A hospital can be daunting and scary place when you’re only five years old.

When the Tinto team was challenged by The ARCHIE Foundation to provide a distinct, functional, yet welcoming main reception area at the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital, one of the largest considerations for design was colour selection.

Colour is not simply about what looks nice - there is a complex psychological connection, which has a considerable impact on how we feel and respond in certain situations.

During the project we found that we could help relieve stressful experiences by offering all users a comfortable, enchanting space. We already know that improved interior design can have an impact on patient health and recovery rates, so the hospital entrance was a hugely important task. Above all, we had to remove the clinical atmosphere.

Several considerations were reviewed when it came to colour choice. Firstly, we aimed to appeal to each of the sexes, with blue, pink and green making it into initial designs. When we dig deep into the psychology of colour, you can understand why:

Blue: This evokes feelings of peace, tranquillity, relaxation, reduction in stress, trust, soothing and serenity.

Pink: This conjures up feelings of sensitivity, warmth, love, tenderness and compassion.

Green: This induces feelings of balance, harmony, renewal, self-control, equilibrium, tranquillity, relaxation, peace and reassurance.

We began with a bold and bright colour palette, but when we took other important things into consideration, such as paint and materials that met criteria for infection control, we had to make changes.

For this, areas have to be robust, hardwearing and easy to wipe/disinfect. The hue of pink available turned out to be washed out and passive, so we searched for something that would inject some energy.

The solution? We found orange! This relates to optimism, warmth, energy, security, stimulation, happiness, enthusiasm and strength - a fantastic fit!

To embody our selected colour scheme, we adopted a ‘great outdoors’ theme. With a central tree installation, animal furniture and hanging clouds and birds throughout the reception area, we are truly bringing the outdoors inside.

This new space will give patients and their families something exciting to look at, and a sense of escape from a typical hospital environment when they are unable to actually go outdoors. This also ties in nicely with an on-going external garden project, which is upgrading areas at the front and rear of the building. This encompasses some impressive topiary giraffes and elephants!

What about the end result? Here are some images so you can see for yourself. We are exceptionally proud to have been involved with such an exciting project, helping to make the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital a more welcoming place to come to.