Beyond Decor: Optimizing Patient Rooms with Aesthetics

Beyond Decor Optimizing Patient Rooms with Aesthetics
Aesthetics are sometimes seen as superficial or even frivolous. Looks don’t matter, right? However, humans are highly visual creatures, and our environment shapes our mood, attitude, and even perception. That’s why, especially in medical settings, a pleasing aesthetic plays a large role in our experience.

Rooms and furniture that are purely functional often seem cold and uncomfortable. This has traditionally been the norm for healthcare spaces, which is why “clinical” has become synonymous with “cold and detached.” To enhance the medical experience and subsequent patient outcomes, healthcare designers must invest in aesthetics. The right design choices aren’t just surface-level details; they become paramount to a healing environment.

Defining Healthcare Aesthetics

Aesthetics refers to the visual and sensory appeal of an environment, particularly in the way elements are arranged and stylized. It includes both cultural and emotional cues as we interact with the space. For example, many people associate spacious, symmetrical, and light-colored rooms as luxurious or monumental, while soft textures and earthy tones suggest a homey abode.

The challenge for healthcare designers is that patient spaces must serve their purpose and meet all logistical needs. It isn’t feasible to add a chaise lounge or grand Grecian columns to a patient room. However, that doesn’t mean we’re limited to plain gray walls and sharp edges.

A soothing aesthetic is more than the sum of its parts. It emerges from a combination of color, lighting, furniture, artwork, and the overall layout of the space.

Why Aesthetics Are Important

Common sense tells us that people prefer objects and places that look good. But great design isn’t just eye candy. Visually pleasing experiences instill more confidence and make people more tolerant of frustrations. Applied to a healthcare environment, this may translate to greater patient satisfaction—even if the reasons for being at the medical facility are inherently uncomfortable. Because hospitals and clinics often provoke anxiety and uncertainty, it’s even more important to invest in aesthetics.

How to Enhance Patient Room Aesthetics

Choose soothing colors

As patients who are hospitalized may feel stressed or anxious, a calming environment can help to ease their anxiety. While it varies somewhat by one’s cultural background, most people find light blue and pink hues to be calming and nurturing. Earthy greens and browns evoke natural scenery, creating a sense of nourishment and relaxation.

Provide comfortable furniture

Many patients are anticipating discomfort in a medical setting, so they deeply appreciate anything that makes them a bit cozier. A plush recliner for their recovery area and side tables that feel nice to touch can make a huge difference.

Add some artwork

Plain gray walls remind patients that they’re in a strange, often uncomfortable place. If the room has no personal touches, it seems impersonal and detached. Vibrant wall art with broad appeal can give anxious patients something to lift their spirits. Research has found that people’s stress levels drop and their emotional processing improves after looking at artwork.

Tap into biophilia

Biophilia refers to an inherent love of nature. Even those who aren’t “outdoorsy” tend to feel more relaxed and positive when they’re reminded of natural scenery. That’s why earthy hues, wooden furniture, sunlight, and soft textures are all classic choices for interior designers aiming for “homey” and “charming.”

One signature of biophilic design is curvilinear shapes and layouts. In a forest, trees and shrubs don’t grow in rows. Streams and rivers are winding, not straight. Thus, furniture with curved lines often seems more soothing and nurturing. Rooms should be arranged with an organic sense of flow. For example, Champion’s Verō recliner has curved armrests for a relaxing aesthetic, and its modular design allows it to integrate smoothly into any space.

In sum, aesthetically pleasing surroundings contribute to a positive mood and outlook. They may also reduce stress that could exacerbate patients’ symptoms. Simple things such as having a view of nature or artwork can help lift a patient’s spirits. These are all ways to prioritize patient comfort—and when patients feel better, medical staff often find their jobs easier.

Aesthetics Support Patient Recovery

A positive environment promotes each patient’s healing and helps caregivers perform their best. Thus, patient room aesthetics can enhance the patient experience by increasing comfort, improving mood and morale, and reducing stress.

Champion’s human-friendly patient seating solutions offer a wonderful way to elevate your healthcare facility’s aesthetics. Browse our collections and see how our visually pleasing designs balance form and function.