Designing for dementia

According to the WHO, around 55 million people suffer from dementia worldwide. In the UK alone, it’s estimated that a million will be living with the condition by 2025.

Several years ago, our Dulux Trade brand partnered with the BRE (British Research Establishment) in a project to help those with dementia to live independently for longer in their own homes. A color palette and design guide was developed, suggesting how certain colors and designs can help those living with dementia.

The project quickly evolved and a dementia demonstration home was created to cater for those dealing with different types and stages of dementia. The design was all based on Dulux Trade’s groundbreaking Dementia-Friendly Colour Palette and Design Guide. Such was its impact, that the guide went on to win an Exceptional Contribution to Dementia Care Award.

Keen to make further advances, Dulux Trade then set up an Occupant Centred Colour and Design (OCCD) hub. It aims to provide color and design support to enable the step-change necessary in the provision of environments for an ageing UK population and support people living with dementia. 

“In the UK, someone is diagnosed with dementia every three minutes and this requires a radical change in thinking,” explains Dulux Trade’s Karen Wilkinson. “To achieve this, we’ve been committed to supporting inclusive design to help improve the well-being of people living with dementia.


Colors have been selected and combined to en able enough color and contrast of critical surfaces, minimizing the risk of trips and falls


Color can be used within the design-solution as way of  reinforcing positive personal connections and to provide stimulation within the space. 

Communal spaces

The communal area is the space where residents spend a  large part of the day. A warm homely atmosphere where  people feel comfortable and at ease is important. 

“Building our Occupant Centred Colour and Design Hub to further support design for dementia and aged care is one of the ways we’re supporting the industry to think differently about how design can be harnessed to develop truly inclusive care environments.”

The hub is targeted at design professionals who want to improve living spaces for people living with dementia. It offers practical safeguarding measures that can be used in the home or in residential care spaces, including color and design advice geared to preventing trips and falls and helping with wayfinding. 

“We’re very pleased to be able to provide professionals with a wealth of information to help them create more supportive environments,” continues Karen. “Ultimately, by combining resources and expertise with other partners such as BRE, we can work towards a common goal to inspire more inclusive built environments that embrace everyone in society.”

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