Balancing Design For Different Ages
cozy /ˈkōzē/ adj. giving a feeling of comfort, warmth, and relaxation
ambiance /ˈambēəns/ n. the character and atmosphere of a place.
There is no magic “one size fits all” design. You can’t decorate a five-star bistro the same way you would decorate a corner bar. And you can’t decorate for someone who is 26 and purchasing their first home the way you would decorate for someone who is 66 and looking forward to retirement and downsizing. Their lifestyles are different. Their needs are different. The way they use their space is different. As an interior designer, you want to bring your client’s design dreams to life but for older clients, a careful balance between functionality and style must be achieved.
The Gift of Cozy Ambiance
Regardless if your client is a single resident home or a multi-resident facility, when it comes to Senior Living or Assisted Living, it’s important to keep three things in mind: safety, comfort, and aesthetic.
Safety and Comfort
Time affects everyone, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the beautiful. Every year we get older and despite our best efforts, sometimes our eyesight weakens. One of the first things you should do before beginning any design project is sit down with your client and get to know them, their lifestyle, their needs, and their design goals. Knowing your clientele is always the first step.
Remember: you don’t have to sacrifice aesthetic for safety. Make simple decisions to optimize your client’s space by:
- Maximizing storage and negative space to create ample walking room and clear, navigable paths.
- Removing area rugs, throw rugs, and runners where possible in favor of wall-to-wall broadloom carpeting. (Rug corners and edges are a trip hazard.) Broadloom carpeting comes in hundreds of colors and patterns, giving you the creative freedom to find a flooring option to fit your space without breaking the bank. Broadloom carpeting also has the advantage of dampening sound (to reduce echoes and noise levels), providing warmth and comfort underfoot, and creating traction in high foot-traffic areas.
- Avoiding low, deep, or plush furniture that may be difficult for some to get into or out of, especially armchairs, sofas, and beds.
- Exchanging hard-edged coffee tables for upholstered ottomans with flat tops.
Aesthetic and Art
“Youth is the gift of nature, but age is a work of art” wrote Polish poet Stanislaw Lec. As we age and grow, we collect. Old photographs. Antiques. Figurines. Art. The best things in life are the things that hold happy memories. Make your client’s space look and feel like home by incorporating their most prized memorabilia into your design!
When it comes to senior living, imitate nature by selecting warm color tones in your art and accent pieces:
- Natural, warm palettes and colors with high contrast are good for poor eyesight
- Healing colors like greens, yellows, and pastel blues promote a calming, relaxed atmosphere
- Small amounts of red and orange spark creativity and stimulate vitality.
When choosing artwork:
- Avoid busy patterns or designs with dark spots that can lead to negative feelings.
- Go simple and meaningful.
- For a more classic style, choose black and white pieces.
Look for artwork like:
Patterns & Textures Collection
Land & Sea Scapes Collection
Artwork For Any Industry
At WallsBeautiful we make it easy to find high-quality artwork to brighten up your client’s interior. Interested in learning more? Contact our in-house Art Advisor for individualized help on selection and planning by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.