What about furniture in Swedish Nursing Homes? A Design Perspective on Perceived Meanings within the Physical Environment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


There are good reasons to believe that furniture designers can play an important role in the design of appropriate caring environments and thus contribute to the care that is provided. Designers are usually engaged by manufacturers that develop furniture for public procurement and a market for elderly consumers but without being able to learn from those who spend their everyday lives in these environments. This paper is based on industrial design and presents a study that explores the relationships between people and furniture in nursing homes. Thematic interviews were carried out with residents and personnel, in total twenty-one participants. A go-along method was utilized in parts of the interviews with the residents. The empirical study was carried out in three nursing homes in Stockholm. The results prove that elderly people strive for a sense of home in their private rooms in contrast to shared rooms and that the perspectives on furniture differ between the elderly people and the personnel. The conclusion is that understanding the role of furniture at nursing homes can help to reinforce the identity of elderly residents and their needs of continuity and social and existential safety. The recommendations are to involve the experiences of elderly people in the design processes and to make more informed furniture investment decisions for nursing homes.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Production Engineering, Human Work Science and Ergonomics


  • Nursing homes, furniture, experience
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17-35
JournalJournal of Interior Design
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2014
Publication categoryResearch