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Retirement living – mastering communal spaces

One of the most important aspects of retirement living is the community – people want that sense of community and connection.


If you own or operate a retirement village, it is imperative that your communal spaces become an extension of your residents’ homes. If your reception area or sales office is located within the building, it is even more important that it is a warm and welcoming space, because this will be the first impression potential residents have of the community.

From a design perspective, breathing new life into your community spaces doesn’t need to be expensive or complicated.


Give it ‘wow’ factor

A carefully curated piece of art, a stunning chandelier, a stone wall or even a vertical indoor garden immediately draw the eye and elevate the look and feel of the whole space. It might cost a little more, but it is a worthwhile investment and one that your residents will appreciate.

The right light

No one feels good in a dark and dreary space. Conversely, no one wants to feel like they are sitting under a harsh spotlight. Harnessing the natural light is always a good place to start. Removing heavy curtains or shutters or adding a sky light can make a dramatic difference to the feel of any room – large or small.


Choose lighting options that suit how the space will be used. If residents will use it at night for games and activities, the space will need to well-lit. This could include a combination of downlights and pendant lights to provide a good amount of light without being too overbearing. If it is a space for dinner and drinks, a softer lighting option like dimmable downlights, wall sconces and lamps will be more appropriate. Consider the circuiting, so that all lighting doesn’t have to be on together.


Turn the design clock forward

Design elements like round pillars covered in laminate, a peach pink wall, or powder-coated blue handrails, immediately date a building, and give away its age.


Boxing in or painting pillars an unobtrusive colour and updating the colour scheme throughout your community spaces are simple and relatively inexpensive ways to modernise a space without the need for major structural adjustments.


If you want to be right on trend, grounding mature hues such as orange, yellow and monochrome are tipped to be the hot colours in 2021. And remember, colour can be joyful and there’s nothing wrong with some pops of bright against a more soothing palette.


Space planning and furniture selection

Making the best use of the space is crucial to creating a sense of warmth and familiarity. If it is a multipurpose space, divide it into zones and define the activities that will take place in those zones. For example, you wouldn’t position a reading nook next to a games lounge.

In choosing furniture, make sure it is both stylish, practical and suits the scale and size of the room. Many designers are creating beautiful furniture, designed specifically for the retirement villages, that is comfortable, practical and affordable.


Ultimately, the best way to work out if you’ve got the right facilities with the right features is to talk to the right people – your residents.

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