When it comes to selecting Senior Living color palettes, the hues you choose can impact the feeling of the room, and in turn, how residents and staff feel about the space. Colors can evoke feelings of peace, excitement and can even encourage our appetites! Here are the year’s top colors and a few tips to help you select the best colors for Senior Living interior design:

2021 Colors for Senior Living 

This year’s popular colors support the holistic wellness design trend by paying homage to nature and promoting a feeling of home within the community. As evidenced by the Pantone colors of the year, Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, we’re seeing the balanced nature of warm and cool tones take a renewed focus, whereas we previously saw periods of heavy cool and then heavy warm influence. This year’s colors share the spotlight and reinforce the need for balance in design.

senior living lobby

Denim, linen and leather are becoming more popular in Senior Living communities for their nod to natural environments and timeless elegance. Other nature-inspired hues, like blues and greens, provide the perfect complement. Warmer shades, cotton textures and cozy fabrics all provide a layer of comfort that supports a homelike environment.

For example, we’re seeing bold colors used to spice up a multipurpose room or punchy draperies in a dining room. Unexpected elements can create a sense of light and excitement in the space.

Learn more about top Senior Living design trends in 2021.

4 Tips for Selecting Senior Living Colors 

1. Scale the intensity 

From creating peaceful retreats to designing invigorating spaces, the key to achieving the desired feel is choosing the right color intensity. While softer blues and greens are used to create a calm, tranquil environment, blue can also be an intense, exciting color – a loud turquoise or teal is much different from a soft cornflower blue. High-intensity colors will create more excitement, making them great for lobbies or activity spaces.

senior living dining room

Loud reds, yellows and oranges aren’t commonly used for relaxed environments, but softer shades of pink or coral could work well. While a pink-infused space might not be a popular choice, soft pink accents can have the same calming effect as earthy tones. The color’s feel can change dramatically based on the intensity you choose.

​2. Consider the room’s function

When deciding whether a calm shade of pink is more appropriate than a loud red, consider the function of the room. Reds, oranges and yellows all encourage our appetites, which can help promote proper nutrition. Brighter shades of blue might be appropriate for an energizing rehabilitation gym, while softer yellows or greens would work well in a relaxing sunroom.

senior living bistro

Colors have the power to change the mood of the room, in addition to changing how we perceive other elements in the space.

Blues aren’t commonly found in Senior Living dining rooms because they can cast a strange hue onto food, making it look unappealing or bruised. Earthy greens, on the other hand, make dining rooms feel invigorating.

3. Aim for contrast

As the eyes age, color perception in elderly residents declines, and it becomes more difficult to distinguish between objects in a room. Help differentiate between major pieces of furniture, walls, drapes and floors with clear color contrast. This approach is also helpful for different pieces of bedding.

Blue and green tones are particularly difficult for aging eyes to distinguish. Consider using warm reds and golds, which are much easier to see.

senior living furniture

4. Adjust colors for Memory Care 

Colors are especially important in Memory Care environments. For residents with dementia, dark colors may appear as a hole or missing space. Consider using darker shades purposefully when creating a walking path or an area that residents should avoid.

Color intensity is also an important factor in Memory Care. Refrain from intense colors, and keep in mind the vibration and saturation of the color or fabric you’re selecting. 

memory care design

Flooring or patterns with high contrast can play tricks on the eyes, appear as though they’re moving or may make some residents feel dizzy. Residents with dementia may even believe something is coming out of the floor and be afraid to walk there. Solid colors in softer shades can be the best paint colors for dementia and Memory Care environments.

Find more tips for designing for Memory Care environments.

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