Designing for Seniors
Julie A. Salmon
Julie A. Salmon, interior designer for over a decade, established J. Salmon Design of Millbury, MA in 2010, specializing in creating casual yet elegant spaces. Along with a master’s degree in Interior Design from The New England School of Art & Design at Suffolk University, she is also LEED Green Certified, providing sustainable design solutions to complete any project.
My designer’s eye is naturally drawn to color, texture, and the little details. The color inspiration starts from a fabric swatch, rug, or piece of art, becoming my foundation as I explore materials.
Look nearby for your pieces. I use local resources such as Target, Homegoods, and local furniture retailers for convenience. It’s also a great way to support the local economy and stayed tuned into the latest trends, and how my own home has been furnished. This affordable, flexible, and stress free approach can work for just about anyone.
Putting design to work at Whitney Place. Designing for Whitney Place at Natick was exciting. I wanted to create a space that was warm, comfy yet bright, fresh, and modern. The challenge: make it fit seamlessly into the Tapestry Program neighborhood and work well for a resident. An understanding of Alzheimer’s disease, the aging eye, and making the most of a small space helped me with selections.
My color inspiration was a large, colorful piece found in a local retail store, a canvas-wrapped piece of art that would remove the possibility of glare. That art was the jumping off point for toss pillows, paint colors—even salt and pepper shakers. I made sure to vary the textures and minimize large-scale prints. Color was also used as a means of wayfinding, a crucial aid for those living with Alzheimer’s. Blue accents were used both behind the headboard and on the kitchen backsplash to draw attention; the remaining walls were left a neutral shade allowing daylight to reflect off the walls, filling the room and brightening the entire space.
Closets feature adjustable shelving; the cabinetry has pull-out roll trays making it easier for a resident to reach items. Every piece of furniture used in the space serves a purpose. My wall art from a collection of mismatched plates is an example of how to enjoy those personal treasures you already own.
Try it yourself. When tackling your own project, remember to start with an item that both attracts and inspires you, whether it’s your bedding, a colorful vase, piece of art or something entirely different. Then work from it, looking for variety in what you choose, incorporating different textures and bearing in mind you want to end up with a clean, bright and inviting combination… someplace that feels like home!