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Specifying Paint in a Hospital Setting

3 August 2022

Amy Johnson, Architect and Design Consultant at Crown Paints, discusses the different benefits of specifying paint in a hospital setting.

Colour choice of paint has a key role to play in creating the ideal environment for a healthcare setting, from wayfinding to wellbeing. High-performance paints can help to create a healthy and hygienic environment for patients, staff and visitors with minimal maintenance required.

In both hospitals and surgeries, the right colour can not only produce an atmosphere of comfort and relaxation for patients but can also deliver clear area zoning.

Selecting the right paint plays a key role, as it is important to choose a product with the right properties, whether it is scrubbable paint for high-traffic areas, anti-bacterial coatings for canteens and surgeries, or fire-retardant paints for corridors and stairwells.

Colour design for hospitals

Hospital environments are extensive – they provide a place of care, a place of work and even a place of study for a wide variety of users. Patients, visitors, and staff, from young to old, across various ethnic and cultural backgrounds, all use the facilities, and each have different requirements.

It is a common occurrence for people visiting hospitals to be in a highly emotional state, whether visiting for personal reasons or accompanying friends and family. It is important, therefore, for the environment to be welcoming, efficient and reassuring.

Hospitals often use colour zone areas which can be achieved through colour coded floor plans or guide maps. Signage can then be coloured in a corresponding shade to enable visitors to find their end location more easily. In addition to strongly coloured signposts, walls can be flooded with colour specific to the zoned area.

Another consideration is to use a base colour all over the hospital, with neutral tones such as grey, cream or stone, and blocks of a more saturated colour used to highlight a specific area. Colour can be applied in banks, blocks, or stripes to create a design feature as well as a way-finding solution.

Paint can also be used to cause subtle restrictions across the hospital, with any doors that are private or where access is denied disguised by painting the door the same colour as the walls.

The importance of paint colour palettes

It is a good idea to create a palette to use consistently across each area of the healthcare facility. A palette made up of a limited number of colours is practical for maintenance and encourages fluidity through building.

A starting point when considering colour in the hospital environment is to select two or three base colours, with light neutral shades of either a cream, stone, or pale grey to be applied to large surface areas and accent hues introduced to provide interest and contrast.

White is not necessarily a desirable choice for a base colour because although it can symbolise cleanliness, it can appear too stark, under stimulating and can also look cold in the wrong lighting, which can be less comforting for patients.

Selecting a neutral colour palette throughout a hospital setting can create a calming, comforting, energising, inviting, quiet or restorative atmosphere.

Keeping safe and hygienically clean

Surfaces in healthcare settings, more than anywhere else, need to be ultra clean. Specifying a paint with in-built anti-bacterial protection such as our Clean Extreme Anti-Bacterial Scrubbable Matt, which inhibits the growth of any bacteria that contacts the surface, is the perfect way to counter this potential problem.

Innovative silver ion technology can be used to ensure that the anti-bacterial protection cannot be washed off, regardless of how many times the surface is scrubbed clean.

In a hospital setting, stairwells and corridors are subject to heavy footfall, meaning scrubbable paint solutions are required. Fire protection is also a high priority within medical premises. Our Timonox range, which is flame retardant paint, slows down the spread of fire across a building’s surfaces, allowing more time for evacuation.

The power of colour

At Crown Paints, we bring a wealth of technical and aesthetic knowledge to the production, specification, and selection of paints, along with system solutions for all interior and exterior decorative solutions.

Our specification & architect and design teams work closely with healthcare institutions to devise bespoke paint packages and colour schemes.

To find out more, download the Healthcare Colour Book for advice from Crown’s colour experts. Or contact Crown’s Specification team info@crownpaintspec.co.uk