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The Calming Effect of Natural Photography in Waiting Rooms

In this week’s article, I want to explore the benefits of positioning natural photography in waiting rooms, and how such placement of photographic nature prints can benefit our mental and emotional wellbeing.

Why this subject?

Waiting rooms are well-known places of frustration and tension. We’re usually sitting feeling apprehensive about a medical procedure, a business meeting, or a discussion about our finances. But as busy people, we’re desperate to get our appointments started, even when we’re nervous.

No matter how you design this space, it’s an area people want to get out of, and quickly.

A herd of stags and deer grazing in a large sunny rolling meadow in Windsor Great Park, London.

The importance of a positive waiting room experience

As a professional interior designer, architect, or company owner, you know it’s essential to make people in the waiting room feel as relaxed as possible. A positive experience (in relative terms) in a waiting room reflects well on the company’s brand. The opposite also applies.

Of course, reducing waiting times is the best way to make everyone happy. This goal, however, is not always realistic. So the next best scenario is to make the waiting experience as positive as it can be.

Beautiful pink, purple, red, and white flowers bordered by greenery in The Saville Garden in Windsor Great Park.

Patient or client satisfaction, in general, usually results in increased retention. It’s commonly known in just about any industry that it costs more to acquire a new patient, customer, or client than to retain an old one. In this sense, a waiting room is a powerful marketing and sales asset. 

And so it’s wise to provide a positive experience where possible.

This is where décor can play a big part in waiting room spaces. In particular, scenes of nature.

A green woodland avenue of trees at the Palace of Versailles near Paris.

The benefits of nature for wellbeing

As I covered in last week’s article about the healing benefits of nature photography, scenes of the natural world can play a big part in interior design.

And this all goes back to the inherent connections we have, as human beings, to green spaces. A walk in the countryside or a hike in the hills can provide a tremendous boost to both our physical health and our mental wellbeing.

A Japanese garden

In the above mentioned article, I shared a few scientific studies. These covered fascinating insights into how being in a natural environment can improve cognitive abilities and even potentially reduce hypertension and cardiac illness.

Experts have long known about the benefits of being in nature. But how does this help when it comes to waiting rooms?

After all, visitors can’t sit outside on a lawn or in a forest waiting for their appointments. Although in some cases, that would be nice!

Tuscan landscape

The benefits of natural images in waiting room design

A substitute for being directly in nature is being able to see scenes of the natural world through windows. For some lucky medical centres, corporate offices, dental firms, and veterinary clinics, there are splendid natural views right outside.

But what if this isn’t possible? 

A great alternative to the real thing is a photographic image of nature or animal scenes. Also covered in last week’s article were several scientific studies which showed that looking at photos of natural scenes is just as effective as looking at the real thing

When viewing a photo of a green scene, whether real or photographic, lower activity in the amygdala and visual cortex is recorded. This reduction typically results in feelings of relaxation and calm.

Sunrise in Tuscany

One particular study was particularly interesting and pertinent. Researchers had directly asked patients in a hospital about their outpatient experiences in relation to the interior environment.

When it came to the wall art, the “respondents expressed a preference for landscapes/nature scenes (84%) and paintings of animals/birds (84%). Fewer wished to look at abstract paintings (27%) or portraits (24%).”

I think we’ve all been sat in a waiting room and viewed rather garish abstract paintings. Nature, however, is different. There’s something about photographic prints of the natural world that can never really look bad.

Nature is beautiful, even if it’s not replicated in the most impressive of shots.

How design professionals can benefit from natural photography

As an interior designer or architect, or business owner, these studies and findings should inspire your waiting room designs.

For further reading material on the matter, I suggest a study carried out that explored the stress-reducing effects of exposure to real or artificial nature in waiting rooms

Adding more greenery, in the form of plants and natural photos, can reduce the anxiety levels of people waiting for a potentially stressful appointment.

As a professional photographer with a love of nature, I’ve long known how beautiful photographic wall prints can change the ambience of interior spaces. Scenes of green rolling hills, sparkling lakes, multi-coloured forests, and majestic waterfalls, can bring us closer to the healing and relaxing benefits of the natural world.

Even photos of animals, like grazing park deer or graceful horses, can imbue a little extra calm and serenity in a busy and potentially stuffy waiting room. And this can be a powerful decorative tool in your interior designs.

The amazing Sgwd yr Eira Waterfall in the Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales.

How prints of nature can be incorporated into waiting rooms

Photographic wall prints work well for any company with a waiting room – from corporate office building lobbies and hospital waiting areas to the small waiting rooms of local dentists, chiropodists, lawyers, and accountants. 

Natural photography in waiting rooms, as previously noted, particularly suits waiting areas without an appealing window view. The prints can be ordered to any size and hung where visitors will most likely view them head-on.

Depending on an interior layout, you can order multiple images, each placed on different walls within the same general space. Or you can even separate one long landscape photograph into a series of individual framed sections, which can look very effective. 

The locality is also a consideration to bear in mind. It’s nice to incorporate natural photographic scenes that in some way mimic the local region, where possible. For example, images of the Royal Parks of London will best match with London-based businesses.

This is not a strict rule, of course. Images of waterfalls, rivers, forests, and beautiful Tuscan hills can feature in any urban waiting room. What matters is the greenness of nature and the flowing forms of familiar much-loved animals.

Woodland stream coursing over rocks surrounded by moss-covered boulders and trees.

Beautiful nature photos for your waiting room

I’ve taken hundreds of photographs of natural scenes, many of which you can see in my online shop of fine art photography prints. All photo prints are available to purchase and can be adapted to suit your unique requirements.

From green grassy expanses and woodland pathways to sandy beaches, forest waterfalls, and awe-inspiring views of valleys and lakes, there’s something for all décor schemes and tastes.

Most importantly of all, these natural photography prints will inspire calm and hope. This soothing element that only nature can provide is especially crucial in waiting rooms where nerves and fears might be prominent.

Click here to get in touch with me today and let’s find the perfect natural photography for your waiting room project.

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