A healthcare magazine that reports on emerging trends, innovative strategies and real-world solutions for hospital leaders recently reported that the use of color is one of many tools that can be used to help pediatric healthcare facilities heal, “engage, delight and provide fun” for patients and their families seeking treatment within their walls.

The publication, Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine, interviewed architects and healthcare leaders who provided insights on how to effectively design pediatric centers for the best possible patient outcomes. And while the article goes into far greater detail and provides an array of strategies other than the use of color, it should be noted that there is an emerging trend where hues are applied in multiple ways in a variety of healthcare settings. And it’s refreshing to see that such details are now being appropriately recommended for use in pediatric facilities.

For example, Norix recently ran a blog post about a new children’s behavioral healthcare center that includes a large room for family visits and activities. The room is significant because of its lime green and tan walls, and the matching Hondo Nuevo® and Forté™ Series furniture from Norix. The room is inviting and bright, but not startling, overly expressive or exceedingly childlike. Considerations like these are important in ensuring that both children and their families feel comfortable in these spaces, according to the Hospitals and Health Networks Magazine article.

The furniture in this family room features Norix’s Naturals Palette, a set of 10 hues selected by Tara Hill of Little Fish Think Tank who looked toward evidence-based research when choosing these colors.

“Color plays a role on all surfaces and elements: floors, walls, ceilings, furniture, cabinetry, privacy panels and on and on,” Hill said. “This does not mean that every element must be an expressive hue, which actually should not be the case. It does mean, however, that all items should be given conscious thought and consideration regarding their design and color.”

Leading research indicates that healthcare facilities with interesting uses of color that are not overly neutral can experience many positive outcomes that can:

  • Reduce behavioral discord
  • Promote dignity and encourage socialization
  • Improve resident and staff morale
  • Serve as a positive distraction
  • Uplift the spirit and soothe the psyche
  • Provide a visual interest and positive distraction
  • Assist in the healing process of patients

The Naturals Color Palette – which was designed with all of these key elements in mind – is timeless and inspired by nature and can help facilities with the mental and physical wellbeing of the patients, family and staff who spend time within their walls.

And although furniture and its color wasn’t specifically mentioned, the Hospitals and Health Networks Article points to multiple instances where hues have been used both inside and outside of pediatric healthcare facilities to create harmonious spaces that are both practical in the treatment of the patient and effective in providing visual interest for everyone within these environments. Uses of color by facilities featured in the article include:

  • Brightly colored sculptures at the entrance of one pediatric facility
  • A colorful, curved exterior that creates a sense of motion
  • Bright color on the underside of each floor
  • Exterior Dichroic glass accents, which creates “dynamic patterns of color and light for a distinctive look”

In conclusion, we would like to say that we here at Norix believe it’s encouraging that we are now seeing a variety of healthcare facilities – general, behavioral and pediatric included – appropriately using color as a way to enhance the total treatment experience. And if furniture manufactures, interior designers, architects and healthcare facility managers continue to work together to find solutions to better treat patients, we just might find that it will be commonplace that all healthcare facilities will be designed using evidence-based research, with color playing a vital role due to its positive effects in these healing spaces.

Additional Resources

White Paper: The Role of Color in Humanizing Behavioral Healthcare Facilities

Case Study: Behavioral Healthcare Facility Renovates Unit With Norix Furniture Products and Matching Artwork