Updating Art in Your Medical Office - Where to start?

I recently had the occasion to visit a Sports Medicine Doctor for a shoulder issue … the last time I had an occasion to visit this office (fortunately) was about 10 years ago.  Besides all the Covid-19 related changes and protocols … the second thing that struck me was “man, this artwork is really outdated.”

Now – to be fair, I am in the art business so I probably notice these things in a more profound way than most.  But, old – ugly art is still old - ugly art.  It’s not that the frames were damaged or that the prints were faded – they were not.  But when it comes to updates to commercial space, the fact is – finishes tend to “ugly out” before they wear out.  And in this particular office – that was certainly the case.

This brings me to my point - how does a smaller medical office go about updating art without hiring a designer or spending a lot of time and money to find new art?  You may be the office manager or somehow find yourself in charge of this task.  Or maybe you’re just tired of looking at the same old art and want to “propose” some changes.

A great place to start is with the art that’s already on the wall – as well as the blank spaces throughout the facility that could benefit from art that is soothing and helps your patients feel more relaxed.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Look at any existing art and determine if it needs to stay or go. Chances are – it needs to go because it will not fit with any updates – but, some pieces may be able to be shifted to new locations (as long as the have not totally “uglied out”).
  • Once you determine that a current art piece needs to be replaced – decide if the current size is the right size. Is it too big or too small for the space.  Complete the same exercise for any new art locations.  Tip: if you’re not sure of the best size – measure out the space using blue or green painters tape – that will help you visualize the new art in space.  Size as needed.
  • Is there a theme or color scheme that needs to be prevalent in any new art piece or do you want a mix of art? Maybe some nature scenes in certain areas and colorful abstracts in others? 
    Consider your mix of patients and what they might enjoy – not just your own taste.
  • What type of finishes are important and appropriate for each space? For example: in exam rooms, framed prints behind glass or Acrylic art might be best because they are easy to clean.  In the waiting room – Canvas Art (framed or unframed) may be best.  Canvas is non-reflective so placement across from windows is not an issue.  And, canvas is better at absorbing sound.
  • What type of hangers are best for your situation and who’s going to hang the art? Art that uses wire hangers is never a good choice in a commercial setting – unless you want a new job duty (straighten the art today).  2 D-Rings or Security Hangers are better choices.

These are just a few thoughts that may help with your artwork decisions.  Of course – feel free to visit our store at: www.healthcareart.shop for more tips and some great art selections.  You can also e-mail us if you need further assistance. Taryn is our expert and she’s ready to help:  Taryn@designdecorart.com


Scott Schilling is Managing Director of Design Décor Art Group.  The company specializes in creating and building commercial quality art for healthcare facilities throughout the US.  They serve customers from small medical offices to clinics to large hospitals and have recently opened an on-line store designed to bring affordable, curated art to smaller medical offices.