But I’d be remiss if I didn’t take a moment to talk a bit about hospital room décor. Four days is a long time to be sitting in a room with faded walls and vertical blinds. And don’t get me started on the furniture! Lol
So I happily did what I could to improve our situation. I brought in sheets that tied the salmon/off-white color scheme together (I had some “vintage” PB kids aloha sheets with a pop of orange), and a few accents pillows and throws for a homey feel (not shown in this pic).
Then I taped my child’s butterfly craft she made while she was there on the wall as a focal point (using surgical tape I found in a drawer).
To pass the time, we watched a lot of kid movies together. Observing “Mary Poppins” rearrange the nanny room at the Banks home with her magical carpet bag, I got to thinking about inexpensive ways children’s hospitals could spruce up their patient rooms.
Because they serve all ages of kids, rooms should not be too cutsie or bright. Rather a sophisticated toned-down color palette would be soothing and appeal to all ages, including parents.
I realize that most hospitals don’t have big budgets for interior design and there are many safety concerns that take top priority. Here are a few easy and inexpensive ideas:
Paint: Paint is cheap and color is powerful. Opt for a palette of several soft colors inspired by nature that play well together and don’t show wear and tear as easily. Save the bolder colors for accents that can be easily updated. For example, neutral tan walls play well with leafy green, sunny yellow and bright orange or turquoise accents. Anything goes (but do avoid the color red)!
Wall Art: Spice up the walls with easy-to-use wall decals. You could use large circles on the wall randomly like bubbles in the wind. Or perhaps silver stars. To go bold, how about a wall mural that covers an entire wall? PB Teen has lots of interesting ideas. Here’s one of my favorites – wouldn’t that pooch make you feel better faster?:
Windows: Replace those vertical blinds from the 80’s with fabric window treatments – Not only do they look nicer, they absorb noise too!
Bedding: Take some cues from hotel rooms. Rather than all dingy white bedding – just add a colorful throw blanket at the bottom of the bed to tie in with the room’s décor.
Lighting: I noticed that the florescent lighting was all or nothing. How about adding a sconce or two with a 3 way bulb or dimmer? Great for soothing children while allowing parents to read, or comfort for a teen who likes to read at night.
Personalization: It can be scary to be away from those you love. Create a gallery setting so children could put up pictures they have drawn or display favorite photos of family and friends. To do this, create a faux frame area on the wall using simple crown molding. Attach a few clips inside the frame to hold their personal reminders.
Assuming no budget, what’s a hospital to do? How about an adopt-a-room program? Local businesses in the community can sponsor the redesign of a room. Or perhaps one of the many interior design association communities could take on a project and get some good PR out of it.
Here’s an example of a homeless shelter a group from IRIS redesigned earlier this year. It’s a win-win-win!
So next time you go visit someone in the hospital, forego the flowers and bring them a reading light and soft pillow! Or, if you are so lucky, find a magical carpet bag!