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22nd May, 2018

Interior design: Creating perfect care spaces

Interior design: Creating perfect care spaces

Interior designers may be best known for crafting luxury homes and boutique hotels, but it can also be used to help disabled or unwell people feel at home, comfortable, and looked after. Fine & Country Interior Design caught up with Preet Dhanoa from Mood Interiors to find out how they design care spaces, from large wings of care centres to home spaces that are functional as well as beautiful.

Designing for the care sector is a huge responsibility. It takes a highly skilled designer to create spaces that give a sense of home and familiarity, whilst ensuring that the fixtures, finishes, and materials can stand up to the rigorous demands placed on them.

For many people, the term ‘Interior Design’ conjures images of high-end designers producing elegant interiors for private homeowners. However, research from the residential care industry shows clear evidence that good design is particularly beneficial to the wellbeing of people with dementia and visual impairment. Making sense of our environment is paramount to health and quality of life. Creating stimulating and emotive environments for individuals who need care, such as reminiscence spaces, activity kitchens, and sensory rooms, have proved hugely beneficial in reassuring and engaging residents.

In a private home, the space should combine comforting designs and the care requirements that the individual has.

Designing for the care sector needs a balance of both residential and commercial design values. Whether it is a new build or refurbishment, the project will need to meet all legislative criteria and exceed the needs of the residents in terms of style and comfort. Mood Interiors have a lot of experience designing spaces like Brain Trauma Units and Adult Residential Care Homes.

“When designing a space like this, we think of it as someone’s home and not a commercial environment,” says Preet. “It is important to strike a balance of practicality and comfort, so the end user can feel at ease in the space.”

Photo: Designs from a specialist brain injury unit.

Previously, Interior Design was an afterthought in the health and care sectors, but it has grown to become a key consideration, particularly in interiors intended for people with dementia, both at home and in care.

“It is extremely important to keep the client as the focus when designing the space. We always ask ourselves if the design relates to the client. Are they young, old or will there be a mix of ages in one ward? We do research into appropriate furniture, fabrics, and equipment. From here, we have all the resources to pick out a scheme which is both design-led but functional for the needs of the client,” says Preet.

“It is also extremely important to keep a consistent flow of design throughout care space to avoid confusion and over stimulation. Depending on the needs of the client, there will be certain criteria which must be addressed, such as dementia design and sensory needs,” says Preet.

Photo: Children's residential care space

Fortunately, design interventions are now being considered as a treatment for conditions such as dementia and, increasingly, as the initial line of treatment before pharmaceutical medications are prescribed. Recently designed hospital wards which have incorporated dementia design principles have reported decreases in falls, staff turnover and use of staff call buttons.

It goes to show that interior design can have a positive effect on everyone, and it can make a huge difference for people going through periods of ill health.

If you would like help to design a space to suit someone’s specialist needs, contact Fine & Country Mood Interiors.

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