How to keep your home looking cosy when designing for accessibility

We’ve worked on a lot of case management projects over the years. These projects typically come about following litigation or compensation settlements where someone has experienced a life-changing injury and needs either major home adaptations or a newly built house to allow them to complete everyday tasks and maintain a good quality of life.

Throughout these projects, the focus is mainly on making the house accessible and fit for purpose – we’ve even written a guide on the key things you should include in a disabled-friendly home.

Of course, functionality is crucial. Everyone needs to be able to properly use their own home. But how do you keep your home looking cosy when designing for accessibility?

Between all the specialist healthcare equipment and accessible layouts, it’s important to remember that the house being designed is someone’s home. It still needs to feel cosy and homely, not clinical! Delivering both function and aesthetics when designing accessible homes can be simple. Take a look at our top interior design tips for different areas of your home.

Bedrooms

For a lot of people, getting their bedroom right is the top priority when it comes to accessible interior design. It’s your own personal space, it’s where you go to relax and sleep. So, if there’s one area where you take the time to keep it looking cosy not clinical, it should be the bedroom! Here are three ideas on how to do just that:

Look beyond the care equipment

When designing an accessible bedroom, it’s easy to worry about all the equipment you need to include to properly care for someone. You might need a hoist system, a specialist mattress and care chair. But looking beyond this to the rest of the room is key to keeping it cosy and welcoming.

Regardless of what else needs to be included in the bedroom, you have the freedom to use colours and soft furnishings to show the individual’s personality and make the room suit them. We’ve written about choosing colour schemes before – traditionally calming colours like blue or warm colours like brown can create a cosy atmosphere.

But the great thing about designing for a private residence is you don’t need to worry too much about colour theory or ‘good’ design principles. Focus on what that person enjoys and incorporate that where possible. If the homeowner loves pink, then painting their bedroom pink can make it feel cosy for them!

This bedroom looks cosy and contains a hoist system and care bed
This bedroom incorporates a ceiling track hoist and a care bed. Using bold red accessories and wall art to suit the client’s personality keeps the room looking cosy.

Care beds with flair

The bed is arguably the most important part of a bedroom. It’s not only where people spend most of their time in the room, but it’s also often the focal point.

For people who are at risk of falling from their bed, or who need assistance changing position, a care bed is a great option. Profiling care beds are made up of different sections which can be moved independently. This allows the user to sit up comfortably in bed without the risk of slipping. Side rails can also be included to prevent falls.

We’ve got a guide on choosing the right care bed if you’re looking for more information on what kind of bed will best suit your needs.

However, once people understand what features they need in a bed, they often become concerned that any bed meeting their care requirements will be bulky and cold. Nobody wants a bed that looks like it belongs in a hospital ward rather than their home. Fortunately, there is now a selection of stylish care beds available to choose from.

This Liberta bed is height and length adjustable, with mesh siderails for added style and visibility for the user. This range is available in over 12 different finishes, so there’s an option to suit any room
TheEclipse range is so sleek and compact you’d never even know it was a care bed!

Hidden Hoist Systems

When fitting out accessible bedrooms, hoist systems are one of the most common pieces of equipment we are asked to install. Having a permanent hoist system in place makes transfers from bed to a chair or wheelchair much easier for people with limited mobility. Carers don’t have to worry about setting up a hoist, one is always available. Plus, the person being transferred doesn’t have to wait as long to get up. A permanent hoist means they can be safely and comfortably transferred whenever they need.

Unfortunately, hoist systems can also feel very intrusive. The downside of a permanent system always being ready to use is that is always visible. Having a hoist unit and tracking on show can make even the best designed bedrooms feel clinical.

The Integralift tackles this issue, providing a subtle alternative to traditional overhead hoist systems. This unique hoist system can be folded away into a cupboard or bedhead when it’s not in use – you wouldn’t even know it was in the room!

Case Management Integralift in a stylish bedroom
This Integralift hoist system folds away into stylish wooden cupboards above the bed.

This is an ideal solution if you need a hoist system that is always available but don’t want it to detract from the cosy atmosphere of the bedroom. All systems are bespoke, designed by the expert Innova team to perfectly fit the room. The Integralift storage cupboards are available in a range of finishes, so there will be something to suit any style of bedroom.

Bathrooms

Accessible bathrooms must be carefully designed to meet the needs of the user. You have to make sure they are big enough so the user and their carer can comfortably get around the room, the layout must accommodate any mobility aids, and fixtures will often need to be adapted to suit individual needs.

But there is increasingly a focus on designing bathrooms that offer therapeutic benefits as well as practical ones. Here are our top tips on making your bathroom a calming space in your home:

Hydrotherapy Baths

The benefits of hydrotherapy are often mentioned in relation to rehabilitative care. Hydrotherapy treatment relaxes and soothes muscles and can help with injury healing, circulation and respiration.

If you don’t have the space or need for a full hydrotherapy pool, then a specialist bath with a hydrotherapy system is a great way to reap some of the benefits of the treatment.

Colour Therapy

Colour therapy, or chromotherapy, uses different coloured lights to aid relaxation. The alternative treatment is associated with benefits to physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.

Using colour changing LED lights in your bathroom can be an excellent way to create a tranquil environment within an accessible home.

This sleek bath is height-adjustable and features colour changing LED lights

Aromatherapy

Scented candles and essential oils are common forms of aromatherapy in everyday life. But did you know that you can incorporate aromatherapy systems into accessible bathrooms?

Many specialist baths allow you to incorporate an aromatherapy system. They use airflow to diffuse the relaxing scent of aromatherapy oils through the water and into the air.

By designing a bathroom that stimulates the senses and establishes an air of calm, you can create a spa-like room in your own home. These therapeutic touches can offset any more clinical features you may need to include like grab rails or hoists.

If you’re interested in adding therapeutic features to your accessible bathroom, get in touch! We will be happy to talk you through the available options.

Living Space

Good accessible interior design can feel difficult to pull off in living rooms and other shared parts of the house. Unlike with bedrooms, you need to consider other family members and guests when making choices. Living space needs to work for the person with accessibility requirements and anyone else that uses the space.

Fortunately, with the addition of some innovative equipment, you don’t need to choose between the two.

Modern domestic lifts

For people with limited mobility, a home lift may be the only way they can move between different floors in their home.

A lot of home lifts can feel very intrusive. They have cabins that take up a large amount of space and are noisy and uncomfortable to use. The UltiLift isn’t any of these things.

The UltiLift is an advanced through floor lift for home use. The compact design can take up as little floor space as a shower! Plus, it operates using a simple hydraulic system which is both quiet and eco-friendly.

Modern Ultilift Through Floor Home Lift

From an interior design perspective, UltiLift offers unrivalled versatility. Each lift is bespoke, the size and style are designed to fit perfectly with the room it is installed in. There is a huge range of designs to choose from to suit any budget and taste.

If you have lots of wooden furniture in your living room, opt for a luxury wooden interior to complement it. If a sleek glass lift is more your style, that’s available too! By making the lift blend into your living space, it becomes an extension of the room rather than an eyesore.

Seating & Furniture

Adding complementary chairs and other loose furniture is a great finishing touch to tie your living space together. We offer a wide range of furniture styles to achieve whatever look creates a homely feel for you!

Whether you need a high back chair to make standing easier or you want tub-style chairs to help someone feel comforted and safe, they can be tailored to suit your design requirements as well as your care ones.

Take a look at our inspiration gallery to spark some ideas.

Summary

When designing accessible homes, balancing the need for specialist care equipment with the desire to keep the home looking cosy can be tricky. Our guide covers advice and tips for creating bedrooms, bathrooms and living spaces that are cosy and disabled-friendly. From stylish beds and hidden hoists to aromatherapy and colour schemes, there’s something any household can try.