How to Select Colours for Health Care Design

Updated: Apr 9

When we imagine hospitals, lots of unhappy faces suffering from various diseases come to our mind. Attention needs to be paid when designing and selecting colors for hospitals and health clinics, because colors impact a person’s psychology in a significant manner and these can really bring cheer to the space. Here is a brief guide to color selection, what they symbolize, where they can be used and which particular color should be avoided in a particular area.

Yellow :

Yellow symbolizes the Sun and stands for warmth & energy. It can be used in pediatrician clinics and children’s play areas with other colors (like red, blue and green). One should avoid using it excessively, as it can raise the feeling of irritation, frustration and anger. According to a study, too much yellow can make newborn babies cry. So better not to use it in NICUs ( Neonatal Intensive Care Unit). Moreover doctors can find it difficult to examine a patient with jaundice in a yellow room.


Red can increase blood pressure, heartbeat and respiratory rate, so it must be avoided in cardiac units. Red should also be avoided in neurologic clinics where people suffering from stress and depression come for consultation and treatment. However it is better for cafeteria and canteens, as it is considered good for appetite.


This color stands for nature, health and prosperity and helps to relieve stress; hence different tints, tones and shades of green could be used extensively in hospitals. In operating rooms and intensive care centers light green with less saturation can be used.


Blue is a cool color and described as peaceful, tranquil and serene. It can calm down patients with hypertension and anxiety, so it is apt for neurologic clinics. This color can be used in patient rooms and areas where monotonous work is done. On the other hand, too much use of blue can turn a place into a cold space devoid of warmth.

Orange :

Orange is welcoming, so it is preferable in the reception area. This color (like red) increases appetite, hence appropriate for hospital canteens and cafeteria as well. However it can stimulate mental activity, that is why it is not recommended in psychiatric wards.

White :

White stands for cleanliness, freshness and simplicity and commonly used in hospitals and clinics. This color is suitable for clinics or OPDs of dermatologists and preferable for patient rooms. White can be used with two-three accent colors as too much white can make a space boring.

in this picture floor, ceiling and bed is white, but the colors used in the furniture has turned this room into a really refreshing place.

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