When it comes to decorating a senior apartment, small spaces don’t necessarily mean big challenges. In fact, you can still embrace luxury senior living and flaunt your personal style in a right-size spaced home.
These 12 tips for decorating small spaces and the best decor for senior living will help you maximize possibilities, make the best use of the square footage you have, and allow your apartment and curated style of living to shine.
1. Downsize Deliberately
Oftentimes, a move to a senior living apartment means downsizing from a family home you’ve lived in for years. However, one benefit of moving to a smaller space is the opportunity to take inventory of your belongings and focus on what’s important — the things that bring you joy or serve a purpose.
If you can afford to move before selling your home, there’s no need to rush the process. Take your time deciding what to keep, toss or donate. Consider keeping items such as your favorite photos of beloved family, friends or pets; books you’ll read multiple times; or an old quilt you still love snuggling up with on the couch. Gift belongings to friends and family, donate impractical items, and properly dispose of useless ones. Keep in mind: Donating unwanted furniture, appliances or other things can yield significant tax write-offs.
2. Ditch the Clutter
When it comes to decorating for seniors and making the most of smaller spaces, less is more. Fewer belongings means more time to spend doing the things you love and exploring all the possibilities of a luxury retirement. Keeping the clutter down also allows for more open space and ease of movement between furniture items. An added bonus? Cleaning is much easier when you have less space to decorate and fill and flat surfaces are clutter-free.
3. Keep the Space Simple and Functional
When decorating a senior apartment, always keep functionality and convenience in mind. Whenever possible, use accessories and furnishings from your previous home rather than buy everything new. This will help incorporate your style and decorations into your new apartment, just on a smaller scale.
Tips to keep in mind: Loveseats fit better than full living room sets; firm-cushioned couches are easier to get in and out of; furniture with sharp edges or made of glass is more likely to cause injury; and strategically placed furniture can serve as balancing points when walking through an area.
4. Explore Storage and Space-Saving Solutions
There’s no shortage of ingenious furniture items and storage solutions designed to serve multiple purposes and help make the most of the space in your apartment. Take advantage of wasted space, such as unused nooks and crannies. Add functional pieces — a desk, bar table or bookcase — that won’t clutter the room.
Other multifunctional pieces include side tables that can be used as computer stands and desks, beds that convert to couches, and under-the-bed storage and ottomans that can serve as storage for linens, seating and coffee tables.
5. Embrace Bold Colors and Patterns
When decorating for seniors, colors, textures and prints mixed with neutrals lend well to smaller spaces. Consider bold and contrasting colors for furniture, walls, wallpaper and drapes. As long as there is balance in the room, there’s no reason you can’t be daring with color and patterns.
Worried about going too bold with color? Consider using pops of color instead, such as accent walls, throw pillows, artwork and photo frames. For seniors with limited visibility, neutral and warm hues are ideal. Some colors, such as certain shades of green, yellow and blue, can have healing or soothing effects.
6. Go Vertical
Make the most of vertical space and walls by experimenting with tall vases and affixing shelving and art to your walls. When hanging drapes, be sure to install the rod about 2 inches from the ceiling or crown molding to add the illusion of extra height.
7. Roll Out the Red Carpet
Well, maybe not a red carpet, but certainly a statement rug. Rugs are a great way to trick the eye into seeing more space than there really is and make a luxury senior apartment feel warm and chic. Larger rugs offer a sense of grandeur and make a room feel larger. Choose the biggest rug that best fits the shape of your room and a pattern and color to complement your decor.
8. Go Green With Plants and Flowers
Greenery and flowers breathe life into smaller spaces and fit with any lifestyle. Many luxury senior apartments also have balconies or patios where you can add some ambience and pops of color. Avoid overcrowding by using hanging planters from the ceiling or walls, suctioning them to windows, attaching to walls with magnets, or mounting wall shelving. Don’t have a green thumb? No worries. Many artificial plants look like the real thing (think: succulents) and are a widely embraced choice of decor for senior living. Check out our list of the best indoor plants for senior living.
9. Let There Be Light
Proper lighting can open up a smaller space and make everything sparkle and look more vivid. Adequate lighting is also essential as we age. Skip the blackout shades and instead let natural light shine through the windows. Add additional style and warmth with floor and table lamps, string lights, wall sconces, pendant lighting, and under-cabinet lighting.
10. Hang a Mirror, Mirror On the Wall
Mirrors give the illusion of additional space by reflecting natural and nonnatural lighting. Not only are they versatile, but they’re also an easy way to create a clean and sophisticated look for smaller spaces. Create a gallery wall of mirrors; use one large mirror as a statement piece; or arrange smaller, irregular-shaped mirrors throughout a room.
11. Play it Safe
Safety is key in any luxury senior living apartment. Always keep walkways clear for wheelchairs, walkers or canes. Add motion-sensor lights to ensure pathways are well lit at night. Prevent falls by identifying any tripping hazards such as electrical cords, drapes and unsecured rugs. Organize and secure cords by tucking them behind furniture or using a cable management tool.
Also consider adding grab bars near the shower, tub and toilet, placing non slip strips on the shower floor, adding a seat in the shower for grooming, and installing corner covers to protect against sharp edges.
12. Make Room for Personal Touches – and Fun
Hang your favorite artwork and paintings, and display sculptures and other pieces from world travels in high-traffic areas like the dining room, kitchen and living room. Want to show off your grandkids’ creativity, photos or awards? Consider art frames, ledges and floating wall shelves, hangars, digital frames, and metal displays. Personalized shadow boxes with your favorite mementos make great conversation stimulators when guests visit.
Be sure to have easy access to folding chairs and a flat surface for games and puzzles for those impromptu gatherings with friends. Better yet, move your bridge or chess game outside your apartment and take advantage of Edgemere’s beautiful common spaces.
Following the above tips will make decorating for small spaces a cinch. Communities such as Edgemere luxury senior living in Dallas offer room planners that allow you to drag and drop furniture into different floor plans. Come for a visit to find a floor plan that will perfectly suit your distinct style.