Wardipedia – 51. Personalising bedrooms

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Let’s face it, inpatient bedrooms can be smelly, dull and impersonal. Patient stay lengths vary but while they’re on the ward, it’s pretty much home for them. As if feeling unwell wasn’t enough to cope with, being away from family and friends and their normal life can make things a million times worse. So this idea is about enabling the patient to give their room that personal touch.

There are so many benefits to this, including;

  • Reducing the sense of isolation and anxiety
  • Creating a connection to their actual home
  • Creating a sense of warmth and familiarity
  • Mood-boosting
  • Soothing and reassuring
  • Identity plays a huge part in all mental health problems – so, this provides a reminder of who they are and what they’re about

Some wards have strict rules about sticking things on the wall and bringing in bed linen. We would strongly encourage finding ways round these (usually health and safety) obstacles to provide a more homely and therapeutic environment.

Style tips!

  • Mood boards – for self expression
  • White boards – for reminders etc
  • Magnetic boards – for magnet poetry etc and photos
  • Photo holders
  • Graffiti boards
  • Big sticky vinyl shapes on the wall to write on
  • Plants – looking after something boosts our mood and
  • gives us a sense of purpose
  • Choice of pictures, ornaments (if safe), duvet covers, cushions

Patient examples

  • I sometimes feel so stupid so every certificate I achieve I put on my bedroom wall. I have moments where I can value what I have achieved whilst ill.
  • Before I got admitted we decorated the lounge and kitchen at home. So husband took lots of photos and I have them displayed on my bedroom wall. It’s a reminder of home.
  • There are set protocols on the ward staff have to follow but they do their best to personalise things and make it less institutionalised. Like they bring in DVDs and games from home.
  • I have lots of photos of my children on my bedroom wall as well as their artwork. It helps me keep focused on getting home and being with them.
  • Keeping my bedroom tidy bit by bit had a good affect on my mind. I probably wouldn’t have thought to be so tidy at home.
  • Taking photographs in of my family and pets gave me great comfort as well as being a good talking point.
  • My bedroom on the ward is pretty much a carbon copy of my one at home. It has posters and photos and my own duvet. It is my own, safe, special space.
  • Being around so many people can be extremely overwhelming at times so I made sure my bedroom was as individual as I could make it.

A  little note from Marion…

Buddy and I recently visited an open unit for women who had progressed from medium secure care. A patient offered to show me her room, and it was a real Wow! It looked pretty much like a less intensely pink version of:But what particularly struck me (other than the almost inevitable collection of comforting soft toys) was the pretty doormat in front of her bedroom door and the improvised door-bell! The unit, like the secure wards we visited, had a very strong community feel to it. This was reflected in the collection on the wall of blown-up photocopies of a fellow patient’s (very beautiful) baby.


When I’m in hospital, it’s really important to me that I make my room ‘my own’. My admissions have become shorter and shorter, with the last one just 5 days. During this stay, I only brought some photos of Buddy and my boys, but when I’ve been in for a few weeks, I smother the walls in photos, friends bring plants and flowers and I have either my own duvet cover or, as in photo below, my younger lad’s Madagascar blanket!


Categories: Involvement, Wardipedia