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Dental Office Design:
How Color Affects Patient Outcome

With the seemingly endless decisions to make when it comes to your dental practice startup, choosing your color scheme is a time you can take a breather.

After all, you know your favorite colors, right?

You know which colors complement each other. You have it all figured out.

It’s as easy as choosing the color scheme for your wedding. The way you always dreamed it to be.


Your color scheme dreams are NOT what matter. This isn’t your wedding, and it’s not about you.

WHAT? But it’s MY office.

It’s NOT about you.

What does matter?

The RIGHT dental office color scheme for your ideal patient and team members.

Keep reading to understand the full impact of color choices.


The Top 7 Floorplan Models for Startup Practices at: www. DentalFloorplans.com

Let’s get started with the first rule for Floorplans and Office Design.

Do Color Choices Matter in a Dental Practice?


When it comes to your dental practice, choosing the best office colors is imperative. Colors have cultural and emotional significance. They influence behavior and elicit responses. They can bring on feelings of relaxation, happiness, sadness, and anxiety.

Colors influence how we respond to the environment. They affect how we feel.

Let’s say yellow is your favorite color. The color of sunshine. It gives you feelings of happiness and joy. It creates optimism, energy, and excitement.


But while yellow does produce those feelings, too much can INCREASE ANXIETY.

Is that the message you want to send?

Maybe you prefer blue.

Blue indicates confidence, loyalty, honesty, and wisdom. It can reduce blood pressure, promote focus and trust, and have a calming effect. Think clear skies and peaceful oceans.

Sounds GREAT.

But too much becomes boring.

Studies show colors can and do affect mood. You want to take advantage of this knowledge. What is the image you want to portray to your patients? How do you want them to feel—while waiting for treatment, receiving treatment, and paying for treatment?

What about your team? While colors that produce feelings of relaxation and peace may be good for the patients, you don’t want to put your team—or yourself—to sleep.

The #1 Topic to Design Your Dental Practice Startup

doc mike interior office

Before you choose a dental office color design, you must understand your Vision.

At Ideal Practices, our team of experts has the experience of opening hundreds of dental startups. We have done this all over the country, and each of our high-level consulting clients enjoys a successful practice that expresses their personal vision. We understand the importance of making sure your office colors align with your vision. 

It all boils down to your Vision Stage. When you partner with our team of experts at Ideal Practices, we start with an in-depth Vision Call so we can determine your vision for your future practice. This is the first–and most important–stage.

Sadly, this is also the stage that is most often done incorrectly. And when done incorrectly or planned improperly, the financial loss can be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Maybe you are wondering who I am and how I know this?

My name is Jayme Amos, CEO of Ideal Practices. You can read about our Startup Consulting firm in almost every major dental publication (Dental Town, Delivering Wow, Dental Success Summit, Dental Nachos, Dental Products Report, Dental Entrepreneur, and more).

What I’ve learned through helping hundreds of associate dentists open dental practice startups is how important the very precise and customized planning in the Vision Stage affects everything.

Your budget. Your growth. Your profits. Marketing, demographics, real estate, floorplans…

…and office design.

This is where your vision planning and your Ideal Patient intersect.

The Ideal Patient Profile

One of the most important topics we plan in the Vision Call is your Ideal Patient profile. This is used to find and attract the kinds of patients you enjoy seeing the most.

To enjoy growing your dental practice, you MUST understand who your ideal patient is and what image you want to convey to them.

Understanding these things is the first step in opening your dental startup. Once we understand these things, we REVERSE ENGINEER your entire dental practice startup business plan.

Learn the 13 STEPS to the Grand Opening Day of Your Dental Practice.

Keep reading to learn how to get your vision call and customized business plan.

What emotions do colors convey?

doc nadya interior waiting room

According to psychologists, colors affect both your physical and emotional health. They create changes in your brain.

And saturation and brightness matter. Saturation has to do with a color’s purity. Think of the difference between bright red and its less-saturated hue maroon. Brightness is how bright it is. For example, sky blue is brighter than navy blue.

Do different shades matter?

Consider how red-purple conveys sensuality, while blue-purple relates spirituality.

Baby blue calms and soothes, but darker blues denote a tone of seriousness. 

Little differences matter.

Think of an office with gray cubicles. Gray carpet. Gray walls. Talk about bland. BORING. And gray connotates depression and lack of confidence. If you like gray, use it sparingly as an accent.

Don’t be a boring, sad dentist.

You want color, but what colors will generate the vision, energy, and perception you want?

We already discussed yellow and blue. Let’s look at some other color emotions. And by the way, this isn’t just about your office. Colors affect your brand perception.

Green suggests security and growth and can be calming. It conveys healing and safety and creates balance, harmony, and creativity. And like blue, it can reduce anxiety—and it can also become boring.

Red adds warmth—making a chilly room more comfortable. While this can be good if you have a cold office, keep in mind that it also conveys romance and violence. It boosts heart rate and activity. Red brings up images of blood, fire, and danger and can induce hostility and anger.

Maybe stay away from too much red? Small swatches of color are all it takes. Pillows on a couch. A painting on the wall.  A knick-knack on a table.

Orange may be great for the breakroom, as it can increase your appetite. It also inspires endurance and energy. Probably best to keep it in the team areas.

White promotes creativity and reduces errors. It elicits feelings of innocence, perfection, and cleanliness—even purity and sterility. (Think wedding dresses and doctors’ jackets.) But too much is considered cold and bland. When used with bright colors, however, it creates balance.

Purple combines the energy of red and stability of blue. It says power, royalty, and luxury. It is also a favorite color of children. However, certain shades can evoke gloom, sadness, or even romance.

Black evokes authority, power, and elegance. It can also suggest mystery, evil, and death. Might want to be careful with black.

Consider Cultural Associations of Colors

While colors elicit emotions and feelings, keep in mind there are also cultural meanings.

Here in America, we think of pink for girls and blue for boys. While that seems obvious to us, other cultures have different meanings. Some countries say blue stands for depression and loneliness, while pink rules and makes an impact.

Some cultures associate colors with political associations. We have red and blue. Other countries relate to orange, black, brown, green, and yellow.

While you may think natural, healthy, or Earth with green, other countries associate green with spoiled food, Islamic political parties, or socialism.

Our culture associates white with pure, sterile, and angelic, while other cultures view white as meaning death and mourning.

You MUST consider everything when choosing colors, including emotions and cultures.

How to Choose Your Colors

doc olga interior chair

Again, what is your vision? Who is your ideal patient? How do you want your patients to perceive you and your practice?

Balance is key.

So is understanding your ideal patient. If you are a pediatric dentist, your dental clinic color scheme should be different from a boutique-type dentist. Know your patient’s expectations and go from there.

And remember, not every area has to have the same colors. For instance, you can focus on relaxing, stress-reducing blue in the reception area (it is a reception area, not a “waiting” room that gives the impression of waiting and time) or treatment areas. Maybe go for high energy colors in team areas, like the breakroom.

And adding color doesn’t have to mean all the walls or flooring. Sometimes a splash of color is all you need.

For instance, while you may prefer relaxing blue for the reception area, you want to keep in mind it is the first impression of your dental practice. You may want to add accents of soft orange or peach for welcoming and positive feelings, or some yellow to say happy and cheerful. For instance, an accent wall or rugs or décor that has a pop of color.

Or maybe you prefer a pink or soft coral for your accents to convey an image of pampering and indulgence.

Some blue/green in the administration area assists in decision making. A painting on the wall patients can admire while checking out, making payments, and setting future appointments may be helpful. But understand, too much blue or green can slow the productivity of your team.

As already stated, you may want to choose pick-me-up orange for team areas, but you may want small boosts of green, such as plants, to create harmony and balance.

Integrate white as an accent. Little bursts balance the other colors and give the impression of cleanliness.

You can also add fun and excitement by incorporating colors on opposite sides of the color wheel. For instance, green is the opposite of red, and purple is the opposite of yellow. Or, if you prefer to increase relaxation, join colors close to each other, such as blue and green.

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Bottom Line

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The possibilities are endless, and the colors you choose for your dental practice can dramatically affect your patient experience.

Subliminal messages are conveyed—whether good or bad.

What is the message you want your patients to receive? Patients make judgments as soon as they open your door opens.

If you know the perception you want your patients to have, you can impact it through office color choices. Make sure you project a positive image. The right image for your vision.

Create the effect you want.

Again, think of your target audience. Consider age, background, possible profession, and cultural differences. These play a part in the colors that speak to them and the perception of you and your practice.

For more tips, tricks, and tools to your own highly successful dental practice, Apply NOW to be part of our next Startup Blueprint Course.

If you want to jump right in for your personal, customized vision call and business plan, Apply TODAY to be one of our consultant clients.

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