Beautiful surroundings contribute to a positive and healthy atmosphere in any setting. The perception of quality in long-term care communities is directly related to the appearance of its interior spaces, which is why architecture and interior design are assuming an increasingly significant role in the evolution of today's long-term care facilities. Visual aesthetics are the key to reinforcing a community's message.
While the design of a long-term care facility should be motivated by compassion and functional requirements, it must also meet financial goals and budgetary parameters. Never has this been more necessary than in today's market.
A professionally designed long-term care facility is one that utilizes specific design principles and elements such as finishes, color, lighting, furnishings, and fabrics to communicate the message of “quality care” and set the stage for success in a highly competitive market. It is possible to create professional design within budget limitations if cost-effective techniques are implemented and maintained.
BEGIN WITH A PLAN
The most cost-effective approach is to assemble a team of professionals and develop a master plan to showcase community strengths and distinguish it from the competition. The next step is to establish a budget outlining the items on your “wish list” to achieve the design goals. Planning is the best way to avoid unnecessary expenses, secure competitive pricing, and ensure that the project has lasting value.
By using the principles of “smart design,” it is possible to achieve a million-dollar look without the cost. Materials and finishes help provide the foundation for luxurious surroundings. An example in resident rooms would be to select a product that combines the upscale look of wood flooring with the durability of vinyl. For assisted bathing areas, residential warmth can be achieved by working with suppliers who provide commercial-grade tile in residential colors and styles with floor, wall, and accent tile coordination packaged together at a competitive price. A favorite smart design tip: Instead of selecting plate glass mirrors clipped to the wall in resident room baths, the same budget can buy imported decorative framed mirrors.
Using paint in bold, expressive colors is an inexpensive method of bringing accents into a room or common area. The effective use of lighting can also add warmth and style to any space. There are many lighting sources to consider, including daylight, solar, tubular, skylight, recessed, pendant, sconce, decorative fluorescent, and “green” products designed with energy efficiency in mind.
The proper use of fabrics and furnishings will provide the “icing on the cake.” Many of today's residential design companies manufacture furniture and fabrics to meet commercial standards. These “crossover” styles and collections emulate those seen in luxury homes, fine hotels, and home fashion magazines, and can be purchased in volume at a cost savings.