As Deryl Patterson explained in Part 1 of our Light Up Their Lives blog, lighting is a crucial element for the 55-plus buyer that cannot be overlooked. We often hear that the key to great lighting is layering, but what does that really mean? How does that specifically pertain to the 55-plus buyer? And what other lighting issues must be taken into consideration? Here are some insights on how to accomplish spectacular, practical lighting that caters to the needs of active adult buyers.
Layer Task, Ambient, and Accent Lighting
Multiple layers of light sources, such as can lights combined with lamps and task lighting, establishes a room’s atmosphere as well as provides the 55-plus buyer with the ability to see more clearly. This also helps with alertness, thus improving a daily sleep cycle.
Keep Stairwells and Stairways Safe
To avoid falls and increase the overall safety of the home, indoor stairwells and outdoor staircases should be illuminated. To develop sufficient lighting in these areas, add a number of strategically placed step lights as well as overhead lighting.
Prevention Is Powerful
Think ahead as to how the 55-plus buyer might use each space and make the lighting as easy to use as possible. For example, the simple but thoughtful detail of moving the light switch to the outside of the bathroom rather than inside allows the 55-plus buyer to better navigate the halls at night. Or try to determine areas of higher traffic and utilize automatic controls that are motion censored, guaranteeing that the light will be on when needed.
Glare-Free Is the Way to Be
In aging eyes, light scatters within the eye causing an increased sensitivity to glare and the loss of the ability to see subtle details at lower light levels. Glare can be reduced with higher levels of uniform light and consistent light levels as you travel through the home. Also, stay away from elements that might produce glare such as highly polished flooring or high-gloss paint.
Use Natural Light as an Advantage
If daylight is available, use it. Whenever possible, natural light should be introduced in the space from multiple sources (skylights, windows, etc.). Daylight not only immerses the space with necessary light, but provides significant health and emotional benefits to the NEXTadventure adult.
Maintain Consistency With Temperature
When using a variety of light sources, it’s important to keep light temperatures and brightness in mind, as a slight variation will be emphasized in aging eyes. Moving from brighter spaces to darker ones can create a highly effective lighting scheme for many eyes, but not so for the more “mature” eye. In fact, this layout of dramatic lighting can sometimes be highly disorienting.
Keep the Color Contrast
As eyes age, contrast becomes difficult to distinguish. By using color contrasts or light/dark contrasts in flooring, fixtures, and finishes, the 55-plus buyer feels more at ease with their movement throughout the home.
Be sure to check out the lighting solutions and other design ideas in the NEXTadventure Show Home at the 2017 International Builders' Show in Orlando, Fla.