The Application of Color in Healthcare Settings

Jan 01, 2015

There are few design topics more interesting than the use of color in our daily lives. We are surrounded by an ever-changing palette of color in nature that inspires the principles used in the creation and selection of materials for interior design. These same principles also apply in the culinary presentation of food and the creation of fine art. Since color is an inseparable part of our lives, it is all the more puzzling to explain the lack of it in many of our new hospitals. Thus, the origin of this paper is based on this very observation: A number of new hospitals built in the last five years have been lacking in color. We wondered what forces are at work here? Clearly it is more difficult, and more risky, to successfully apply color to an interior environment than to use a neutral palette, but there are likely a number of factors in play here. The importance of this issue, however, goes beyond aesthetics. Is it possible to enhance the patient’s experience and potentially impact clinical outcomes by understanding how to apply color in healthcare settings? The environment may be even more important in the acute-care setting.

Sheila J. Bosch, PhD, Rosalyn Cama, Eve Edelstein, MArch, PhD, Jain Malkin
The Center for Health Design
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The Center for Health Design

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