Flooring is unlikely to attract the attention of visitors in care homes, yet for residents, it can make the world of difference to their standard of living and how they feel in a space. Oliver Roberts, one of Amtico’s healthcare specialists, explores how LVT flooring is helping to shape the future of care home design.
Care home design has improved greatly in recent years, leaving behind uninspiring fabrics and clinical sheet vinyl flooring for a more contemporary and welcoming aesthetic. Specification is now geared towards creating a hospitality look and feel, providing residents with a high-quality standard of living that enables them to enjoy life and live in the moment.
This trend steps confidently away from the notions of institutional, sterile environments and outdated décor, with luxury vinyl tile (LVT) flooring playing a multitude of roles – from enhancing and complementing interior schemes, to providing a durable surface that will retain its looks for years to come. LVT also gives designers carte blanche to specify visually appealing spaces that explore different colours, laying patterns and textures. It’s an exciting development in the healthcare sector, and we’re seeing more and more clients that are keen to create hotel-style spaces, such as Lovat Fields Retirement Village and Barchester Healthcare. We recently worked with a client that specified our Parquet EP113 design in a Signature Marble with Navy stripping, which years ago may have been seen as far too contemporary for a care home installation.
While beautiful floors are fundamental to a successful scheme, so too are products that also provide the anti-slip and antimicrobial qualities required for these locations. In particular, we’re seeing dining areas and communal social spaces become far more design-led as a whole, however, it’s the performance qualities of the flooring products being used that allow this to happen. For instance, our Signature 36+ and Spacia 36+ safety floor collections offer exceptional levels of slip resistance, to reduce the risk of slips and falls, and prevent the growth of potentially harmful bacteria and fungus. They can be specified in a wide range of Woods and Stones, planks and tiles, or even parquet laying patterns. Of course, safety flooring and interior design are not always considered together, with many product specifications focused solely on one element or the other. However, LVT offers greater design scope in a sector where hygiene and safety are paramount.
Flooring also needs to deliver on a practical level; wayfinding is important for any healthcare setting, but perhaps none more so than care homes where residents with cognitive impairment, such as dementia, may need assistance navigating between areas. Well-designed wayfinding can help give residents the confidence to live independently, such as being able to find and use the laundry room or visit the communal areas without assistance. To illustrate this point, walkways can be created using LVT in eye-catching colours and laying patterns that encourage movement, such as parquet or our Arrow and Pleat designs – a technique often used in hotel lobbies to guide guests from one area to another. Similarly, the floor designs can lead residents to the amenities or communal spaces in simpler laying patterns. Using flooring to aid wayfinding can also omit or reduce the need for additional signage, while creating an attractive feature within the scheme.
The best solutions aren’t just practical, they are visually stunning too, and designers should take advantage of flooring companies’ expertise. At Amtico, for instance, we offer a wide selection of products to suit every project and our in-house design team has helped estates and facilities managers, designers and architects to create award-winning solutions that they may not have even thought possible. Care home design continues to evolve as the demand grows for more home-from-home, hospitality-inspired interiors. And LVT flooring is integral to this as it can help provide a high-quality standard of living to enable residents to enjoy life in comfort.
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