Décor is vital to the success of any pediatric office since it plays a key role in the comfort level and first impression of patients. A well-decorated pediatric waiting room should feel inviting and comfortable for both children and parents.
Color Schemes for Pediatric Waiting Rooms
The use of bright, vibrant colors is a common practice in kid-friendly interiors since children are naturally stimulated by bright colors. However, too much stimulation in the waiting room can lead to agitation and irritability. Following a few guidelines in color theory will help you select the right hues for the space.
- Red: Avoid using bright red in large quantities. Red is known to increase the appetite and raise blood pressure and heart rate. Red makes some people feel anxious and irritable or even angry. Use it in smaller quantities such as on chairs or in framed art.
- Yellow: Use as much yellow as you like since this color invokes feelings of happiness, cheerfulness and joy.
- Blue and green: These cool hues create a feeling of relaxation and tranquility. Blue and green are good choices for large areas such as walls or flooring for a comfortable environment.
- Purple: This hue sparks creativity, which makes it a good choice for the children's sitting and activity areas in waiting rooms.
Fun Themes for Offices and Exam Rooms
Themes are very popular in pediatric offices because they help put children at ease by providing distractions from the upset of examinations, shots, and other procedures. Children are drawn to living creatures and nature, and this makes natural themes an excellent choice. Children are also drawn to fantasy, magic, and make-believe worlds that capture their imagination.
Jungle or Safari Theme
Provide a fun distraction for kids visiting the dentist or doctor by decorating with a jungle or safari office theme. Paint a jungle background on a few walls, and flesh out the theme with a lot of greenery, including real and/or silk plants and trees. Add stuffed jungle animals, toys, furniture from chairs to fans, accessories like clocks, bookcases, and games to complement the theme.
If you hire a healthcare interior design firm, you'll be able to take it to the next level in your waiting room and include slides, club houses or tablet stations to keep kids entertained. Safari animals can be painted or applied with vinyl wall decals.
Instead of numbering exam rooms, label each one with an animal name such as the monkey room or the giraffe room. The walls inside each room could be painted in that animal's colors or feature more images of the animal as well as have cabinets and exam tables reflect this style.
Ocean scenes go over big with children. Paint the walls a tranquil blue or blue-green color and decorate them with sea animals and wall murals of underwater scenes or seascapes. Themed furniture, toys, and games with a beach, nautical, or lighthouse theme are also an option. You can even add murals to the front of exam tables to create the oceanic atmosphere.
Consider setting up a saltwater aquarium in the waiting room to provide an endless distraction for children who might otherwise feel anxious about getting shots or seeing the doctor or dentist. Adults also enjoy watching underwater life in an aquarium and having something to watch makes the waiting time more bearable.
Provide coffee table picture books and children's books about the ocean to help patients pass the time while waiting to be seen. Exam rooms can also have ocean-inspired names instead of numbers, such as the seahorse room, sea turtle room or the starfish room and decorate each room with that sea creature.
Bright, colorful wall murals featuring scenes with magical elements can help make the office seem less intimidating. These can be a combination of superheroes, knights, friendly dragons, fairies and other magical-type creatures. You can create a magical castle interior or larger-than-life dragon statues with the assistance of an interior design or architecture firm or simply use wall murals, along with many pieces of children's furniture, toys, and games.
Include plenty of children's books containing popular fairy tales. You can further distract children from where they really are by playing fairy tale-themed cartoons and movies on a TV. Furthermore, you can create each exam room into sub-theme, such as a superhero room, princess room, dragon room, or castle room and decorate accordingly with exam room tables, cabinets and murals or wall art.
Outer Space or Astronomy Theme
The idea of outer space, aliens, spaceships and space travel is fascinating and provides a wonderful opportunity for kids to explore, learn while waiting for their appointment. There are several wall decals or stickers you can use to decorate your waiting room or exam rooms. Other options are to create a stargazing outdoor theme with club houses or tents with telescopes. Consider incorporating games, toys, and storybooks regarding outer space or astronomy topics to complete your theme.
Because this is a popular theme for children there are more cabinets, tables for examinations, bookcases, and more furniture choices found online or with healthcare suppliers. Each exam room can have its own theme and named after planets, the sun, stars or comets and decorated with wall art, posters or artwork from patients.
Healthy Activities Theme
Wall murals are often integral in carrying out a theme. This one, created by Janice Saunders of JMS Artistic Dimensions, LLC, focuses on healthy activities and recycling at the doctor's request.
"This doctor wanted something that showed and encouraged recycling in each room and wanted this mural to show 'athletic activity without focusing on sports,'" Saunders said. "He wanted to encourage all children to get out and move!"
Besides wall murals, patients can provide their own art to hang up and incorporate healthy books and games that promote these themes. While there may not be too many selections in furniture designed for this specific theme, brightly colored furniture pieces would work nicely.
The waiting room can be a combination of healthy lifestyle activities, such as incorporating learning toys to feed the mind or have tablet stations with educational apps available regarding eating healthy or how to recycle. Parents can learn, too, through green sustainable magazines or healthy living magazines that focus on these issues and are displayed nicely in the waiting and exam rooms.
Shopping for Theme Décor
Specialized retailers can help you create amazing theme rooms for any pediatric medical office.
- Smile Makers offers a variety of exam room decorating packages with themes kids will love.
- Imagination Dental sells Insta-Theme products including fun murals, "wall busters," and other decor pieces that help bring a theme to life.
- Tiger Medical provides exam tables, cabinets and other office supplies for pediatric offices.
Waiting Room Furniture and Toys
Waiting room furniture should include a mix of comfortable seating for adults and child-size furniture for kids. Vinyl-covered foam furniture offers a soft and comfortable alternative to traditional wood or plastic child-sized furniture.
Designate a separate area for tables and chairs designed for small bodies. Place this area at one end of the room within sight of the adult seating. This way parents can see their children, yet still sit at a comfortable distance from the chaos.
Provide busy distractions for children such as simple puzzles, blocks, bead mazes and activity tables with built-in toys.
Shopping for Waiting Room Items
You can find a wide selection of furniture and toys at the following retailers.
- Sensory Edge offers a nice selection of activity tables, play cubes, toys, and other accessories.
- Pediatric Office Furniture offers bright waiting room chairs, play table sets, and a variety of related items.
Other Ideas for Wall Décor
In addition to painted murals and vinyl wall decals, handcrafted art on walls helps give a pediatric office a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.
Art created by children makes nice wall décor and gives children something they can relate to. Best of all, these young artists can be commissioned for free. You just need to provide them with the right materials such as:
- Blank canvases on wood frames
- Paint brushes
- Acrylic paint
Paint the canvases in a solid color that complements the wall color and then let the children paint their abstract designs or pictures on the colored canvas. Pediatric doctors and dentists may commission their own children or the staff's children for office wall art.
3D Paper Wall Art
Simple designs punched out of stiff, card stock paper can be used to create framed wall art with a three-dimensional look. These paper designs can also be applied directly to the wall, for décor that really stands out; literally.
Designs such as butterflies, birds, clouds and hot air balloons appear as if they might float right off the wall. If you or someone you know is an ambitious crafter, this cut-out paper wall art can be a fairly uncomplicated but time-consuming do-it-yourself project.
Shopping for Wall Art Supplies
Creativity knows no bounds when you have the right art supplies. The following retailers carry all the supplies needed to create fabulous wall art.
- Utrecht Art Supplies carries a variety of paints, canvases, and brushes.
- Michael's Crafts also carries just about any kind of painting supplies imaginable, plus a variety of papers suitable for 3-D wall art projects.
Don't Forget the Treasure Chest!
Fun decor can make a trip to the doctor or dentist a little less scary, but no pediatric office would be complete without a treasure chest filled with inexpensive little toys and other prizes for kids to take home. It's the perfect end to any appointment, and it gives kids a reason took look forward to their next visit.