How to Decorate for the Visually Impaired

Updated February 21, 2017

Though their sight may diminish, the visually impaired typically maintain their love for aesthetic beauty. Home decorations can be modified to accommodate their limited sight. When decorating for the visually impaired, ask yourself how you can make certain elements of colour, design and architecture stand out so they can be easily noticed and appreciated.

Use bold colours. Bright, solid colours are easier for the visually impaired to see. Don't use patterns or pastels; make sure that everything stands out.

Contrast elements. Make sure nothing blends into each other, so that objects stand out against their backgrounds and are therefore easier to define. Select a couch that is a different colour from the wall, and couch pillows that are a different colour from the couch. Choose chairs that are a different colour from the table, and dishes that are a different colour from the place settings. Hang bright, bold prints on the wall that coloured differently from the wall itself. Hang bold curtains that stand out from the wall. According to the American Foundation for the Blind, if you have dark coloured walls in the bathroom, you should hang light coloured towels. Conversely, if you have light coloured walls, you should hang dark coloured towels. If using colour contrasts isn't an option, contrast the space with black and white.

Decorate with different shapes and textures. Choose furniture with specific textures that are appealing, as well as helpful to the visually impaired. This might include velvet or leather couches and chairs; plush carpeting; dining room chairs with rails; textured paint or wallpaper on the walls; and ornate fixtures on doorknobs, windows and cabinet doors.

Enhance lighting. Make lighting as bright as possible. Use track lights, lamps and overhead lighting to illuminate the room. You can also string white or brightly coloured Christmas lights around the perimeter of the ceiling to create additional brightness and decoration. Add nightlights in the wall outlets near the floor in certain rooms to help the visually impaired move around for bathroom trips or midnight snacks.

Add other festive touches. If you have stairs, decorate the banister with brightly coloured garland. Paint or decorate baseboards a bright colour that is different from the wall, so the borders of the room stand out.

Things You'll Need

  • Paint
  • Wallpaper
  • Curtains
  • Furniture
  • Garland
  • Nightlights
  • Track lights
  • Lamps
  • Ornate fixtures
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About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.