DESIGN INSIGHT: Creating a vibrant café culture in care homes

Samantha Lord

Every high street in Europe has its own café culture where the townsfolk gather to relax, trade news and catch up with friends and family. It’s a ritual that has now become a vital part of almost every care home, and the best are turning their cafés into stylish hubs that help residents stay in touch with their local communities and promote premium homes to future residents, as interior designer Samantha Lord explains.

Café culture is just as important in the care sector, and is becoming an increasingly recognised necessity in homes.

The primary benefit of these cafés is the social stimulus they provide residents. They aid relationship development, social interaction, and provide that comfort of a familiar environment. They are destination points and create events, which are important in helping residents maintain a healthy lifestyle, independence and dignity. Not only this, but they also act as a place where relatives can come and have fun, as well as encouraging the wider community and home management to meet, relax, and interact with one another.

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With the addition of a café area, this offers an interesting place to gather in a calm and relaxed atmosphere, as and when they would like, but also with the interaction of people from within the local community, family and friends alike.

Whilst the comfort of the residents is at the centre of every decision, these environments also act as an excellent tool for the home to utilise when promoting itself to the wider community.

Our overall needs as people, to integrate, socialise and have fun and laughter in life does not suddenly change because we have a need for assistance in our daily activities.

When approaching interior design for a café, the most important feature is for it to be a comfortable and welcoming, which invites people in.

Getting a balance is crucial to ensuring the environments are welcoming and enjoyable for both the residents and their relatives, banishing any stereotypical perceptions of care homes, and making them appealing to all ages.

Here are a few key areas to get right:

Front Bar: Use of colour, texture and lighting to create the desired feel of a coffee bar are all important. The influence of colour on our psychology is a well-established fact. The quality and mix of dining and comfortable seating, including their location, is also important, as well as the facility to include wheelchair space and accessibility is vital.

Important factors including location, natural light and convenience to residents, visitors and staff are all significant in the integration of this important and enjoyable social hub.

Back Bar: In addition to the design of schemes and suitability of the furniture and surroundings, it must also keep in mind certain practical requirements, such as staff workflow, efficient workspace, DDA regulations, hand hygiene facilities, refrigeration and prep areas, numerous electrical requirements plus water and waste services, along with correct flooring and appropriate luxury levels.

Careful design and space planning ahead of any implementation is critical to the successful addition of a valuable social space. By pulling all of the design elements together to give a unified look, as well integrating the design within the rest of the building, offering a cohesive feel but allowing the café its own identity, we can create a popular and successful social hub for residents, visitors and staff alike, and allow the opportunity for residents to remain involved and engaged with their families, friends and the local community.

With our recent collaborations with architects and builders, in designing new and successful café spaces, we have been able to ensure that these social hubs are truly accessible to all, and at the heart of the Home.

Samantha Lord Interior Design Limited
01244 336 992

Tags : Café CultureCommunityInterior DesignSamantha Lord

The author Rob Corder

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