The dream of a forever home is for it to be used for decades of happy memories. Think about it — holiday dinners featuring smiling children and grandchildren passing the rolls and butter, playsets and pools in the backyard utilized during the warmer months, and glasses of sweet tea shared on the back porch at sunset.
Now, you’ve reached your golden years, but because you decide to downsize doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your personalized decor and interior design. You just need to think differently, says designer Kristen Pawlak.
Kristen knows first-hand about transitioning from a larger home to a smaller space, as she recently closed on a senior apartment for her mother. Kristen’s mom initially sold her larger home to move into a patio home, and now, her mother has downsized again. “It’s been my life for the last year or two … (I know it) on a personal level,” Kristen says.
Kristen, who owns KP Designs, specializes in interior design for retirement communities, so she knows how to condense items from a lifetime of memories to a brand new, low-maintenance lifestyle. The first step, according to Kristen, is choosing spaces that have open floor plans and tall ceilings. “A lot of senior apartments are going to the more open look,” she says.
Kristen also suggests using monochromatic palettes — sticking with one color group — to create a more open feel. Light neutrals make places feel more open and less defined, she says. To make rooms feel more personalized, residents can vary textures and shades of accessories.
When it comes to art, Kristen says to add things that make the space feel more “homey.” Many things won’t fit and will have to go, but “art can be meaningful and sentimental and fill the space up a little more,” she says. “It can help finish the space.” And, of course, residents can add photos and personal items, too, to feel at home.
BY TAYLOR RILEY
Photos submitted by Decorating Den Interiors