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Everything You Need to Know about Decorating and Furnishing a Care Home

Decorating a care home is about more than the latest trends and convenience. The same goes for furnishing it.


While aesthetics matter a lot in both cases, there are other more important factors to consider:


  • How safe are the surroundings for the elderly?

  • What about the residents with mobility and cognitive impairments? Can they move around with ease and make sense of their surroundings?

  • Are the surfaces easy to clean and disinfect?

  • Can you install mobile hoists and mobility aids?

  • Do you have enough room for medical equipment and wheelchairs?


Briefly put, it’s a tall order. After more than 25 years in the care home furnishing industry, Nichol & Hill know precisely what it takes to turn a nursing home into a welcoming and safe environment.


Here’s how to get started:


  1. Evaluate the Needs of Your Residents


Every care home is different. Some cater to elderly people who have minimal mobility impairments — what is typically expected when you reach old age, like muscle and bone decay. Others cater to people with severe mobility impairments (even bedridden residents) or to people with cognitive challenges and/or neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s disease.


More often than not, care homes across the UK cater to a mix of all the patients above. Even if you start off with residents with no severe conditions, it is to be expected that their mobility and cognitive functions will deteriorate with time.


Since most families prefer to have their elderly relatives in the place they are accustomed to, even if their condition changes with time, it is to be expected that you will have to work with cognitively- and physically-impaired residents at one point.


Thus, you need to furnish and decorate your care home with their needs in mind.


For instance, some of the rooms may be furnished to help people with dementia get oriented faster, while others will be furnished with beds and mattresses that prevent bed sores — ideal for bedridden patients.


It is, however, extremely important that you know how many of each type of room you need. When you choose the furniture and the decorations, you will have to discuss this with your provider.


  1. Furnishing a Care Home for Residents with Cognitive Impairments


Bland colours like gray and beige are hard for people with neurodegenerative conditions to differentiate between. This is why you will need bolder patterns and colours — these will help your residents get their bearings faster and remember their room, the common spaces, and the corridors easier.


Moreover, you can help them see better with stronger lighting and by maximising the use of natural light. The better lit a room is, the easier it is to make sense of it.


Don’t forget about leaving a little space in each room for the residents’ personal belongings that can help jolt their memory: family photos, small memorabilia items, or other objects with personal significance help a lot.


  1. Furnishing and Decorating for Residents with Limited Mobility


Whether your residents are bedridden or need help walking or standing up, you can enhance the quality of their life with a few small tweaks:


  • No-clutter rooms so they have nothing in the way.

  • Flashlights or telephones that are within the resident’s reach.

  • Nightlights placed on their way from the bed to the toilet.

  • Hoists and mobility aids placed near the bed and/or in the bathroom that they can use on their own or with the help of an assistant.

  • Raised mattresses and chairs to help them sit down and get up easier.


  1. Your Care Home Furniture and Decorations Need to Meet NHS Standards


The NHS fire safety regulations are very strict for care homes. Fire retardant curtains and soft furnishings are a must.


So are wide corridors and an interior design that doesn’t get in the way of evacuating the residents if need be. While these regulations can seem a bit harsh, remember that the reasoning behind them is something you definitely value too — your residents’ and your staff’s safety.


  1. Common Spaces Furnishing and Decorating: Safety and Comfort


Common spaces, like the living room, the visitor rooms, or the dining room, can be especially challenging. They need to cater to a variety of residents, each with their own challenges.


You will need to provide a variety of chair types (some heightened, some not), as well as empty table spaces for people in a wheelchair. The recommendations for residents with cognitive impairments should be implemented here as well.


What makes these rooms especially challenging is that, on top of all the things above, they also need to be welcoming and comfortable. To enhance your residents’ well-being, they need to be able to spend as much time as possible here, socialising and having fun.

Final Thoughts


Providing a safe environment that is also extremely clean and homelike is not an easy feat. We recommend discussing with a care home interior designer before buying your furniture and decor items to make sure that everything blends together as it should.