend to be the most popular for clinic rooms. These natural tones are a common preference for both patients and any family members attending the appointment (for example in paediatric dentists or medical clinics). With that in mind, it’s best to avoid any colours that sharply contrast each other in clinic spaces, particularly treatment rooms, as they may accentuate stress levels of patients.
2. How colour improves staff productivity
The right colour choice in the clinic can work wonders on staff productivity and wellbeing too. Our healthcare professionals spend a lot of time on their feet, often dealing with patients who don’t particularly want to be there. So, when medical or dental clinic staff have their break, it’s only right that we invest some thought into crafting a revitalising space for them.
For staff break rooms that need to energise the team and recharge their batteries, opt for brightly lit spaces with bold colour palettes. On the other hand, if your break rooms tend to be used for longer periods of rest, go for darker colours with soft lighting.
3. Colours to avoid in treatment rooms
In some cases, certain colours can even reduce productivity and cause distraction. This is commonly seen in operating rooms, including veterinary theatres, where the medical professional is focused on the colour red. In operating theatres, and other clinical spaces where the professional is focused on the colour red, go for contrasting colours like blue or green on the walls. This will help neutralise the red colours. White has long been the go-to for these clinical spaces, but the stark contrast from red to white often has the medical professionals seeing blue-green spots when they look up from the operating table. This is because when we view one colour for a certain amount of time, this will produce the vision of a complementary colour afterwards. This phenomenon is referred to as afterimages.
4. Colour psychology
Incorporating principles of colour psychology into our clinic design may help us enhance the functionality of a room. Often, natural colour, earth derived colours like green, brown and blue are known to be calming. This may be due to evolution. Some academics believe our positive associations with these colours are hard-wired into our brains due to evolution. This is because early humans would have seen green in nature and associated this colour with a place where shelter, water and food can be found.
On the other hand, red is a highly stimulating colour. This can serve a place in creative space, but in clinical spaces, it’s best to avoid red colours, as they may contribute to higher stress levels.
Choose the right colours for your clinic
With so many colours, furniture and designs to choose from, designing your perfect fitout can seem like an overwhelming task. With Dentifit by your side, you can rest assured you’ll be left with a beautiful, functional clinic fitout that keeps your patients at ease from the moment they enter to the moment they leave. Be sure to contact our helpful team of experts if you’d like us to manage your clinic fitout. In the meantime, check out these examples of our previous work.