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How to brighten a hospital room

How to brighten a hospital room

When you’re dealt the cancer card, it’s pretty much a given you’ll be spending a lot more time in bed.

When you’re dealt the cancer card, it’s pretty much a given you’ll be spending a lot more time in bed. Whether you’re in your own bedroom or a hospital boudoir, over the years (and three rides on the cancer train) I’ve learnt a few tips and tricks on how to make your four walls feel a bit more cheery.

Em x

1. Bold, bright blanket

My number uno has always been a bright blanket. It will instantly bring some colour – especially if you’re surrounded by the clinical whites of a hospital.

When I chatted to Marc from Slowdown Studio about a collab, the bright pink blanket that hung from my hospital room after my stem cell transplant sprung to my mind. It was a little piece of home which gave a bit of comfort during a truly shitty time. It smelt like home and familiarity so I’d sleep snuggled into it. And during the day I’d hang it over the curtain rail so I could open up my space, create some light and colour while retaining a bit of privacy.


2. Photos

Bring the blue tac and stick them over your walls. Or – get crafty and make one of these bunting creations like my mates did for me.❤️ (I still have it hanging above my bed now!)

I had photos of friends, family and happy places which would prompt me to visualise and plan for the next time I’d be there again.

3. Smells

No one likes a hospital smell – that’s a fact.

Pack a diffuser and your fave essential oils. Try lavender for sleep, frankincense for soothing anxiety, or peppermint or ginger for nausea. You might have to ask the other people in your hospital room if you don’t have a private room, but it may just make you a new friend.

Face mists and sprays are also golden. I would use them when I didn’t have the energy for a shower. Aesop have my favourite one.

4. Sounds

Get your Spotify loaded with playlists that are going to calm, transport and help you sleep. I had ocean sounds for bedtime, a chilled playlist that made me feel like I was on holidays, and one that reminded me of memories and places I’d rather be.

Background music also helps drown out the continual beeping from drips and noises from the hallway.

Don’t forget your noise cancelling headphones and speaker if you have a room to yourself.


If your hospital ward allows it, bring a plant friend. Greenery is good for your mental health and if you're unable to go outside, this is the perfect way to connect to some nature. Your clever leafy friend will also help detoxify the air.

For those supporting a warrior, a plant is a great thing you can gift. Unlike flowers, they won't wilt and die, and she can eventually take it home. Please note: some oncology wards do not allow flowers or plants as they carry bacteria so ring the ward to check.

Tags: Cancer Tips

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