Care Homes: Practical Advice on Interior Design

Designing a room within a care home demands careful consideration. A well designed room will give your residents a better quality of life, particularly important when a person is elderly and restricted in their movements. This, in turn, will reassure their family and friends that their loved one is being cared for properly, as the room itself will represent the care you have taken in providing attractive and comfortable surroundings for the resident.

A good starting point is to look at hotel room design.Here there are helpful guidelines on what to consider, but only as a starting point because hotel rooms are usually short stay environments for people of all ages. A care home demands a more subtle design aspect that appeals over a longer stay to the more conservative tastes of older people.

The design can be separated into three areas: safety; functionality; and look.

Safety
Here, the hotel room guidelines are very useful. In 2006 the new regulations on fire safety changed requirements for all business premises. ‘Regulatory Reform (Fire Safety) Order 2005‘ requires that businesses conduct a risk assessment to prevent fires by reducing risk. Now, a business owner must ensure fire safety for all those who use their premises. There are particular regulations pertaining to curtain fabric and they must meet the safety standards set out inBS5867 Part 2 Type B.Curtains that are labelled as ‘FR’ (fire retardant) should be acceptable, but ask the supplier if the fabric meets the minimum standards for care homes – a good supplier will know.

Functionality
As with hotel-room design, practicality is just as important as the aesthetic feel of a room. Fabrics that can be easily and repeatedly laundered should be considered, and, as with fire safety, particular attention should be paid to the choice of curtains. Here the size and lining of curtains can provide for improved functionality. Larger curtains can help reduce energy costs as they mitigate against the heat loss even through double-glazed windows. Specialist linings can also serve the same function with any size curtains and black-out linings can increase privacy as well as protecting the room from outside lighting and early morning sunshine in a south facing room.

Look
Again, choosing fabrics for care homes is similar to choosing for a hotel room, but the overall colour pallet should be different. Traditional, more conservative colours can be considered – such as relaxing greens and touches of traditional burgundy. A good supplier will recognise the distinction and different needs of a care home from those of a hotel. Look for a supplier that has a separate section on their web site or catalogue dedicated to the specific needs of interior design for care homes. Buying from one supplier allows you to create a design theme, with matching colours and patterns across the curtains, runners and cushions. By choosing more neutral colours and patterns for bed linen and wall coverings the theme for the curtains, runners and cushions can be bolder with richer designs. Again, a good supplier should be able to advise you on an overall look, specific to your needs, and be able to supply all elements under one price quotation.