The Effect of Colour in Dementia Care Homes

In the past, Dementia Care Homes only catered to the functionality and in some instances, were felt to be uninspiring in specific design to fulfil its livable potential. Fortunately, environmental psychologists have proved that a space that is warm, positive and well-designed can improve patients mental-wellbeing and healthcare.

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So, how can colour and pattern be incorporated as a therapeutic tool in Dementia Care?

Several myths, including “elderly people can’t see blue and green,” can scare designers away from experimenting with colour schemes and patterns. In fact, most myths are based on little to no evidence, and blue and greens tones are said to be the most calming, friendly and relaxing colours for the mind. By implementing these colour tones into care environments can not only change a person’s emotions but has proven to lower blood pressure. The myth used in the example is affiliated to a theory that elderly people – particularly those living with dementia – have difficulty differentiating similar colours. This is down to a reduction in saturation between colours, meaning some tones of blue and green may be interchangeable. With this example in mind, using contrasting tones in Dementia Care highlights important visual elements and can help aid unassisted living. One way to utilise contrasting colours in a dementia home is designing chairs and seats that juxtapose the tones on the floor, so it is easier for people to recognise the edge of a chair.

Another reason designers shy away from using colourful patterns in Dementia Care is because of the confusion and disorientation it can cause through bold and busy designs. Objects on pattern designs may appear to move to some people, so designers try to avoid exploring patterns. However, with the right colour scheme and the appropriate pattern, the design can help residents with their perception of objects. Using unique imagery in a pattern can open imagination and engagement with childhood memories, evoking areas of the mind to link with familiar places. A pattern can include, for instance, the seaside. The seaside can trigger these childhood memories, which in turn creates a positive atmosphere to improve patient mental wellbeing. A book that discusses this topic is Patterns in Interior Environments: ‘Perception, Psychology, and Practice’ by Patricia Rodemann – she mentions the correlation between:

Pattern design + Colour x Length of Exposure = Physical + Psychological effect behaviour

Bespoke By Evans does specialise in creating bespoke designs for the Dementia Care sector. They are passionate about designing a welcoming, joyous, and positive home space for the residents. Therefore, they favour attention to detail when briefed with your colour schemes and mood boards. When working with clients, there are sometimes obstacles that block their creative vision:

  • The client’s choice of fabric is printed in the completely wrong colourway.
  • Sometimes choosing a singular colour for a design can become quite repetitive.
  • A client being unprepared to calculate the cost of creating the idea into a design.
  • Struggling to find anything original or unique to match the client’s design.
  • A client suggesting a fabric that is not flame retardant.
  • The client wanting a minimum volume required to order.

Because these obstacles can be a nuisance to the design experience, Bespoke by Evans created a solution catered to our customers. A system used and loved by international and award-winning interior designers. The Evans Bespoke Design & Contract Print Service will ensure your happy with your bespoke design, the colourway and contract fabric base within budget. Bespoke’s Design and Print service can create any design you wish, in any colourway, printed on a flame retardant fabric picked by you. They will work closely with you to make sure you are working within a budget. Here are the steps they take to help you with your design idea at Bespoke:

1. Send the Design-Team your brief.
You can send anything to inspire the team of creative designers, from colourways to concept images. If you have your own design that you would like to create, send it their way and they will put it into a repeat for printing.

2. Approving the Design.
They will work with you to create your perfect design. Their team will send over images of the design to be approved by you, via email and then by post, for you to see the true scale and colour.

3. Fabric Selection & Sampling.
Sample designs can be prepared on a wide range of flame retardant fabric bases. The team of designers and printers will help you decide the most suitable fabric for your project. Please see their brochure or sample card for full specifications and care instructions.

4. Printing.
Using the latest digital printing technology, they can prepare accurate designs with a precise colour match. Once Selection and Sampling is approved by yourself, they will print the sample with the required meterage and ensure the dispatch happens promptly.

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About Phoebe Train

Phoebe is a Marketing and Events Executive, who joined the BCFA as an English graduate in 2021. Working closely with designers and BCFA members, Phoebe has published an array of content for Design Insider.
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