The effects of colour and the power of nature

It’s no surprise that colour plays an important role in creating a homely environment. Altro floors and wall systems can be used to create certain moods: stimulate or calm, depending on the needs of the people using the spaces.

There are no hard and fast rules on using colour; it’s about considering the needs and tastes of the end users.

Designing for particular needs

Our solutions are used within a huge variety of spaces - spaces used by a huge variety of people. We have worked with you on creating environments that need to use colour in a certain way, to benefit those using them.


Bright colours appeal to children and create stimulating, fun rooms; however, for those with autism, oranges, reds and yellows can be overstimulating. They can cause an increase in heart rate and loss of temper. Yet red is important in residential care as it can stimulate appetite.It’s about balance and being in tune with the residents’ needs. Using Altro Whiterock Splashbacks or using colour on the floor, rather than the walls, can be less overwhelming.

It is recommended that learning areas or Treatment and Education of Autistic and Related Communication Handicapped Children (TEACCH) rooms are a neutral grey so as not to distract from activity areas within the rooms, which tend to be brightly coloured.

The aging eye

The yellowing of the eye lens as we age means that the blue end of the spectrum is lost first. Many care homes with older residents prefer neutral shades or those at the yellow/red end of the spectrum.


The guidance about using non-clinical colours is crucial when designing for dementia. Colour can also be used to theme rooms to help with recall. What’s also important here though goes beyond the shade chosen and is more about contrast. Running different floor colours through a building can create the impression of a step. This can cause uncertainty and could lead to a fall. We recommend installing floors with similar Light Reflectance Values (LRVs) throughout care homes to help keep residents safer and encourage independent mobility. We recommend looking at colours that will sit side by side in grey-scale as this is the best way to check contrasts for different sight abilities. For more information on designing for dementia, please visit our care homes pages.


Colour is one of the ways of helping with wayfinding. Different colours may be incorporated into wayfinding and orientation, triggering the memory and helping to create familiarity. It’s important to remember not everyone sees colour the same way, so this should be combined with other visual signs such as art or other landmarks where possible. We have developed shades to suit all tastes and practical considerations, plus, our walls and floors palettes combine to look good, and offer the required contrast differences.


Humans have an attachment to nature as our body is synced to the natural environment around us. It’s called biophilia. It means we are more likely to resonate with colours which are linked to nature. This can even help with psychological recuperation. Many of the shades we offer are deliberately drawn from nature, with Altro Pisces, our specialist safety floor for wet environments, being a great example of this. As well as using shades of Altro Whiterock Satins, or Altro Whiterock Chameleon, to create a more natural feeling, Altro Whiterock Digiclad is often used to display photographic images of nature. This can have a huge impact on how we view the space around us, for example, turning a clinical hospital waiting room into somewhere calmer and less anxiety-inducing.

Many of our most popular shades are natural ones; woods, greens, blues, floral shades. It’s fair to say that the idea of bringing the outside in is here to stay.

If you need to choose colours that complement your branding or overall colour scheme, please speak with your Altro Consultant, who will be able to help.

To see our shades in-situ, take a look at the Altro space visualiser.

Posted: 13/06/2018 08:00:00 by Heather Mussett | with 0 comments