Lighting Design Considerations for MRI Suites

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Lighting Design Considerations for MRI Suites

Mar 15, 2023 | Tech Corner

When it comes to MRI Suites in healthcare settings, there is much to consider regarding lighting requirements and design techniques. And rightly so—lighting has a huge impact on ensuring these healthcare spaces are safe and comfortable for both patients and hospital staff.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) suites can be intimidating for many patients, especially for those with a fear of confined spaces. But with careful design, lighting specifiers can provide relief and remove fear from the situation with comfortable lighting and pleasantly distracting elements.

On top of following the special requirements of the MRI suite, we recommend a combination of decorative illumination, finishes, and ambient lighting.

We asked Chris Davis, TLA Specification Sales, for his expertise on the topic. Keep reading for recommended products and Team TLA’s take on healthcare lighting design considerations for MRI Suites.


1. Soothe with nature

Natural images have been shown to soothe both the conscious and the subconscious mind in healthcare settings.

When we introduce patterns of nature and images in MRI suites, we can help a patient calm their inner mind through biophilic stimulation, which helps with overall relaxation. This will be particularly impactful for patients struggling with the fear of small spaces.

Vara Kamin’s Impressions of Light

Vara Kamin’s Impressions of Light® series from New Star Lighting is a great example of biophilic stimulation. Vara Kamin specializes in creating works of art that unlock the body’s natural healing, soothing, and self-nurturing capabilities and inspire a state of mindfulness.

Varying Impressions of Light Inc StarTile designs by Vara Kamin

These StarTiles with a VKI Image are rich in color, movement, and texture, providing a pleasant focal point. In healthcare spaces, including MRI or imaging suites, they can be used alone or together in a mural


Include nature patterns in MRI Suites

LED ceiling panels with nature patterns will visually relax the mind, such as the MedLux® Ceiling GPI from Everbrite Lighting for MRI suite applications.

LEDs also eliminate high maintenance cost issues and do not react with magnetic imaging and can be positioned on the ceiling, the wall, or both.


2. Optimize lighting levels for comfort

From a comfort standpoint, lighting levels in MRI Suites should be optimized with the right tone of light while also introducing some color to the space in either a dynamic (to distract) or soothing (to alleviate stress) fashion.

The more comfortable a patient feels in these spaces, the more likely they will be able to lay still, resulting in a successful procedure.

Color-changing fixtures

Kirlin Lighting offers a completely non-ferromagnetic, full RGBW, dynamic color solution for the MRI space—described in the video below:


In environments where stress reduction is vital, like MRI suites, letting a patient choose the color that feels most relaxing to them can have a profound psychological impact in a positive way. Choosing a color gives a patient a sense of control and input on the space that they are entering. This simple choice can help them feel more at ease.

A product like the Everbrite MedLux MRI cove can be employed to wash either a wall or ceiling with a chosen color and is designed specifically for operating LEDs in an EMI-free environment. A keypad/controller allows color adjustment of the system and six (6) user-defined, programmable color settings.


Lighting design consideration featuring green cove lighting washes a healthcare hallway

3. Create layers of light

For successful design in MRI suites and all healthcare spaces, it is never about just one layer of light. Utilizing biophilic or nature-inspired designs and color-changing lighting is intended to create a bit of visual relaxation and interest in the environment, however, an ambient layer is also necessary.

We must ensure there are sufficient lighting levels to convey that the patient is in a healthy, safe environment, as well as for hospital staff to perform periodic maintenance and clean up.

An ambient layer can typically take shape with some of the linear products mentioned above or with a downlighting layer.

MRI imaging suite with Kirlin colored downlights and nature pattern wall design


We recommend solutions from Acuity Brands healthcare line of downlights, as well as those from Kirlin or New Star.

Not sure what to choose? It all depends on the greater vision of the space on which system(s) will work best. And our team at TLA can help you determine what best fits your goals for your next healthcare lighting project.

We think Chris Davis, Specification Sales, said it best:

“When it comes to MRI suites and imaging spaces, it is all about fostering a safe, relaxing environment in an otherwise uncomfortable setting. When done successfully, the procedure will only be a small part of the patient’s experience.”

Talk to your TLA Sales rep today about your next healthcare lighting project or send us an email to to learn more.

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