Part of being a good designer is to help my clients understand their choices and what these choices will mean for their future. Another important part of my position as a designer is to be a good problem solver and to give my clients sound advice about ways to make their life better. That’s why I try to stay up to date on subjects of functionality, design, aging in place assistance, accessibility, and color theory.
I would like to focus on safety and functionality of finish choices for your home. At this point in time, I spend a day a week helping my own aging parents with tasks around their home that they have difficulties with doing or need help with completing, etc. Many of us have areas in our homes that are dangerous or potentially could cause injury without our even realizing it. Sometimes the very things that increased the homes value or caught your attention when you were looking at the home are in actuality, an unsafe choice if you want to remain in your home indefinitely. For example, my parents have a beautiful ceramic tile floor that is in the bathroom, the entry area and in the kitchen area. This can potentially lead to an unsafe condition for my parents. Why would this be? First, the tile is very hard and when there is a wet condition it becomes extremely slick. I would not let my mother clean her floors because they are extremely slick when there is any moisture on them. So, I cleaned them and banned them to the carpeted area while the floors were wet.
My father has to walk with a cane and has trouble navigating. If he or my mother were to fall on the hard floor, they would likely get very hurt. I caution you to make an effort to think past the current trends in home decorating and think forward to create a safe haven that is also an easy care solution. If you already have a floor surface or design condition that could eventually be unsafe, refrain from adding any new finishes that will add a potential safety concern or complicated upkeep. Consider adding a smaller non-slick carpeting that will take wetness like a walk-off mat in the areas that could potentially get wet. I found a great carpet that is designed for entry ways at Costco for a great price. It won’t ruin the tile but it will prevent wetness from sitting on the floor. It is very important to create a safe and easy care home that you will be able to live comfortably in as you age.
If you purchase flooring for your home, don’t choose a flooring or a certain look only because you have seen the same thing in magazines or on HGTV. We’ve all done it. Sometimes we get lured into choosing an item because it’s all over television and it’s the latest and trendiest. Unfortunately, more often than not such items end up taking great effort to keep them looking nice or they create a safety issue. I know it’s easy to get caught up in the “HGTV design coolness” but evaluate the safety and long term ramifications before getting caught up with the trendiest choices.
So, take some time to review your home design finishes. With an eye to the future and some careful design considerations, you will have a home that you will be able to age safely and comfortably in and that is my goal. Please contact me with any comments or concerns. Take care.