Professional designer Emily Henderson knows a thing or two about personalizing spaces. The winner of HGTV's "Design Star" stepped in to amp up one lucky Sunrise Senior Living resident's style, and further the community's dedication to helping all members feel at home.
"I love working with Sunrise, because Sunrise celebrates life at any age," Henderson said. "A Sunrise principle of service is to celebrate the individuality of every resident and that is exactly what I try to do as a designer. When someone walks into your room, it should feel like and look like you."
Sunrise residents benefit from custom style
Working with Sunrise Senior Living resident Fran, the winner of the "Suite Style Makeover," Henderson gave the room some personal touches. She updated the wall paint and furniture to express Fran's fun, happy character.
"Oh my goodness!" exclaimed Fran, upon seeing her new room. "Wow!"
Henderson encouraged all seniors to keep design in mind when decorating their rooms.
"Your home can be safe and practical, but also stylish and beautiful, and here at Sunrise they believe this 100 percent," she said.
Andy Coehlo, senior vice president of facilities, shared a similar viewpoint. He explained how Sunrise Senior Living aims to help older residents bring their personalities along with their belongings when they come to the community. Furnishings from a previous home are welcome, as their inclusion can make for a smoother transition to becoming Sunrise members. Samantha Lawrence, Sunrise director of program services, spoke about how staff works with seniors to enhance their living spaces.
"First and foremost, from each resident profile, we collect information about prior environments and interests. That way, we can help to personalize the space with them," Lawrence said.
Designing senior living space
Older adults who are interested in personalizing their own spaces may take a few tips from the Sunrise Senior Living Home Design Guide, which was created with expert input from Henderson and Sunrise's design staff.
Topics include balancing safety and health concerns with comfort and style. For instance, older adults may want to consider aspects of living areas such as how well it is optimized to prevent falls or other injuries and how accessible shelving and utilities are. Additionally, Henderson and the expert team lay out suggestions for creating a unique design within seniors' interior space. Colors and lighting options are selected with aging eyesight in mind, and print on items such as thermostats is customized to be large enough for all residents to read. Thought also goes into the artwork that adorns residents' homes, with bright and crisp designs preferred.