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Lighting and
colour for
hospital design
A Report on an
NHS Estates Funded
Research Project

ISBN 0-11-322491-5

9 780113 224913

Hilary Dalke*
Paul J Littlefair+
David L Loe+
*London South Bank

Lighting and colour
for hospital design

London: TSO

Published by TSO (The Stationery Office) and available from:
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© Crown copyright 2004
Published with the permission of NHS Estates,
an Executive Agency of the Department ofHealth,
on behalf of the Controller of Her Majesty’s Stationery
Applications for reproduction should be made
in writing to:
The Copyright Unit,
Her Majesty’s Stationery Office,
St Clements House,
2–16 Colegate,
Norwich NR3 1BQ.
ISBN 0-11-322491-5
First published 2004
Printed in the United Kingdom for The Stationery Office
Cover photograph: ‘Colour Changer 3’
Remote ControlledColour Changing Wallwashing Light
Courtesy of Elga Niemann, Colour Design Research
Centre, South Bank University

The paper used in the printing of this document
(Revive Silk) is 75% made from 100% de-inked postconsumer waste, the remaining 25% being mill broke
and virgin fibres. Recycled papers used in its
production are a combination of Totally Chlorine Free
(TCF) and ElementalChlorine Free (ECF). It is
recyclable and biodegradable and is an NAPM and
Eugropa approved recycled grade.

“I am inclined to think that the majority of
cheerful cases is to be found among those who
are not confined to one room, whatever they are
suffering, and that the majority of depressed
cases will be seen among those subjected to
a long monotony of objects around them. A
nervous framereally suffers as much from this
as the digestive organs suffer from long
monotony of diet. The effect on sickness of
beautiful objects, on variety of objects and
especially brilliancy of colours, is hardly to be
appreciated. Such cravings are usually called
the “fancies” of patients but these “fancies” are
the most valuable indication of that which is
necessary for their recovery.People say that the
effect is only on the mind. It is no such thing.
The effect is on the body too. Little as we know
about the way in which we are affected by form
and colour and light, we do know this: that they
have an actual and physical effect. Variety of
form and brilliance of colour in the objects
presented to patients are an actual means of
Florence Nightingale

ForewordLighting and colour are particularly important in the built
environment. Our research in airports and railway
stations has shown that the psychological power of
colour and control of lighting can influence the mood of
people who may be anxious, disoriented or overemotional.

Here is a definitive and functional publication bringing
together all aspects of colour and lighting needed forcontemporary hospital design. It is a user-friendly
document, for reference early in a building project, which
can be fully understood by both professionals and lay
people alike.

Thus, when talking about the hospital environment, how
much more important lighting and colour becomes.
People are likely to remain in hospital for longer. Their
anxieties might well be much the same, although...
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