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Color, color, everywhere color!

By Nancy Ballard

Color, color, everywhere color!

The ocean. Fall leaves. Ripe lemons. Each object conjures up a specific color. We are surrounded by color everywhere we go and it influences us in myriad ways. Color sneaks into our minds and plays an important role in the way we think and perceive our environment. Did you know that you might be more productive in a blue room, and that blue creates calmer, more relaxed responses? Or that people working in green environments have fewer stomachaches?

Our first RTR4C project began in San Francisco, California at the medical office of Dr. Hufford, who is an oncologist and also a cancer survivor. We swapped dull gray walls for soothing turquoise, replaced clinical health posters with hand-painted coy fish and installed custom-made wood cabinets with golden pulls. Going through chemotherapy is never easy, but by transforming the treatment rooms and adding soothing colors, we are helping to make the healing journey a little bit brighter.

“Before [the transformation], the rooms were cold and sterile and six hours staring at hospital walls felt like an eternity,” says Julie Grey, a patient who received treatment in a room before, during and after it was “rocked”.The rooms are now calming, colorful and filled with beautiful artwork that puts patients at ease. Chemo day was not something I looked forward to, and I still don’t, but now I find myself thinking about which of the eight rooms I’ll enjoy this time.”

Our designers know color is an inexpensive and easy way to alter the mood of a space. Research suggests the color blue lowers blood pressure and relaxes the mind, allowing for more free-flowing thought. The color red raises blood pressure and makes us more alert and detail-oriented. Placement is important as well; color at eye level will have the most influence.

“It’s a very important time of your life when you sit in these chairs,” says Corinne Fuller, an interior designer and cancer survivor. “The patients greatly benefit from the addition of color in the chemotherapy rooms, and the doctors and those working in those offices benefit as well.”

Dr Hufford was in awe of the changes RTR4C brought to his office. “We had no idea what could be done with a space this small,” he gushed to the RTR4C team. “Color can have such a rich, positive impact on a person, and should be used to its fullest extent.“Having been on both sides of the infusion room, Dr. Hufford truly understood and appreciated the impact his rooms had on his patients, their families and his medical staff. Dr. Hufford lost his battle with cancer in November 2012 and I dedicate RTR4C’s work to his sweet heart and memory.


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