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A few years ago (when I lived in Portland) I went to my dentist’s office for my six-month dental exam and cleaning.

The interior of the space had recently been redesigned (by a professional interior designer, I could tell) with new comfortable furniture and pretty surroundings.

And yet… after about five minutes or so of sitting in the waiting room, I noticed my anxiety started to increase.

“Why am I feeling this way?”, I wondered.

I gave my surroundings a closer look and instantly, I got it.

The color palette of the room was created using all warm colors—yellow walls, a coffee colored sofa, taupe chairs, red and orange rugs, mixed with saffron yellow and peach colored artwork, warm wood trim, wood doors and… a flat screen tv in the waiting room playing dental infomercials.

Needless to say, with all that extra anxiety, my experience in the chair was not pleasant.

Here’s the science behind color: Colors have a temperature and the warmer the color the higher the temperature (measured in Kelvin) and the higher the anxiety levels.

Too many warm colors in a space is like sitting in the direct sun on a hot summer day and not having access to shade.

One of the best-kept secrets to using color appropriately in a healing space is to balance your warm tones with cool ones.

That means if you paint your walls a warm color, bring in furniture that is in the cooler family of colors and vice-versa.

Mix up the color palette of your design elements with things like plants and nature landscape photography with blue oceans or lavender flowers.

Does your practice or clinic have too many warm or cool tones? Does it feel balanced?

I’d love to know.

Simply hit reply to this email. I read every one of them.

Cheerfully Yours,
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P.S. Want some instant color inspiration now? Head on over to my new Pinterest board, “Color for Healing Spaces.” I made it just for you.

HOW DO I DESIGN A WAITING ROOM THAT KEEPS MY PATIENTS COMING BACK?
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