5 Decorating tips for your suite at a retirement home

Written by Brigitte Poitras, Interior designer

Are you moving to a retirement residence soon? Here are some decoration tips to help make your transition go smoothly:

1. It’s a big change!

Moving is never easy, and it’s normal to feel anxious about moving to a new home. It can feel as if you’re leaving behind the memories of your previous home’s life. Work closely with family members or the staff of your future residence to help you during this significant life transition. This way, you’ll be reassured and get answers to any of your questions or concerns.

2. Find out what you want

Before going shopping, you'll need to plan the layout of your new space, whether it’s a small or large apartment or a studio. You may find this stage a bit more challenging than you expected, as our ability to adapt to change varies as we age.

Start brainstorming about the decor that would help you feel most comfortable and settled in your new living space. Find inspirational images and share your decorative aspirations in a fun, open way with your loved ones. At this stage, the sky’s the limit, so dream on!

3. Plan the layout of your furniture in your new living space

  1. Measure the space

    You can ask the residence for the layout of your new living space, or if this isn’t possible, you can always measure it yourself or ask a friend or a family member to lend you a hand. Take the measurements and draft a floorplan that includes the openings, size and height of the windows, doors and light sources.

  2. Measure the furniture you want to keep

    You’ll need to measure and make an inventory of the furniture you want to keep. By doing so, you’ll see if you can fit them in your new space. Not all the furniture you’ve chosen may fit, so you might have to make some decisions. Don’t rush yourself and take the time you need to make the right choices for you.

  3. Sort out your belongings

    Once you’ve decided what furniture to bring, you’ll be able to determine what items you want to keep and which ones you want to get rid of. Moreover, you can always sell or donate the belongings you don’t want to keep anymore.

    The important thing is to make sure you do this before moving out to avoid having to store your belongings, which could incur additional costs.

4. Plan your decor

It’s important that you feel comfortable in your new home, and the way you choose to decorate your living space will significantly impact your well-being. Even if you need to part with several of your belongings to make room for better suited furniture and accessories, you’ll want to keep the items that mean a lot to you.

Here are six tips for personalizing your home decor:

  1. Create a mood board

    Mood boards are the perfect tool to combine your existing furniture and accessories with your new findings (lighting, accessories, colour palette). This is a great tool to gather inspiration and help you visualize your decorative ideas.

  2. Get bright

    Even with bright rooms and light colours, adequate lighting is essential, especially as your eyesight tends to weaken as you get older. Consider adding a lamp to each room to brighten every corner.

  3. Choose the right window coverings

    Window coverings are not only decorative, but they can be functional as well. First, assess your needs, such as privacy or light control and plan to shop or work with a specialized company to purchase the right products that meet your requirements.

  4. Decorative vignettes

    Perfect for giving your decor a personalized touch, decorative vignettes allow you to display many items together, such as mementos, valuables, paintings and plants, into an esthetically pleasing and well-balanced composition.

    No matter what surface you choose (table, library or wall), vignettes will showcase the items that bring you joy and happiness.

  5. Include home fragrances

    Add fragrance to your home using essential oil diffusers or even bouquets of cut flowers. This will add a perfect touch of freshness and joy to your living space.

Decorating is crucial for your happiness and emotional well-being. Designing your living space to your taste will make all the difference, and the above steps will help you enhance your ease and comfort in the years to come. The important thing is to be gentle, open and kind to yourself about your apprehensions and concerns. If needed, discuss them with your loved ones since this is a significant step in your life.

Enjoy decorating your new space!

About Brigitte Poitras
Interior designer and business manager at ideo.ca, Brigitte is well known to the public thanks to her many television collaborations. She is considered a pioneer of home staging in Quebec.