Do Colours Provoke Emotion?
2nd June, 2023

Not many people would associate colour with health, they just don’t see the correlation. Well, colour actually plays quite a big part in health, especially the healthcare environment. Majority of people will associate different colours with different feelings and emotions. Therefore, colour plays a big part in healthcare and treating patients.

You may be asking yourself , ‘why?’ When you are in hospital, it can be easy to feel stressed, overwhelmed, and anxious, and sometimes these emotions can become quite overbearing. But did you know that colours can help to exaggerate these emotions, instead of easing them? For example, there are colours that stimulate happy feelings, like healing, and others that are not as positive.

Typically, we would associate hospitals and medical centres with being very bright and basic. This can be very welcoming and optimistic. However, it is more common to have vibrant colours throughout hospitals, with each colour stimulating a different emotion.

Green colour used in hospital operating theatre.

Green colour used in hospital operating theatre.

Each colour has its own emotion associated with it.

Blue- Blue is often seen as calming and even suggested to lower body temperature and blood pressure. This provides a calming sensation and eases nerves, which is why there are always blue shades used in healthcare décor.

Green- Green is a common colour of nature and air. This image creates serenity and peace in the mind, relaxing the body and mind.

Yellow- Yellow is commonly associated with the sun and flowers. This suggests light and happiness, but also the feeling of optimism and hope. However, yellow should be avoided in neonatal units and maternity wards as this can make it harder to identify health concerns (jaundice) and makes babies cry more frequently.

Pink- Pink is a representation of youthfulness and enjoyment, which brings positive energy for the mind. This is often worn by staff and healthcare professionals.

White- White is regularly seen in the healthcare setting. It promotes clean, clinical emotions and makes you feel safe. White demonstrates purity and sanctuary, which is why it is such a predominant colour amongst all of the others.

Orange- Unlike other colours, orange has a more specific function. Orange is associated with the metabolism of an individual. This encourages alertness and activity and is most commonly used n areas where lungs and kidneys are treated, alongside depression areas. Orange should be used in moderation as too much can be rather overwhelming.

Infant playing with colourful toys in hospital.

However, not all colours can bring on positive feelings and emotions, as there are some which are avoided in healthcare due to the negativity they bring on.  For example, grey is less present in hospitals as it encourages tiredness and pessimism. Red is also avoided as commonly associated with blood which can be stressful and worrying.


Another reason for colour in hospitals is simply for children attending hospitals. You will find that paediatric wards and departments are seemingly more colourful than separate areas so that they are more appealing to children. Children are more likely to accept being in a hospital if there is colour to stimulate their brain and keep them occupied. 

Do you ever associate colours with moods? If you do, let us know what colours make you feel what way.


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