Low Vision Home Modifications

“Lighting, color and space planning are the key to independent living with low vision,” says Michelle Molloy, founder of Penates* Design. It has particular importance to her because her mother has low vision. She has helped her make changes to her living space which has made it safer.

Accessible shower for low vision users featuring satin nickel metal finish, matte tiles, adjustable LED lighting, color contrasting gab bars and custom inset tile create an inviting retreat for soothing shower suited to the low vision user.

Michelle has a number of recommendations for making home modifications to support low vision starting with controlling light to help the eyes adjust to different levels of light. This can be accomplished by filtering or shielding light from:

  • Coming into rooms in the home
  • Coming into the eyes of the users
adjustable light controls
Adjustable light controls.


Additionally, making changes in the home environment to:

  • Show the edges of things
  • Increase light and reduce glare
  • Use light controls that are adjustable
  • Light objects and tasks
  • Shield direct light from eyes
  • Arrange furniture so light comes over the shoulder
  • Use visual and tactile texture to distinguish surfaces
  • Matte finishes should be used instead of gloss
  • Contrast paint hues
  • Control glare

Michelle Molloy, Penates Design

Michelle Molloy, LEED AP, CAPS, ASID, founder of Penates Design, has remodeled and redesigned homes for over 12 years. She serves the greater Seattle and Snohomish County communities in Washington. She brings a “soul satisfying” approach to her work. Penates Design is Pro Bono Project Designer for 2009 AARP Recession Remodel contestant winner, designed aesthetics of aging-in-place concept with finishes selected for beauty and function for users with low-vision criteria. This project won the 2010 Dream Home Awards – Community Service Project of the Year Award.

* Penates (pe-nay-teez) was known in ancient Rome as the guardian of the hearth and treasured home belongings.