The designers at Kwalu are always keeping an eye out for what’s next. Designing space and furniture for seniors can be a tricky business. The whole premise is to design a community where space must be efficient, be impeccably maintained and provide the look and feel of home. To further compound the challenge, designers must adapt their interiors to embrace cultural and geographical differences. The following furniture trends in senior living highlight what has been seen throughout senior living communities over the United States thus far in 2017.
Dual-Purpose Senior Living Design
Just because a piece of senior living furniture has been designed for one purpose doesn’t mean it can’t work great for others. Lounge chairs with tablet arms create a flexible fun space: perfect for this movie theater featuring an elegant art deco, glamour design. Additionally, this space and furniture can be used for lectures; this particular chair can be used as a work desk. Benches can double as footrests and occasional tables when designed to look like a coffee table. Many also offer storage solutions. Dual purpose design for senior living furniture speaks to creative use of space and a return on investment. It’s important to remember that a furniture piece may be designed for one purpose but may have at least one more purpose on its task list.
Form and Function
As acuity levels rise, more seniors require canes and wheelchairs to aid their mobility. Senior living furniture must be able to take a beating but not look like it. Wood furniture does not age well. It shows every bump and bruise. Wood does not measure up to the frequent and often harsh cleanings of a senior living environment. By opting for non-wood furniture, communities decrease the need for furniture replacement and provide furniture for seniors that is aesthetically pleasing and is easily maintainable so they look and behave like new for a very long time.
Transitional Design Options
As resident acuity levels rise, an integrated look throughout a community allows seniors to transition in a space that is similar to where their journey began. Solid finishes that cannot be compromised look fresher longer. These types of finishes play a key role in senior living design and are preferred by staff for their ease of care and by residents and guests for their stunning look year after year.
Hospitality Design with Boutique Amenities
We are living longer, meaning senior living communities are no longer thought of as dreary places where food is served three times a day on a pale grey tray. Some residents want to feel like they are at a resort or on vacation, while others want the comforts of home. Designers of senior living furniture are listening and the hospitality trend is reflected in the independent living level. Some examples of these key elements are fireplaces, high coffered ceilings, multiple spaces and intimate common area seating. Residents also prefer multiple dining spaces with flexible dining hours.
Add A Touch of Sophistication
As communities encourage seniors to move out of the homes they’ve lived in for decades — homes they’ve raised their children and entertained their closest friends in — expectations in senior living design are high. Trends in assisted living suggest that seniors expect vibrant and comfortable common areas where family and friends will be invited to socialize and celebrate special occasions. Mid-century modern furniture is the sophisticated, high end trend in senior living for 2017 that appears to be turning up everywhere, in all markets. Residents enjoy the return to the era that is focused on highly functional furniture featuring clean uncluttered lines. Orange and gray and bold blues are the colors of choice now while heavy patterns are fading.
Varied Outdoors Experiences Essential
Seniors take pride in the spaces they use to entertain guests. That means designers of senior living furniture, as well as senior living communities, should take pride in the spaces they create to entertain their residents, including outdoor spaces. People have always had a fascination with the outdoors. They expect the outdoor spaces at their new home to mimic what they’ve grown accustomed to. Popular outdoor places extend beyond traditional parks. Trends in senior living environments include high-end sculpted gardens, dog parks, yoga lawns, outdoor fireplaces, outdoor dining venues, infinity pools and mini putting greens. Cultural and geographic affinities dictate the appropriateness of these spaces but the designs should incorporate a number of experiences.
Multi-Purpose Rooms on the Rise
Senior living room boundary lines are being blurred as multi-purpose spaces emerge as one of the big trends in senior living. The feeling of ‘community’ is permanently replacing the word ‘facility’. Choice and convenience remain the most important amenities in senior living communities so it stands to reason multi-purpose rooms are quickly becoming the solution. Senior living design teams are tailoring rooms to meet the demands of seniors who want to keep fit – in mind and body. Crafting rooms and woodworking shops are being replaced with yoga/Pilates classes, fitness centers, wellness center, libraries, theaters and business centers. There is no limit to what each senior living neighborhood can dream of. These uncommon multi-purpose areas are become the go-to gathering spaces – places of connection, places of learning, places of growth and wellness.