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Lifestyle & Travel

4 Design Tips to Make Your Home Feel Fresh and New as You Age

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Alexis Denton believes that good design can improve lives, at any age.

Denton, who has master's degrees in both architecture and gerontology, is a senior living strategist with the integrated design firm, SmithGroup. In her day-to-day role, she works to beautify senior living environments. “My goal is to help create environments that people at any age would say ‘hey, that’s a cool place. I could live there,’” says Denton. She’s found that small changes in the living environment – like fresh paint and improved lighting – can make a huge difference in a person’s mood and outlook. She says that those design tweaks can make just as much difference in individual homes as they do larger senior communities. Denton shared four tips to help spruce up your home without breaking the bank.  

  1. Brighten it up. If you find you’ve been struggling to see things around your house, you’re not alone, says Denton. “As people age, regardless of their health status, your eyesight changes, so it’s more difficult to see,” she explains. “Your eyesight tends to get darker, so it’s more important to have a brighter environment.” Improving your lighting can make a huge difference. She says to make sure that the light comes from a variety of sources – like overhead lights and lamps – and is fairly evenly distributed, with no dark or light spots.
  2. Freshen the paint. Many people will stop upgrading a home after they’ve lived there for a while. Often, that means that the paint starts to dull, and even change color as it ages, taking on a yellow hue. A fresh layer can enliven your home, and that, in turn, can help improve your mood, says Denton. “Just brightening up those walls can make a huge impact on how you feel about a space.”
  3. Get organized. Decluttering is a simple way to give a home a makeover, and is especially important as you get older, says Denton. “Being able to focus as you age can be a challenge, and having an environment that is way too stimulating can exacerbate the challenges with focus, mood, and behavior,” says Denton. At the same time, she advises, try not to get rid of too much stuff. You don’t want to live in a place that’s stark and boring. “It’s all about finding the right mix of interests and stimulation without being too much,” says Denton.
  4. Let the sunshine in. The proper window treatments can be a game changer when it comes to a person’s outlook – literally. The ideal is to let natural light in and be able to peer outside while protecting aging eyes, which might be sensitive to brightness and glare. While many people opt for all-or-nothing coverings – either black-out drapes or something entirely open – Denton suggests finding versatile middle ground. “You want some sheer, so it takes that negative effect of glare but it still allows you to get some natural light, see outside, and feel like you’re part of the world around you. That’s a big deal,” she says.

A small makeover can go a long way when it comes to your home, says Denton. A bright, tidy space with some thoughtful design elements might just make you feel better, in general. “These are things that are applicable to people of all ages,” she says. “It’s just that it becomes that much more important as you age.”  

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