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Last Thursday, I was a guest on the podcast The Dentalpreneur — hosted by the wildly successful and open-hearted dentist and entrepreneur Dr. Mark Costes. [I’ll let you know when the show goes live.]

It was an exquisite opportunity to talk to a group of healers (yes dentists are healers, too) who benefit enormously from installing patient-centered designs in their practices.

After all, just the thought of going to the dentist makes so many of us want to curl up in a ball and crawl under a rock.

Anticipatory anxiety that often creeps in under your skin as each day gets closer to the scheduled appointment can leave anyone feeling wiped out for days after. Ugh.

But… when dentists install soft lighting, beautiful artwork, and nurturing wall colors in their waiting and treatment rooms that exude comfort and make you feel like you’ve just walked into a hug, that whole experience changes for the better.

On the show, Mark asked me all kinds of questions about how to create a healthcare space that keeps patient retention rates high and referral rates flowing.

I offered him an on-the-spot quick design consultation for one of his seven dental practices located in Chino Valley, Arizona—population 10,700 and as Mark shared, a place where cows outnumber people.

Mark was particularly interested in replacing his overhead fluorescent lights installed in all seven of his treatment rooms.

During the show, he learned from me a little known fact about Germany and it’s country-wide ban on all cool white fluorescent tube lighting in all its buildings because of the evidence showing it contributes to diseases and disorders like melanoma and migraines.

Before I offered new lighting suggestions, here’s a basic overview of how our conversation went:

Me: What’s the demographic of your patients?
Mark: Pretty much everyone from kids to the elderly. 
Me: Okay. What’s the geography like in Chino Valley, Arizona?
Mark: Pretty flat. The cows outnumber the people and there is a big culture of rodeos here.
Me: Cool. So, is it safe to assume there is an abundance of masculine energy there?
Mark: Yup.
Me: And not a lot of the soft, feminine energy in the natural setting (like forests and streams) and probably not in the decor of your office right?
Mark: Right. The artwork is mainly large images of local rodeos in the area.

That short conversation gave me enough information I needed to guide Mark in selecting the best overhead light fixture for each of his seven treatment rooms.

I was able to ascertain that the space needed an infusion of feminine energy and in this case in the light fixture.

The design solution was easy.

Install an off-white overhead curved or rounded light fixture with a fabric shade, to scale and proportion to the size of each treatment room and one that hangs down a bit so the patient reclined in the operatory chair has a pretty fixture to look up at.

As I have talked about before many times, rounded or curved shapes are a feminine design element and when added to a masculine design (like that of Mark’s dental practice) they bring balance to a space. And that balance translates to a calm feeling in the body.

I knew Mark’s wife (who is an amateur interior designer) could take it from there. From what Mark had shared, she has been designing his dentist offices with much success.


It doesn’t take much for you to completely shift how your wellness or healthcare space looks and feels.

It simply takes understanding and guidance to get there.

Don’t waste time or money on costly design mistakes you will regret later. Get the help you need to start your design project now:

With love and little yee-haw,