Designing Care Home Interiors for Positive Ageing

Positive ageing and maintaining wellbeing within the Care Home environment is crucial and at a pivotal juncture. As a result of the Covid pandemic, there is a renewed interest and need to ensure our Care Homes both privately and publicly funded are operating at optimal levels, providing the best quality of life for residents living in these places.

With a growing and longer ageing population increasing each year, the demand for places in care home facilities will double in the next thirty years.

Therefore, the sector needs to act now and address the complex and diverse ageing requirements of this demographic. 

*It is currently estimated that over 15.5 million people are now aged 60 or over, making up 23% of the UK population. With over 3.2 million people aged 80 or over, it is expected that this figure will rise significantly over the next twenty years: Source Policy and Research MHA.  

Care Homes provide living facilities for various ageing groups. From rehabilitation and respite care, short-stay, general elderly living homes, and those living with dementia. Each group presents their own specific health challenges and requirements for facility function. However, all groups combined need well planned and designed care homes that maintain quality of life and sustainable wellbeing.

The challenges facing the operational costs and functions of care homes moving forward, is providing an opportunity for premium level private care home development. Providers and investors can re-imagine purpose and set new guidelines and initiatives for managing growth direction within the sector. There are possibilities for new exciting and sustainable business models where positive design propositions with built in values, can actively work to enhance the wellbeing of residents, their families, and staff.   

Care homes serve many purposes, and in order to deliver good care, all aspects of the environment and those living, working, and managing them need to be succinctly aligned. Care homes are often viewed as a place of last resort, rather than a vital component in the care and health continuum of the elderly. Therefore, it is essential to understand that design is a fundamental factor in maintaining quality of life for the elderly. Care homes need to be designed as homes and not medical institutions.

Sensory designs helps stimulate our deteriorating senses.

Age does not stop the need and desire of people to live actively, to be engaged, and feel valued.  And Care Homes are able to offer safe and stimulating environments in which residents maintain a thriving life, focused on maintaining health and wellbeing. And through considered design this is achievable. 

Design needs to preserve the dignity of Care Home residents first and foremost, and simultaneously offer the important creative and stimulating elements of life that we readily take for granted earlier. Reading, music, beautiful scents, and flavourful nourishing food must be incorporated purposefully in a complete design concept. 

An important aspect of my design approach and philosophy is closely tied with the inherent benefits of sensory stimulation. As we age and are more susceptible to physical ailments, aspects of our senses diminish such as hearing, sight, smell, taste, and the feeling of physical touch.  Designing environments which stimulate and place emphasis on enhanced features that help maintain the benefits of sensory immersion is one of the easiest ways to help mitigate sensory loss.

I have always been very aware of our senses and how they impact our wellbeing and effect and how we move through and engage in the world. The five human senses of hearing, sight, smell, touch, and taste each play a unique role by receiving signal information from the environment.  My medical background working with both practitioners and patients, enabled the development of my propriety and unique 5s design approach, and expertise in sensory design where I focus on specific ways to ignite the senses.

I draw on ancient and modern wisdom and research to create new ways of inspiring healthier environments. Designing mindful, functional spaces that enhance human connections is imperative for enhancing well-being specifically within the Care Home environment.

I use only finely crafted products, natural and tactile materials, responsive lighting and acoustic layering, to create calming, comfortable and inspirational spaces where inhabitants find positive energy, balance, connection, resulting in an enriched state of being.

An environment’s spatial flow can either enhance or hinder the way residents use and function within the facility. Therefore, layout and incorporating the way we use Biophilic design is vital. It affects the air quality inside and bringing natural elements indoors has been proven to enhance our mood and physical well-being.  The correct use of colour can also ignite energy or induce a sense of calm, and the placement of these colour variations must be carefully considered within every room of a Care Home, so residents receive the positive desired effects.

Our hearing is one our greatest senses, in terms of how our mind and body react to various stimuli. Different sounds impact our sensory responses, therefore, music, playing instruments, and incorporating natural sounds of nature like water all positively benefit our sense of hearing and our response to sound.

And finally, our ability to taste deteriorates as our digestive system changes with age. As a result of ailments our internal biology may not be able to tolerate certain foods, and maintaining a healthy diet often affects our ability to fight certain diseases. Developing a dietary plan for different resident groups is essential, because food provides the energy to function as well as provide pleasure of taste.

As a specialist medical and wellness interior designer, I utilise my two decades experience and understanding of incorporating specific design features and mechanisms to enhance patient and residents experience within the space.  I have a strong track record and can provide a full spatial audit, making considered recommendations for creating supportive, engaging and life-enhancing schemes that work for residents, their families and staff which also meet key quality assurance and safety requirements.  

Maria Tibblin

Scandinavian Interior Designer for Health & Wellbeing

Holistic Design Director at MARIA TIBBLIN LTD


For further press information, case study images or interior design commentary please contact Emma Tweedie

Tel: 07711 515904 Email:

 Complimentary Consultation

I am delighted to offer a complimentary consultation to discuss a new project or a re-design that will generate and help finding new ways in adhering to the “new healthy normal” in an aesthetic and functional way.