In healthcare, the significance of environmental design cannot be overstated. Beyond mere functionality, the aesthetics of a building play a crucial role in promoting the well-being of patients and staff alike. In our blog we’ll look at the healing power of design when integrated into the fabric of healthcare settings, and how it can create an environment conducive to holistic healing – addressing not just physical needs, but also nurturing the mind, body and soul.

Using Natural Elements in Design

The healing power of design is not just found in the architecture of a building but incorporates the visual aesthetics of a building interior too. Considered interiors have been proven to shape our emotional responses and overall well-being. In fact, there is research that argues that health and social care facilities, namely hospitals and care homes, that create a positive spatial atmosphere, can stimulate patient’s or resident’s senses and promote cognitive and emotional relaxation, which in turn can contribute to psychological and spiritual healing[1]. Colours, in particular, possess the ability to evoke specific emotions and influence our mood, as explored more in our previous blog. Warm tones like orange and yellow can promote feelings of warmth and optimism, while cool hues such as blue and green evoke a sense of calm and tranquillity. Images can too, hold immense power in provoking emotional responses.

Biophilic Design

In fact, the benefit of biophilic design, an approach to architecture that seeks to connect building occupants more closely to nature to create a more productive and healthier built environment is something being explored by academics in across the world.  Albeit in new build facilities this is much easier to incorporate into the building’s architecture.

Natures Elements

A stepping stone to the biophilic concept for refurbishments or retrofits in existing healthcare facilities, is the inclusion of images from nature into the interior design. Images depicting some of nature’s elements – water, earth, air – can hold profound significance in evoking emotions within patients, staff and visitors that contribute to a comprehensive healing and working environment.

The representation of these elements: the serene flow of water, the stability of earth, and the freedom of air, can all evoke feelings of calmness, hope, and rejuvenation. Patients, staff and visitors alike often find solace in engaging with elements of nature, even if in simulated forms by the use of imagery.

Overcoming Challenges

Advancements in technology has meant we can now provide innovative solutions to support the practice of Healing Design. A number of forward thinking NHS trusts have already introduced elements of this into their existing interior design. Through the use of cutting-edge techniques in the production of wall protection, images can be incorporate into spaces without compromising on the functionality of the area or effecting the durability of  the wall.  Products like Aspex allow for high-resolution image reproduction, enabling the integration of nature-inspired designs that provide an immersive experience.


Dual benefits of Wall Protection

In addition to the aesthetic appeal, wall protection solutions serve a practical purpose in healthcare environments too. The constant traffic and activities within these facilities pose a threat to the integrity of walls and surfaces, causing unsightly damage and costly maintenance. Our wall protection solutions offer a shield against damage and infection control, and with a Class O Fire Rating, it ensures the longevity of the infrastructure while at the same time enhancing the visual appeal of the space. Dual functionality aligns perfectly with the holistic approach to healthcare design, where both practicality and aesthetics converge to create healing environments.

Why choose images over colour?

As with the interiors of our homes, certain walls lend themselves to be feature walls, where a statement can be made and where it’s always in view,  we often place colour or images on those walls to enhance our moods. This ethos forms the basis of the power of environmental design, which we are delighted to discover is beginning to be replicated in healthcare settings.  Taking this to the next level, the healing potential of beauty and imagery of elements of nature into the built environment is beginning to be used more and more, in support of patient and staff well-being.

This synergy between biophilic design principles and practical solutions like wall protection, we believe, shows how forward thinking our healthcare professionals and facilities decision makers are. Using natures beauty for the betterment of all involved doesn’t have to entail costly overhauls either; it can be achieved through thoughtful integration of high quality, immersive imagery that nourish the body, mind, and soul.

As we continue to consider emotional wellness in healthcare, embracing the symbiotic relationship between aesthetics, colours and imagery, and functionality is paramount to fostering healing environments that truly make a difference.

See in Situ

We’ve recreated some of nature’s scenes using our Aspex wall protection which can be seen on our stand (218) at the upcoming Design In Mental Health Exhibition 4-5 June, Manchester Central.


[1] Healing Spaces as a Design Approach to Optimize Emotional Regulation for Patients with Mood Disorders by Shuaijie Yan, Athira Azmi, Noranita Mansor, Zhihao Wang, Yike Wang