Planning a welfare interior

Martela is a true professional when it comes to furniture for the care sector. Our extensive Martela collection is sure to have the right products, whatever the precise customer need, whether for the lounge of a nursing home or the dining hall of a residential centre. Our furniture is appealing to the eye, long-lasting and practical.  Chairs intended for use in a nursing home, for instance, have removable upholstery and effective moisture barriers. The ergonomic designs take into account the needs of both the user and the care personnel.


Although furniture can undergo heavy use in public spaces, a high Martindale durability test score is not the end of the story.  Wear resistance is of course important when users are active and mobile, but in nursing homes, for example, other qualities can be more important.

In many cases, sofa and chair upholstery needs to be washed on a daily basis. It is therefore essential that the upholstery can be easily removed and refitted, and that the fabric does not shrink in the wash. When it comes to fire safety, Martela makes no compromises. All the fabrics we use exceed official requirements.

High quality upholstery is not enough: what’s underneath it, inside, is critical. As padding we use only foam that is fire safe and suitable to public spaces.

In some of the furniture we also use thermo-elastic foam, which moulds itself to the shape of the seat’s occupant. The result is a feeling of comfort and safety, and this also improves the blood circulation when the occupant is still. To protect the padding, we use hospital-grade moisture barrier materials. This allows our furniture to remain in active use for a very long time.


It is known that elderly people with memory disorders often also have difficulty discerning colours, which means it is important that a room has enough contrasts. Bright and clear tones will help in distinguishing furnishings from unobstructed spaces.

If different fabrics, patterns and colours are used in the furnishings, it will be easier to see what is where, and to get from A to B. The use of colours also helps reduce the institutional feel – if all the furniture in a big room is the same, it will not feel very homely.  


Those of us who are fit and able are not usually interested in the ergonomics of everyday furniture. We might think that comfort means a low chair, and that narrow armrests add to a graceful design. We typically judge by appearance rather than function.

This view changes as we find our mobility or functioning restricted. The less mobile we are, the more important are ergonomic considerations.  Eventually, nothing else matters. If you can no longer get into or out of a chair by yourself, the chair becomes useless and a waste of space, however attractive it might be.