When it comes to providing high quality healthcare, artwork is not the first thing that springs to mind. However when the impact our environment has on our ability to heal is overlooked, patients may experience emotional challenges and longer recovery times.
Incorporating artwork into the design of healthcare spaces saves organisations money long term, increases overall patient satisfaction, and improves the general aesthetics of spaces. It’s a no brainer.
However not all artwork or imagery is beneficial, and some may actually have the adverse effects. How can you make sure you don’t fall into this trap and are choosing the right kind of images for your healthcare space?
Luckily we are here to help. Here are some of our best practices for choosing the right kind of artwork for your environment, and how to maximise the benefits for you and your patients.
NOT TOO STIMULATING
Although artwork can be a good way to reduce stress and anxiety, if it’s too stimulating it can have a bad effect on health. Highly abstract or busy imagery can sometimes increase angst and heighten discomfort in patients. If you are considering how you can use artwork on your ward, you may want to think about choosing art and images based on the theme of a ward in order to make it consistent and not too visually overpowering. For example choosing a consistent set of complementary images with a running theme like muted florals, similar landscapes or matching colours. If you want abstract style images, go for soft tones and images that mimic flowing water.
Examples of good abstract images - using soft tones and flowing inks that mimic water. Images from the KwickScreen Image Catalogue references: Left: COL4-AB05. Right: COL4-AB06.
Choosing images that patients can easily associate is also important to consider. For example, if your hospital is located in a humid, wet and green landscape, it would be harder for your patients to identify with a desert scene, rather than images of landscapes similar to those which they are used to locally. Easily relatable images promotes a greater sense of calm, reduces anxiety and puts patients at ease.
NATURE IS BEST
Studies show that nature scenes are the best for improving health and wellbeing for everyone, including children. Images of green landscapes, water scenes and cultural artefacts have been proven to promote calmness, lower blood pressure, and reduce pain. Patients want to see imagery that remind them of pleasant times in their lives and evoke nostalgia, in turn triggering happy feelings. Being reminded of nature encourages us to feel grounded, however artwork showing harsh weather conditions or gloomy nature scenes is not recommended as it may have the adverse effect. We go into detail about the benefits of nature imagery in our previous post.
Examples of appropriate nature scenes, utilising lots of green landscapes, calming water and bright skies. Images from the KwickScreen Image Catalogue, image references: Top left: NAT07. Top right: NAT03. Bottom Left: SEAS03. Bottom Right: LSC06.
It has long been documented by numerous studies and psychological assessments that colour can have an incredible impact on our mental health and wellbeing. Choosing tones that promote a sense of calm and relaxation such as cool pastel colours, balanced with warmer neutral tones is best practice. Bright vibrant colours should be avoided, especially strong reds as these are often associated with feelings of anger or stress. Encouraging a greater sense of ease is the aim, and when choosing colours try to imagine yourself a patient and what would make you feel calm.
Examples of how colours can work together and compliment each other. Using similar subject matter and tones that pair is best. Images from the KwickScreen Image Catalogue. Image References: Top left: BOT04. Top right: BOT06. Bottom left: BOT05. Bottom right: COL3-BO4.
Following these best practices you can transform your healthcare space from clinical, institutional and uninviting - to a calm, restorative space.
If you would like to discuss artwork requirements, or need any more help in choosing artwork for your space, don’t hesitate to get in touch today and see how we can help.