Hi & Welcome to the first installment in the series "Low Vision Products for the Home"
Many adaptations in this series can be found in my eBook "Navigating Life with Low Vision: Coping and Adjusting to Living with Vision Loss"
After each segment, some products will be found on my Store page for easy reference.
Note: I use "you", "we", etc. to mean a person with low vision, because I'm one, and it's just easier to say.
Disclosure: Some text contains Affiliate links and I may receive compensation from them.
The Living Room
The easiest adjustment to make for the living room (and everywhere else) is to have less clutter. Remove things (knick knacks, extra furniture pieces, area rugs, planters, etc) that are 1) a tripping hazard & 2) can cause visual confusion.
Basically, the less there is to look at - the easier it is to actually see when you have low vision.
Let's use the above picture, which is a great example of a living room layout, to explain:
Walls and Doorways
It's best to paint walls a light color (or in this picture's case - use light wood). Light colors brighten a room naturally and thus helps us see better.
Floors should be a contrast color to the walls, or at least a much darker shade, this way there's a noticeable difference. Door frames and window frames should be painted a darker color or contrast color to aid with finding them easier, just like in the picture above.
The picture below is a horrible example of a wall and doorway. For those with low vision, it seems to be one continuous space and thus may be hard to find the doorway. Also, the door is open, we may not spot that and actually walk into it.
You can either use drapes and sheers, or blinds to adjust the amount of natural lighting coming in. Some days will just be too bright and cause a lot of glare to see clearly.
The best layout is where you can see best without glare:
1) Arrange the furniture in a way for us to be able to sit with our backs to a bright source - so the light is on other people we're looking at.
2) Use "task lighting" to help with reading, crafts, crosswords, and such. This is much better than overhead lighting that doesn't help with focus.
3) Make furnishings contrasting with floor colors so we can spot them easier. If this isn't feasible, use coverings or blankets to help.
4) Tape electrical cords down, use a sleeve, or hide them in your baseboard.
5) For hallways and high traffic areas, use carpet runners as a good walking guide (be sure they stay clear of objects).
6) In living areas that have stairs (especially those going down(, be sure to mark the top step with a bright strip of tape to prevent any falls.
Otherwise, be sure not to have any direct light behind or beside it. Keep the area around the TV clear and neutral so it's easier to focus on the TV screen.
Bigger is Better
Just remember "bigger is better". It's much easier to see things that are bigger and over-sized than squinting and getting frustrated.
Here's a list of various over-size products for the Living Room that may help:
Many more products can be found on Amazon and other low vision websites and can be discussed again with your low vision specialist to find one that fits your needs the best. Also don't forget many products also come with speech capabilities as well.
I hope these living room adaptations help you or a loved one.
Feel free to send me any questions!