Often overlooked as simply aesthetic, there are many important factors to consider when selecting designs and fabrics for your care home. We all know that good design allows for residents to help understand their surroundings, enables them to engage in familiar activities and encourages social interaction but how do you ensure you are selecting appropriate fabrics and designs for your care home?
Firstly, it’s important to highlight the pressures of an increasingly ageing population and the demand on care homes for safe, appropriately designed fabrics. Secondly, any designs used within the care home should help to provide a ‘home away from home’ for the residents that live there.
Residents and staff should be at the heart of any new designs concept with the home. New designs and décor schemes should aim to positively impact emotions. For residents it’s about comfort and feeling at home. In recent years, many savvy care homes have moved away from the same ‘tired’ interior designs and seek more unique, contemporary, domestic-like appearances. This change is in response to a popular public misconception that care environments are often clinical, dated or isolated.
Good design will help remove any misconceptions and create something far more welcoming to new and existing residents alike. For residents, designs and fabrics help to add new remits of texture, colour, scale and familiarity that can be applied to a range of applications within the home. Design within any care facility is simply not just about the aesthetics, it’s about the whole package for residents and staff – influencing how they live, work and engage together in a safe environment. Fabric choice within the care home is equally as important as the design element providing safe, hard working solutions.
Providing hard working fabrics that are ‘fit for purpose’ is key in meeting the challenges faced in everyday healthcare environments. As a minimum, soft furnishing fabrics should be certified to British Standards for flame retardancy which means irrespective of space or function, there’s a safeguard for the less agile against potentially hazardous fire. Good fabric suppliers and interior designers will also be able to provide additional properties that are engineered to meet the uses of the finished product. For example, upholstery fabrics can possess antimicrobial, waterproof and high abrasion properties –r educing the risk of infection and ensuring the product lasts. For care home staff these fabrics make life a litter easier as they are easy to clean, durable and waterproof.
3 simple questions to ask when considering new fabrics and designs from a supplier.
• What experience do they have – have you seen their previous work in care homes?
• Do they have a dedicated inhouse design department or interior designer that will work collaboratively with you?
• Can you create a point of difference with the fabrics for your residents within your care home?