Carpet in Healthcare Environments – Effects of Colour and Pattern

Healthcare is a vital part of our society. It is one of the last industries to remain under government control, one of the most tightly regulated in the world, and utilises some of the globe’s most talented minds. The flooring in a health and aged care environment is often overlooked, but actually forms a critical part of the healthcare environment. It is the only surface of a room with which we are in constant contact – it makes sense that it’s nature, colour and patterning would have a huge impact on how people feel about a space. Today we are looking at the effects of colour and pattern on healthcare flooring and healthcare interior design.Why Does Colour Matter?Edward O. Wilson’s book entitled Biophilia explained it well. Human beings have a love of, and natural attraction to, living things and living systems. Healthcare facilities, unfortunately, in many cases cannot maintain a close bond with the outside world, susceptible as it is to infection and bacterial population. According to the biophilia hypothesis, it is important to ensure the colours found in a healthcare facility parallel those found in nature.Why Does Pattern Matter?Pattern matters for the same reason that colour does; purely because of its visual proximity or distance to what is found in nature. Flooring in a healthcare environment should, according to the hypothesis, stay away from patterns that are a construct of human imagination or mathematics, and try to mimic what is found in nature. Leaves, grass and flowers are some good examples.What Colours Are Best in a Health & Aged Care Environment?There is a huge amount of debate about this subject. Some people draw a direct and causative link between the presence of a particular colour in the environment, and increased healing. This is simply unproven. However, there is little doubt that the presence or absence of certain colours in the environment can have an effect on an individual’s mental wellbeing. The colours that dominate in nature are more likely to find broad appeal than colours like bright yellows, pinks, purples – except as minor accents, which is how they would be found in the natural world.The aim is to create spaces that put people at ease. Green tones have the ability to enliven and refresh, calm and centre. Blue tones are relaxing. Golds are vibrant and soulful. Browns are naturally graceful and stable and greys are quite and reserved.Other Considerations for Colour Choice: Culture, Geography and Use of SpaceIn some cultures, colours and patterns have different associations than they do in others. This is mostly true of bright colours representing a single hue. Natural colours work best with a range of cultural differences.Geography will be a consideration as well – lighter colours may be more appropriate in warm climates, darker colours may work better for cool climates, for example. Being able to delineate different spaces within the health and aged care setting is also extremely helpful in organizing the movement of people throughout the facility. Flooring is a subtle way to do this, and delineation is best achieved with carpet tiles.