Designing Interiors for Seniors

Posted by Kristina Law on Feb 21, 2014

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Interior Design for visually impaired

Bel Aire Senior Living encourages and empowers independence. Making a private or public environment comfortable and functional for individuals who are visually impaired should be part of universal design that will benefit all users of a facility, whether it is a senior center, or a home. This does not necessarily require a great deal of time, energy, or money. It is a matter of knowing the basics and planning for easy access during the initial design.

The use of lighting, color contrast, and the reduction of glare are important factors architects and interior designers must be aware of for effective environmental design.

Our visually impaired residents find it easier to navigate on their own with the help of these design tips:

1. Create strong color contrasts between major pieces of furniture, walls, drapes and floors to help aging eyes to distinguish these at a first glance. And even in the bathroom, the toilet seat should be noticeably darker or lighter than the floor. Wall colors can be the most important decorating element in any room, and contrast is key. Walls, trim and floors should all stand out from each other. Neutral or warm palettes are best for a declining eyesight.

2. Outline windows with curtain fabrics that stand out from the walls. Did you know that natural light not only helps keep things visible—it improves sleep cycles? Help your loved one sleep better by allowing plenty of natural light in the room.

3. Keep some areas well lit. All reading areas must be well lit. A reading light next to the bed and chair is a must. Adhesive under-cabinet lighting in the kitchen helps with food preparation as well. Nightlights and motion-sensor lights—especially between the bedroom and bathroom—make for easier navigation and reduce the risk of falls.

4. Did you know that aging eyes are less able to distinguish blues and greens? Keep the color palette warm using mostly reds and golds.

5. Artwork and other accessories should be bright, crisp and clear. It is amazing what a pop of color can do to a room.

6. Position reflective furniture to minimize glare. Avoid glass-top tables, which reflect light and can also be difficult to see in dim rooms.

For more inspiration please follow our Pinterest board Interior Design for Seniors