Healthcare workplaces can be seen as sterile and uninviting. Thanks to modern day design solutions, healthcare environments are changing. Industry leaders and designers are learning that surface materials have a huge impact on the look and feel of a healthcare environment. The most important factor to consider is the way materials work together while still maintaining functionality.

The environment of a healthcare workplace, such as doctor’s offices and hospital waiting rooms, are impacted by design. Spaces like these are being infused with warmth. Once stark whites and flat greys dominated the visuals of the healthcare workplace, but now warm colors and neutrals with depth are replacing them.

This change does not only affect patients and their families. These redesigns are changing the way healthcare professionals are interacting with patients and staff. By having a more inviting area, this is  creating a more welcoming and productive atmosphere for everyone.


Who wants boring furniture these days? Gone are the days of cold stiff waiting rooms filled with bland furniture. Doctors offices and hospitals are trading in outdated pieces for ones with more appealing form and materials that blend into a room. The way furniture feels to healthcare workplace staff and visitors is just as important as the way it functions.

Our recent YouTube video, “The Evolution of Healthcare Spaces,”goes further in-depth about the advancements in designs that are meeting current trends and needs in the healthcare workplace. Jason Vanderground of Steelcase and Rae Reinhart, an expert in healthcare interior design, sit down to explain the specific trends in regard to materials and healthcare spacial design.

Surround is on the cutting edge of change and how the healthcare industry addresses patient care and family support. Surround furniture pieces offer comfort and versatility for family members engaged in supporting their loved ones in treatment. Pieces like sleeper sofas serve multiple functions with ease.

As the healthcare industry evolves at a rapid rate, modern care and modern design meet. Items such as  flooring and coating material on furniture are not only practical, with surfaces that can withstand numerous bleach cleanings, but are also texturally pleasing to the touch.


Simple considerations are being made, by Surround and like companies, in the healthcare workplace. Solutions are being driven by feedback from patients, their families, and healthcare staff. Factors include:

  • frequent, inclusive conversations among family members and their loved ones, and clinicians
  • daily living activities, such as eating, working, sleeping, socializing and hosting
  • flexibility of seating to support a range of body types and postures, including lounging and reclining
  • spatial efficiency and hygiene, reducing clutter in the way of clinicians and easing cleaning for staff
  • clinician requirements, minimizing family members’ risk of impeding patient care
  • family members to place belongings


The focus of healthcare is shifting to a broader business model. This change drives the need to serve its “customers,” disregarding a once utilitarian approach. The healthcare workplace design industry has expanded and represents interior designers, architects, product manufacturers, and healthcare facilitators. Both the public and private healthcare sectors are adapting.

Along with texture and visual aesthetics, factors supporting evidence based, medical focused interior design are being identified. The role of these elements improves experience and  emotionally supportive platforms for an industry perceived as lackluster. Healthcare researchers have pinpointed these principals:

  • patient/staff safety
  • wayfinding
  • room function and detail
  • daylighting and artificial lighting design
  • fine details
  • Forms and shapes of furniture and accessories

While these types of modifications work to keep up with the demands of this transformative industry, we expect to pursue creative solutions to fill the needs of the modern healthcare workspace.

Steelcase is ready to identify the right healthcare workplace solutions for your specific field. Contact us for more information.