Decorating tips for your retirement unit

When you first move into a retirement village, it can take some time before your new dwelling really feels like home.

Whether you’re living in a spacious independent living unit or a smaller studio apartment, there are plenty of ways to incorporate your personal style and add small touches that will allow for ease and comfort in the years to come.

1) Choose your style – old or new?

One of your most important decisions is whether to stay with your existing style or start fresh with a brand new look. Many of our residents find that bringing pieces of furniture from the family home helps to make the new space feel familiar and homey, while others may feel that their existing furniture doesn’t suit the smaller area or their desired style.

You won’t have room to bring all of your furniture with you and buying everything brand new can be a costly process, so a good compromise is to select a few much-loved, good quality pieces that work in the space and purchase some extra items or décor to freshen things up.

2) Maximise space

While your home may initially feel smaller than what you’re used to, minimising clutter and utilising thoughtful storage options will help you to get the most out of the space you have.

You should also try to ensure that the furniture you bring or buy is sized in proportion to its importance and that it’s situated accordingly. If you spend a lot of time watching television or reading, make the couch a plush, inviting feature with adequate lighting and an easy-to-reach coffee table, but if you have a passion for entertaining, it may be worth devoting more room to a dining table that can comfortably seat all your loved ones.

While you may have to compromise in certain areas depending on the size of your unit and your budget, your new home should suit your needs and make it easier for you to live the way you want to live.

3) Embrace the new

Try introducing bright colours and bold textures to add personality and warmth to a neutral colour scheme or to update a classic, vintage style. Throw cushions, lamps, picture frames, vases and rugs are easy and affordable ways to carry these elements from the living room to the bedroom to the bathroom, and with so many options on the market, there’s sure to be something to suit your taste.

If you’re not sure where to start, try a splash of your favourite colour or seek some inspiration from the outside world. For example, incorporating aqua or pale blue, light coloured wood and natural textures like jute or straw will embody a relaxed, coastal feel that’s perfect for those who have made a retirement sea change.

4) Change it up

Alterations such as painting walls, installing shelves or customising fittings and fixtures can go a long way towards making your home look and feel the way you want it to.

Most retirement villages will allow you to modify your new home as long as it’s reinstated to its original condition when you vacate, so be sure to discuss your plans with village management beforehand to check that it’s permitted in your contract and that you fully understand your responsibilities and obligations.

5) Plan for the future

As with any new home, think carefully about how long you plan on living there and how your needs might change over the years. As we age, some daily tasks can become more difficult to accomplish and there are now a wide range of innovative senior-friendly features designed to nip these issues in the bud.

Most retirement villages now incorporate features such as unobtrusive grab rails and non-slip flooring in the bathroom, high powerpoints to prevent bending and, for those with arthritis or gripping issues, large light switches, mixer taps and lever door handles.

If your unit or apartment did not come equipped with any of these features but you think that they might be helpful for you in the years to come, consider organising them yourself before they’re actually necessary. This way, you’ll be prepared for the future and you’ll feel at ease in the knowledge that your home is safe and comfortable.

With these tips and a healthy dose of your own taste and style, you should feel settled in your new home in no time!

If you’re not yet ready to make the move, our downsizing expert has some tips to make decluttering simple and stress-free.

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