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Using the psychology of colour to reduce anxiety in your patients

Using the psychology of colour to reduce anxiety in your patients



We’re all familiar with the fact that different colours can inspire different feelings. Active colours like red and orange can radiate warmth but also inspire passion or even anger. Cool, passive colours can inspire tranquillity and relieve stress but can also be cold. Here are some top tips on using the psychology of colour to create a relaxed and welcoming environment for even the most anxious of patients:


  1. Consider the saturation of different shades. A light blue can be considered peaceful, associated with the sea and sky, but a few shades darker it’ll lose that peacefulness. Similarly, a warm red may welcome your patients into a nurturing, friendly environment whereas a darker blood-red might not have the same effect.
  2. Combine complimentary colours to create harmony. If you already have a strong colour in your treatment room, look for complimentary colours to balance the room. Use neutral colours too, such as white or light grey, or natural materials like wood to create a more calming, natural feel.
  3. Use complimentary photography or art where patients spend time to attract the eye and encourage calming thoughts. Nature’s green is the most restful colour for the eye and thought to lessen anxiety, so bring nature into the practice with plants as well.
  4. Don’t forget your ceiling. Its impact on a room is often underestimated and patients spend much of their time looking upwards as they recline on your dental chair. Choose a warm, calming colour or design that will help them to stay relaxed during treatment.
  5. Factor in the size of your rooms. Warmer colours make rooms look smaller while cooler colours do the opposite. If your rooms are big, consider using warmer colours to make it more welcoming.
  6. Use colours for directions. Patients appreciate clear visual signs to find their way around a practice.
  7. Think about your patient demographic as some colours have religious or symbolic associations which might trigger negative associations.

When it comes to your practice, all colours can work if they’re carefully mixed and balanced to create the mood you require. Most practices already have some colour, from their logo or existing furniture, so start with the colours you have and then experiment with complimentary colours to create a calm and welcoming environment for all your patients.


Have a look at our blog ‘How colour can help combat dental anxiety’ to discover the effects of colour in your practice environment.


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