Rise Up to Greet You: Elevating the Spaces We Live In As We Age
According to interior designer Nate Berkus, “Your home should rise up to greet you. And at the end of the day, it should ground you in a sense of peace.” Our homes are a place of safety, comfort, and expression for our lives. Not unlike the outdoors, our indoor spaces should go through seasons and change with us. What kept us comfortable, safe and told our story in the past, may not accomplish those things for us now. When we think of aging well in our homes our minds tend to think of installing grab bars and shower chairs. While those tools can be important supports, it is crucial that we don’t stop there. We must look at the spaces we live in as an ever-changing representation of who we are and what we need to be well. Here are 5 tips for helping your home rise up to greet you as you age in place:
1. Seasons of Our Story: When entering a new phase of life, it is important to have objects, images/content, etc. around you that remind you of the journey you have been on, but also represent who you are now. “Objects tell a story” says Berkus, “They tell the story of where you have been, who you have loved and what you value.” Ask yourself if your new aspirations, goals, and passions are represented in your home?
2. A Legacy of Less: According to designer Xorin Balbes, “Everything you surround yourself with either lifts you up or brings you down.” It is easy to hang on to things that someone gave us or keep things simply because we have had them a long time. Don’t be afraid to purge items so that you can honor objects that you really love and tell your story now. Seasonally take time to assess what you have in your home and edit out a few things along the way. This can help you leave a legacy of less for yourself and your family.
3. Layout of Furniture: When it comes to the layout of our houses, we tend to get in a rut. The couch usually goes in the same place, because it has been there for 20 years. A part of aging well in our homes may be to change things around to better accommodate our needs. Expanding walk areas and visually creating open and clutter free spaces can support us as we age well, increase our safety, and usher in a sense of newness into an old space.
4. Repurposing Space in the Home: Giving new life to a space may mean changing its purpose. Perhaps there is a room in the home that doesn’t get much use like a formal dining room or a guest bedroom. Consider turning that space into a sanctuary or a place to play. Setting up a hobby room like an art studio, game room, or craft space may better suite your lifestyle now and support your creativity and new interests.
5. Elevate the Space: Balbes has excellent advice when it comes to giving the spaces we live in that extra special touch. Make the effort to elevate a space by adding fresh flowers, turning on music, spreading around colorful pillows, spritzing the air with an appealing scent or lighting candles. It is amazing how little it takes to change the tone of a room and make it feel special.
Published on August 23, 2013.