Nursing homes are designed to serve patients who require preventive, therapeutic, and rehabilitative nursing care services for non-acute, long-term conditions. Usually residents are elderly and frail, but not bedridden, although many will require canes, walkers, or wheelchairs to help them get around.

Patient stays are on the whole relatively long, with the majority of residents staying for the remaining months or years of their life. Most UK Nursing homes will also care for a number of convalescent patients who are in recovery from acute illnesses, but no longer require hospitalisation.

Nursing homes present special design challenges in that for most residents the nursing home is not just a facility, but indeed their home. The reality is that in most cases the residents will live there for the rest of their lives and, moreover, rarely leave the premises at all. The nursing home therefore becomes their entire world. The challenge is to design an environment that is sensitive and responsive to long-term human needs and well-being, both physical and emotional. Thankfully there are a growing number of companies who specialize in the manufacture and supply of stylish yet practical Nursing Home furniture, which means designers are no longer limited in terms of interior d├ęcor.

Building Attributes

Nursing homes are primarily patient care focused rather than medically focused, and consequently its more important attributes are those focusing on the general happiness of its residents rather than high-tech considerations. Features of a well designed nursing home are as follows:

Homely environment

The impact of surroundings and environment on the recovery of Nursing Home patients cannot be underestimated. Both the building’s architect and interior designer needs to gain a thorough understanding of the function of the venue and the profile of its patients. Attention must be paid to ensuring that the exterior and interior design cater for physical and mental disabilities along with loss of sight. This should all be packaged in such as way as to suggest a home away from home as opposed to a medical institute.


In order to create the most efficient space possible for both staff and patients, the nursing home’s design should promote efficiency by minimizing the distance it is necessary to travel between spaces that are most frequently used such as recreational rooms, dining areas and toilets.
Ease of supervision is another essential feature, as allowing supervision of patients by minimal members of staff can reduce the total number of employees required by the nursing home, and can free up nursing staff to perform other tasks at any one time.

Cleanliness and Sanitation

Odour control is a priority for all nursing homes, since many patients are likely to experience occasional incontinence. The resulting odour can give the impression of poor hyginene and uncleanliness to family and other visitors. In addition to operational practices and careful choice of nursing home furniture, the following design features can also help:

Highly visible toilet rooms in key locations near spaces where residents congregate

The use of appropriate, durable finishes for each space used by residents

Proper detailing of such features as doorframes, casework, and finish transitions to avoid dirt-catching and hard-to-clean crevices and joints

Adequate and appropriately located housekeeping spaces

Effective ventilation, which may need to exceed nominal design levels.