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Stay at Home Solutions blogs on topics such as aging in place, universal design, adaptive equipment, home modifications, accessibility, durable medical equipment, legislation, and caregiving.

Add Color and Contrast in Your Home

Oftentimes, I see bathrooms in facilities and homes with white floors, white tubs, white showers, white toilets, and white walls. While this may project a sterile, clean look, it can lead to an increase in falls with people with low vision. A monochromatic room can become unintentionally disorienting for people as they move around. When I am not wearing contacts or glasses, colors do not appear as bright to me, and it can be hard to distinguish where objects are located. People with low vision find it difficult to discern colors that are similar to each other like navy and black.

As we age, our eyes work harder to perceive what is in the world around us. Thinking about color and contrast in our homes can help maintain safety and independence with daily activities. When remodeling or fixing up your home, consider using bright colors and avoid pastels. Bright colors reflect light better compared to pastels, which easily blend together. Lighting can also affect how a person sees color, for instance, bright lighting intensifies color while dim lighting dulls color. Be selective when using patterns or prints as it blurs together for people with low vision.

Using contrasting colors in the home will make it easier to locate household items during daily activities. A great example of contrast is placing dark colored dishes and glasses in a light colored kitchen cabinet. Avoid using clear glasses and dishware because it is more difficult to see in a cabinet of any color. The most intense color contrast is a white or yellow object against a black background, but obviously not everyone may want to decorate their entire home in this manner. The goal is to place dark items against light items or vice versa. Look below to see pictures of common household items with increased color and contrast.

Some other examples of using color and contrast in your home include:

  • Installing solid colored flooring that distinguishes the boundary between the floor and wall.

  • Placing a bright colored cushion on your favorite chair.

  • Furnishing door hardware that contrasts with the color of the door.

  • Putting bright colored tape or paint on the edges of cabinet doors.

  • Installing outlets and light switch plates that contrast with the wall.

  • Using bathroom towels that contrast with the wall and towel rod, like navy towels against a beige wall.

  • Color-coding house files or clothing hangers with bright colors.

  • Using bright colors to show a change in surface for stairs or a ramp.

  • Placing dark colored trash cans throughout the house on light colored floors.

Stay at Home Solutions can guide you along the process of incorporating color and contrast in your home with our skilled occupational therapy services. Planning for the future is key to ensure you continue living at home on your own terms.