Paint choices when remodeling for aging in place and visitability should provide comfort, low maintenance, safety and livability. Psychologically, paint can have a significant impact on any person’s life, particularly those who are choosing to remain in their homes for any length of time.
- Paint is an amazing instrument for making a house or apartment a home. It is one of the few things that we have the ability to relatively easily and fairly reasonably. A well chosen paint can create a beautiful space where comfort and safety are also a priority. Putting some well thought out choices into action can greatly improve the surroundings both visually and safely.
- Some of the considerations to evaluate when choosing paint are the location of the paint, the color of the paint and the lighting of the painted areas. Consider the location when choosing the paint: is it going to be in a large room, a dark room, a room where there is very little natural light? What are the activities that will take place in the room? What are the abilities of the occupants in the room? As a person ages, their eyes become more sensitive to glare and the eyes see more yellow. This is a natural process that happens and something that should be evaluated and planned for when choosing paint colors. No one wants to be stuck in a dark room all day with very little light or contrast. One of my clients just went through a color story consultation with me and they chose warm grays and blues after living with a lime green/spring green for many years. They noticed on their own that they were seeing more yellow and they wanted to counter-act that and reflect more of a cooler, comfortable, balanced feeling to their home. They also chose a paint that was not glossy to reduce the glare from the wall surface; a good choice since flat paints tend to show wear quickly and damage easily.
- Consider the lighting when choosing a paint color as it relates to safety. Darker colors will absorb light and could create a safety hazard. Lighting requirements increase as we age so choose lighter colors to facilitate safety in areas like the kitchen and bathroom, stairways and hallways where travel and productivity are likely to occur.
- Consider the lighting in the space and how the paint will look when the lights are on and the sun isn’t out or if the sun is out. Paints tend to pick up colors from the lighting. If there are incandescent lights in the room, is the yellow light going to make a wall look really yellow or if there is a blue undertone to the paint, will the wall look green? Before settling on a color, evaluate the color in the daylight and the night-time conditions. You may be surprised at what you see. On the flip side of that, there are numerous fluorescent lights available with different light levels, some more blue than yellow. A recent experience at a local Assisted Living facility brought this point home. The walls were painted what could only be termed mustard yellow and for energy saving purposes, fluorescent lighting was installed on the wall behind the patients’ beds. This lighting, though bright and utilitarian, turned everything a very dirty, nasty green-brown-yellow color that was reflected from the mustard yellow wall. Even the patients looked awful because of the lighting and the paint color. Now, add to that the fact that some of the patients’ eyes already saw more yellow tones and it was a recipe for depression.
Paint choices are a great way to add personality to the home and create a personal haven. With a few well-thought out choices, the home will provide comfort, safety and low maintenance. Remember that paint choices can have a considerable impact on any person’s life, particularly those who are choosing to remain in their homes for any length of time or wanting to make their home visitable by all. If you have questions or comments, please post them or contact me personally. Take care.