How can the colors used in the waiting room influence patient attitude?
It’s no secret that going to the doctor is not at the top of most people’s list of fun activities. Whether a patient is sick or healthy, it can cause anxiety and is often considered an inconvenience. What if the colors used in the waiting room could ease stress and anxieties, and promote feelings of wellbeing and peace? Can colors do all that? Color is a powerful communication tool and can be used to signal action, influence mood, and even influence physiological reactions. The psychological power of color should not be overlooked. Colors can improve healing, calm nerves, and lift spirits. Additionally, choosing colors that go well together and create an aesthetically pleasing space is equally important. Colors are somewhat subjective, due to cultural differences, personal preference for some colors over others, and environment. People have learned associations with color as well as innate ones. However, innate reactions to color are much more universal and physiological. Each color has certain associations and ways it affects a person’s mood and emotions.
Blue symbolizes peace, tranquility, the sky, and the ocean. It is a calming color, but it can also be seen as cold. Warmer blues are relaxing without being too frigid and cold.
Red is a stimulant, and often is associated with irritability or anger and raises heart rate and gets adrenaline pumping. It would generally not be considered a wise choice for an environment that is supposed to be calming or comforting.
Yellow is the most difficult color for the eye to take in. It is considered a happy, sunshine-y color, but can be overwhelming, or associated with sickness. Studies have shown that people are more likely to lose their temper in overpowering yellow environments.
Purple is associated with luxury and sophistication. However, it is rarely found in nature so it is able to have an artificial feeling.
Green symbolizes earth and is an abundant color in nature. It is the easiest color to take in and can be used to warm up a room, or also to provide a fresh, grounding look.
Warm colors are more comforting, cozy, and uplifting. Another thing to consider is that rooms painted with warmer colors give the perception that the room is warmer. With waiting rooms often being on the colder side, warmer colors may even be able to increase comfortability with the temperature. Balance is key when designing a waiting room that is comforting and makes being at the doctor a little more bearable. Too much of one color can veer away from the mood you are trying to create and can become overbearing. With all the innovative ways to try and improve patient experience, the use of color is a simple way to help create the best visits for your patients.