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How to Select Colours for Health Care Design

Updated: May 1, 2022

When we imagine hospitals, lots of unhappy faces suffering from various diseases come to our minds. 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 is 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 cafeterias as well. However, it can stimulate mental activity, which is why it is not recommended in psychiatric wards.


White :

White stands for cleanliness, freshness, and simplicity and is 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.

All in all, hospitals and health clinics should not always be white, some splashes of colours are definitely required to make it a bit cheerful.


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