In this article we will look at using colour and tone to good effect at home for an an age-friendly future.

Subtle changes to the colour and tone in a room can help make it more age friendly, whilst still keeping the design and ‘feel’ of the room.

Improving how well the main elements in a room can be distinguished against each other is another great, low-cost adjustment. Can you easily identify the walls, floors, furniture and switches in the room you are in right now? (Try looking around with your eyes almost closed or in soft focus. Can they still be identified easily enough?)

The busier the room is, the stronger the definition needs to between the elements. The two images below are very different, neither of them have good definition between the elements – can you see why?

Having a well contrasted design makes the room more easy to ‘understand’ and reduces the risk of collision or tripping over poorly identified pieces of furniture. But you don’t have to fill your space with bright colours to achieve this, the changes can be made though subtle, harmonious combinations when the elements have a good tonal contrast between each other. Something as simple as changing the rug, swapping items of furniture around or painting a wall will have a big impact.

Example of using colour and tone to good effect at home

The interactive image below shows how minor changes can make a bid different. Slide the central arrow bar sideways to see the difference between the two rooms.

They are identical in size, shape and light levels. The room on the left has low contrast between the elements because they all have similar tone and it is harder to identify objects and edges. (Look for the coffee table glass top and the rug edge with a soft focus or almost closed eye and you will see what we mean.) On the other hand, the room on the right has great contrast between most of the main elements. For example, the rug edge can be clearly identified against the floor, and the coffee table stands out well against the lighter rug.

An example of how to improve the contrast between elements in a room. The Left Hand image has low contrast between elements, the Right Hand image has good contrast between most elements. (Images: Amazon Showroom)

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