Created By: Clevomon on September 27, 2011 Last Edited By: Clevomon on December 25, 2011

Sterile White Hospital Room

Hospitals, be they physical medicine or psychiatric medicine, tend to have white rooms

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Most hospital rooms on TV are painted white, probably because white has connotations of sterility and cleanliness. Psychiatric hospitals use this too, although in that case, it's probably because white will keep patients calmer.

Hospital rooms on TV almost always look so shiny and new that they could be on the starship Enterprise. Every TV hospital must have been built the previous week, because they never have out-of-date equipment, old paint in funny colours or mismatched guest chairs.

In real life most hospitals have white walls, often with blue floors. In fact white walls and blue floors are fairly common in office buildings as well. Red is avoided in hospitals, but not so much in offices.

Why is this? Well, imagine how it would feel to wake up in a hospital with black walls and a florescent pink floor.

Compare White Void Room and Ascetic Aesthetic.
Film

Literature

Live-Action TV
  • Misfits: 3.5 - the hospital the group is working in is all white. Blue curtains to offset.

Rolling Updates
Community Feedback Replies: 14
  • September 27, 2011
    JonnyB
    Except operating rooms, which usually tend to be painted lime green for some reason.
  • September 27, 2011
    Antigone3
    ^ Probably the same reason surgical scrubs tend to be colored instead of white.
  • September 27, 2011
    KamenZero
    Truth In Television for reasons already stated in the description. White is "cleaner" than most other colors.
  • November 17, 2011
    Earnest
  • November 17, 2011
    LeeM
    OT Damn, I can't get that song out of my head now...
  • November 20, 2011
    mtlwriterguy
    It's more than just the sterile white room. Hospital rooms on TV almost always look so shiny and new that they could be on the starship Enterprise. Every TV hospital must have been built the previous week, because they never have out-of-date equipment, old paint in funny colours or mismatched guest chairs, like every real hospital I've every been in.
  • November 20, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    • True for all the CDC rooms and furniture encountered in Newsflesh thus far.
  • November 20, 2011
    Clevomon
    @mtlwriterguy

    Isn't that Hospital Paradiso?
  • November 23, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    ^ A Hospital Paradiso would be a hospital that has niceness as its main noticeable feature. A Sterile White Hospital Room is notable for being all white and can be not so nice. One Flew Over The Cuckoos Nest has these in the book and in the movie and it is anything but a Hospital Paradiso.
  • November 24, 2011
    yogyog
    In real life most hospitals have white walls, often with blue floors. In fact white walls and blue floors are fairly common in office buildings as well. Red is avoided in hospitals, but not so much in offices. I suspect that medical organizations like the NHS have standard colours for how their building are painted.

    Why is this? Well, imagine how it would feel to wake up in a hospital with black walls and a florescent pink floor.
  • November 24, 2011
    ParadiscaCorbasi
    If I woke up in a hospital with black walls and a fluoresccent pink floor I would wonder if I were at some sort of strange themed rave. Or if my meds had not worn off (kicked in) yet.

    • Misfits: 3.5 - the hospital the group is working in is all white. Blue curtains to offset.

    Real Life hospitals have developed decor because it's better for the patients, mentally, to be in an environment that's warm and welcoming, rather than sterile and cold.
  • December 18, 2011
    ThreeferFAQMinorityChick
    I was talking to a relative who told me that hospitals commonly have white walls because stains and spots are more visible against white than other colors and can be more quickly attended to. Also, the second Terminator movie has the Pescadero State Hospital with not only sterile white rooms, but this also extends to the hallways. Also, Clear Rivers's padded cell in the second Final Destination movie is all-white.
  • December 25, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Resident Evil. After being captured by Umbrella medical personnel Alice wakes up in a white operating/observation room in a Raccoon City hospital.
  • December 25, 2011
    fulltimeD
    I feel like this is two separate tropes:

    1. "White as symbolizing sterility, cleanliness, healing in hospital decor"

    and

    2. "Hospitals always have the newest equipment, furniture, coats of paint, etc instead of old mismatched chairs in the waiting room, dated wall murals, and out-of-date but still functional equipment"
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