Dental Office Decorating – Colors and Paint

This is the first article in a series about dental office decorating.  I have been decorating (and re-decorating) dental offices for over 20 years and generally the first words out of the dentist’s mouth is “I know nothing about color or decorating.”  The funny thing is we all know more than we realize. We all have likes and dislikes.  These articles are designed to give you some insight into those feelings and how you can use them to decide what works best for your dental office.

Paint Colors

When a new patient opens your front door and walks into your office they are forming their first impression of you.  They will be surrounded by your color choices and décor.  What will their first impression of you be?  When you are ready to select paint colors remember that the colors you choose say a lot about you, so what do you want your office to say about you?

COLOR, Color, color!  The importance of color can never be underestimated.  It affects all of us whether we realize it or not.  Our reactions to color have been studied for decades, whether for marketing purposes, how to keep prisoners calm or what shade gives us the most appealing look.  So when I’m asked what color scheme works best in a dental office my answer is, well, it depends. 

Are you re-decorating your existing office or is it brand new?

For an existing office we must take into consideration what you are not changing like cabinets or dental chair colors.  How can we use these existing colors in our new color scheme? 

For a new office the choices are almost unlimited except for dental chair colors which, unfortunately are limited (unless you choose to use a custom color which can add to your bottom line costs).

Are you selecting colors for yourself, your staff or your patients?

I recommend that you select the colors you enjoy being around because this is your office, a place you probably spend almost as much time at as you do at home.  If you are comfortable in your environment most likely your staff and patients will feel comfortable as well.

Have a look at the article “A Glimpse Into The Meaning, Symbol & Psychology Of Color“, written by Kate Smith, CMG, CfYH. Kate Smith describes the various responses we have to different colors based on research and the historical significance of color. This can give you some insight into the colors you like and why you like them.

Keep in mind this is not to suggest that you use these colors but you may want to consider a color’s shade (how light or dark the color is) or the tone (refers to the blueness of the blue, or the redness of the red, i.e. you can get pure blue, or a mixture of say blue and yellow, the more of one color you add to the first, the more it alters the tone).

Did you see any colors that appeal to you?  Say you are into green, but what shade of green? Would you make your entire office green?  Don’t think so.  It is best to balance a main color with a contrasting color and/or shade (light green vs. dark green).  If you like light green you may want some darker color-maybe brown or dark blue as accent colors.

This may sound confusing but the first thing to do is select one thing that you like.  It could be a carpet or a cabinet color then use that as a catalyst and find colors that work with it, it doesn’t have to match but be sure it doesn’t clash.  In other words, if you put 2 colors together and it gives you a tooth ache to look at it, they probably are the wrong colors.

Being an interior decorator myself, I naturally recommend using the services of a professional decorator to make selecting a color scheme easier for you.  In addition to colors you also have finish options to choose from like semi-gloss, flat, egg-shell, each finish has a proper purpose and the wrong selection may work to your disadvantage.

Also a decorator can give you fresh ideas like how small details can change an average office to an outstanding one.  But there are lots of ways to learn more about color, so for reference you might want to check out the books below:

Can’t Fail Color Schemes by Amy Wax

The Color Scheme Bible: Inspirational Palettes for Designing Home Interiors by Anna Starmer

There’s a lot more to be said about Dental Office Decorating so check back often to review future articles in this series.

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