Using Interior Design to Help Those Aging at Home: Designing for Baby Boomers
The generation known as the Baby Boomers- those born in the years immediately after World War II, from 1946 to 1964- represents over 25% of the US population. The percentage of older Americans, or seniors, has increased significantly, and the advent of specialized medicine, care and a healthier lifestyle are all contributing to their extended life expectancy.
Baby Boomers have long shaped the consumer landscape. As this dynamic generation heads into retirement, their demands for both style and function continue to be a positive influence on the interior design world. In planning what is likely to be their last homes, Baby Boomer retirees are looking for affordable furnishings and design plans that meet their changing needs.
There are many qualities that Baby Boomers look for in their interior design plans and modifications. The following five top the list in designing for Baby Boomers:
1. Low Maintenance
Ease of care tops the list when older adults are decorating and remodeling their homes. While Baby Boomers still want to display the objects that have personal meaning, they do not want unnecessary clutter getting in the way. In a low maintenance home, less is definitely more. Low maintenance easy to clean surfaces, central vacuum, a built-in pet feeding system, a built-in recycling system, an intercom system and low maintenance house-plants requiring less watering are just a few of the ways that Baby Boomers can reduce their home’s maintenance needs.
2. Better Lighting
As we age, eyesight weakens, adequate interior and exterior path lighting becomes essential. In addition to general room lighting, this means adding plenty of task lighting throughout the home. This provides certain areas with more intense levels of illumination for food preparation and reading. Proper lighting makes a big difference in a comfortable living environment.
3. Comfort and Function
The 55 and older crowd know better than to sacrifice comfort for the sake of fashion. They want furniture like sofas and chairs to have structured cushions that make it much easier to stand up from a seated position, much like this Klaussner sofa, which is firm and structured yet aesthetically pleasing. With this in mind, designers are producing new furnishings that meet the criteria of both comfort and function.
4. Smaller Furnishings
Many Baby Boomers are planning to downsize or have already moved into smaller homes. Overstuffed chairs and bulky furniture can feel cramped in smaller homes. When downsizing your home downsize your furniture too. Smaller furniture need-not be delicate and dainty, or uncomfortable. Modern Danish furniture, like the above from OSI Modern, combines both sturdy and sleek elements to create space-saving looks that appeal to a wide variety of home owners.
5. Multipurpose Living Areas
As Baby Boomers downsize their homes, they still want the flexibility of accommodating visiting family or friends. A den or office can double as a guest bedroom by adding a sleeper sofa or Murphy bed.
With their refined tastes and confidence born from varied life experiences, Baby Boomers are a generation who continue to positively influence our society’s interior design trends.
Remodeling or modifying your home in order to live safely, independently, and comfortably can be quite a daunting task for anyone. Let us know what your biggest obstacles are in modifying your own home or helping a loved one modify theirs, we’d love to help!
For more inspiration follow our Aging in Place Pinterest board.