Feature Article - January 2006
Find a printable version here

Simple Splashes

Updating your aquatic facility and programming without going overboard

By Kelli Anderson

A splash of color

Color is one of the most dramatic ways to get a new look on a smaller budget.

"We underestimate the psychology of color," says Judith Leblein-Josephs, operations analyst at Water Technology Inc. in Wayne, N.J. "It is the best bang for the buck."

A designer can recommend colors that soothe, energize or enhance a theme. Children's spaces, for example, often use bold, primary colors, while adult spaces these days frequently say "spa" with their soft greens and earth tones. But whatever colors you choose, it is important to reevaluate them at least every five years to keep from looking dated. According to Leblein-Josephs, nothing dates a facility more than a that's-so-yesterday color scheme.

Can't afford a complete painted makeover? One short-cut solution is to paint up one-third of the height of the walls—the part that takes most of the abuse and usually needs freshening the most. Murals are another creative solution to jazz up a neglected or unsightly space.

Need to hide unsightly walls in a tall bath house? Try hanging ready-made banners or fabric. It creates a sea of color, deflects attention away from the roof and gives the appearance of air moving through the space.

Cheap tricks

Even pipes, fans and exposed structures can be painted or creatively incorporated into the decor or themes, both inside the facility and out, to become part of the look and not detract from it. One facility cited by Leblein-Josephs used lumber to turn outdoor fans into daisies.

Theming, while not every facility's design direction, can be expensive. Signage, one of the easiest ways to carry a theme along, doesn't have to be. A sailing theme, for example, can make use of old oars to post messages throughout a space, or a rural theme might make use of flea-market farm equipment and motifs.