Moving to a senior living community is the start of a new chapter in life. It can be both exciting and a little unnerving. The months leading up to the move can be stressful. For an older adult who has a home to downsize, it is often a juggling act. Deciding which household belongings to keep, what to donate, and which treasured family items to pass along to relatives may be tough.

One way to ease the transition is to begin with the end in mind. Plan how you’d like your new home to look, and you’ll likely find the rest of the downsizing process becomes easier. Here are a few tips for decorating a senior living suite.

5 Tips to Make Your New Space Feel Like Home

  • Make it feel familiar.

While it might be tempting to purge old belongings and buy new, think through those decisions carefully. When you are moving into a new place, it’s common to experience a little bit of homesickness. Having some familiar items may help you feel at home. Bedding, a cozy throw, a favorite mug, and family photos don’t take up much space. If you’d still like to replace them, you can always do that after you’re all settled in.

  • Be cautious of fall risks.

When you are moving to a smaller space, as is common during a transition to a senior living community, be mindful of furniture placement. You’ll want to keep walkways clear, especially between frequently used rooms. That might mean limiting how much furniture and other bulky belongings you bring. To decrease the need for extension cords, consider where electrical outlets are in your room placement plans. Ask the community for a copy of the floor plan for your new home so you can measure and sketch where everything will go before moving day. If the floor plan doesn’t have dimensions or electrical outlets listed, ask for those to be added.

  • Plan for good lighting.

A new environment takes some getting used to, especially for older adults who have vision loss. While overhead lighting might be good, having extra lamps in key places will help. When you are creating your decorating plan, make sure to account for locations where extra lighting might be needed. For example, a floor lamp in the living room and a bedside table lamp will be useful. Also consider motion-activated night lights for the bedroom, hallway, and bathroom.

  • Install closet organizers.

When you have a designated place for belongings in bedroom closets or a storage closet, it makes it easier to keep the apartment tidy. That’s where closet organizing systems can be helpful. It doesn’t have to be expensive either. Home improvement stores have a variety of closet solutions. If you purchase one, the maintenance team at the community will likely install it for you. If you’d prefer a little more help, you can search for local experts using the Association of Closet and Storage Professionals database.

  • Make it personal.

One final tip is to let the new home reflect your personality. Just because the walls are painted a neutral color doesn’t mean they have to remain that way. If you love color, most communities are fine if you hire a professional or pay their staff to paint your apartment. Hang your own art and family photos on the walls. It also helps to add plants to the space. Whether it’s small potted plants or larger ones, greenery has mental and physical health benefits.

Learn More about Financing Senior Living in This Free Guide

If a senior living community sounds like a good fit for you or an elder in your family, you might appreciate a resource we created. You can download our complimentary Funding Guide <ADD LINK> to learn more about budgeting and financing a move to a senior living community.