9 Questions to Consider When Looking at Senior Apartments and Homes

The time has come to downsize your home and make a move to an independent living community where you can enjoy genuine friendships, opportunities for personal fulfillment and a purpose-filled retirement.

When touring senior apartments and considering apartment floor plans, you’ll want to choose one that best complements your lifestyle and personality. You may be transitioning to a smaller space from a large home you’ve lived in for decades. Fortunately, having fewer belongings means you’ll have more time to spend doing the things you love and exploring new possibilities.

Ready to start exploring senior apartments? Ask these questions.

When looking at senior living apartments and long before you start thinking about furniture layout and room design, first consider the look and feel of the whole floor plan and how you can best create an inviting atmosphere. Some questions to consider when looking at floor plans or touring senior apartments:

  1. What’s the traffic pattern of the apartment? Do guests have to go through your bedroom to get to a balcony or patio? Are there certain places you shouldn’t place furniture because it will interrupt the room’s natural flow? Tip: Allow 12-15 inches of clear space in front of windows and 36 inches of clearance in front of door openings.
  2. What’s the natural design focus of the living room? Is it a fireplace, large piece of art, accent wall, gallery wall or TV? Design major furniture items around that.
  3. Does the room reflect your hosting personality? Can you have face-to-face conversations? Is there enough room for you to invite neighbors over to watch a movie or play board games, puzzles or cards?
  4. Are the windows located in convenient areas? Do you get natural light?
  5. If you need a wheelchair or an assistive device such as a walker or cane, will the space be easy to navigate or will there be tight spots?
  6. Are there plenty of closets and enough room for storage?
  7. Does the floor plan accommodate your hobbies? Is there space to set up an easel for creating art? Is the kitchen big enough for cooking and baking?
  8. Do you have enough space for your book collection or favorite pieces from your travels?
  9. Does each room have a purpose, or is there an area of space you’re not sure what to do with?
  10. Will the space work for you in two years? Five years? How will possible life changes affect how you feel about the layout?

Getting started with room design: living room layout options

Open, long and square living rooms each present unique design challenges— what works in one space might not make sense for another. All these layouts, however, have design options to allow you to make the most of each of them. The right layout will allow you to entertain guests and relax with family comfortably.

Tip: To have a balanced room — whether it’s open, square or long — keep the visual weight of the furniture on one side of the room about the same as the opposite side of the room. Once all your furniture is in position, you can really demonstrate your personal style by decorating the walls.

Open living rooms

Open living rooms are ideal for entertaining and traffic flow, and often serve as a focal point in the home. Efficient layouts offer comfortable and cozy spots for everyday activities like reading, watching TV, eating or socializing. An open flow also means family and friends can do separate activities while still being together.

Instead of having two couches border a fireplace, add different seating areas to make the space feel more intimate. Try pulling furniture pieces off the wall and tying them together with an area rug and ottomans. The additional seating will help visually balance the room.

If the open living room shares space with an adjoining kitchen or family room, be sure to have some type of definition for each area. Choosing one main paint color will keep the open space from looking cluttered.

Square living rooms

In your search for senior apartments, you may choose one with a square living room. In this type of space, you’ll want to avoid pushing all your furniture against the wall. When seating is far apart, the space can feel cold and unwelcoming. On the other hand, if you put all the furniture in one corner, it will look awkward and crowded. Instead, float the furniture away from the walls.

To gain more surface space, tuck a console table behind a couch and consider a variety of seating such as a sofa and four different chairs. A cocktail table can help center the space. For square living room furniture layout, textural or colorful artwork also can help visually fill the room.

Long living rooms

Rectangular-shaped or long living rooms can feel warm and welcoming with the right planning and thoughtful consideration of how you’ll be using the room. Rather than just fill the space by adding things to the room, select pieces that help create function and are fun to use. Think: Rolling bar cart, bookcase, or adding shelves similar in style to your other furniture.

Before planning your layout, be sure to note the location of doors, air conditioning or heating vents, outlets, and windows, as their location can limit furniture placement. Use slender furniture to emphasize the room’s long lines, such as a couch with tight upholstery and a tailored feel. A variety of smaller pieces over a single sofa and coffee table may help the space feel more spacious.

Find your perfect fit at Presbyterian Village North

Now that you know some ways to maximize the possibilities of smaller living spaces, we’ve got a convenient way to find a senior apartment that’ll fit both your budget and your retirement lifestyle. Just plug in some basic information about your household size, income and net worth. Our Floor Plan Fit calculator will match you with our best senior living apartment options and send helpful links of your floor plan choices.

It’s a quick, easy and confidential way to check out our apartment and villa home floor plans to see which one is the best match for you.