A move to an independent living community comes with a variety of benefits, including convenient services and amenities, delicious dining and ample opportunities for making new friends and socializing. But leaving familiar surroundings — and downsizing possessions — can also cause conflicting emotions.

If you or a relative are relocating to an independent living community, you’ll want to make your new apartment as welcoming as possible. What are some steps you can take to ensure that your new environment feels like home?

Choose Complementary Colors and Textures

You may not have previously spent time coordinating colors and textures for your residence, but doing so can make a big difference in how you feel about your abode. The specifics of your choices will depend on your personal preferences.

If you’ve begun to experience any changes in your vision, you may want to go for contrast in colors between walls, draperies, floors and furniture. In addition, warm and neutral color palettes — or “healing colors” like greens — may enhance visibility in your new place. To make your home cozy and comfortable, consider adding some highly tactile items, such as soft blankets and throws.

Highlight Important Mementos

A different floor plan and space constraints may mean your new apartment cannot precisely replicate your previous residence. However, by strategically placing meaningful personal items, you can capture that homelike familiarity.

Be sure to decorate your new home with plenty of photos that have meaning for you. Whether you place them on the walls, on shelves or on furniture such as dressers and end tables, photos can help you continue to connect with the people and events that are important to you.

Consider creating groupings of favorite photos, with different sizes and colors of frames to add interest. You also can mix in memorabilia like trophies, crafts and items that have been handed down in your family — or designate special spots for these items around your home.

Prioritize Mobility, Accessibility and Safety

To ensure your continued well-being, consider arranging your furnishings in a way that maximizes safety. If you use throw rugs, make sure they are securely anchored with a non-slip backing or mat to eliminate tripping hazards. If you use an assistive device for mobility or you have arthritis, consider keeping walkways wide throughout your home to allow plenty of space for safe passage.

In addition, arrange frequently used items in a way that makes sense for your needs and lifestyle. Keep phones beside your bed or near your usual sitting area and install handrails in your bathroom or elsewhere if you feel that you may need them. Make sure every area of your home has the right level of lighting for your safety and that of your guests.

Go for Maximum Comfort

What does “comfortable” mean for you? Some people love soft furniture they can sink into, while others prefer firm sofas and mattresses for back health and ease of rising. Think about how you define comfort and choose furnishings and decor that support your preferences.

If you have any mobility challenges, arthritis or trouble with your back, you may want to select furniture that sits higher. In addition, choose couches and chairs with sturdy, tall arms you can use for support when getting up. A reclining chair — or one or more recliners built into a sofa — provides you with a comfortable spot for reading or TV viewing that you can customize to your needs.

Spice up Your Walls

We’ve already talked about making your new apartment feel like home by using some strategically chosen colors throughout — including on your walls. A serene color like sage green or warm beige, for example, can create a cozy ambiance as it lifts your spirits. If you have vision challenges, you may want to choose a wall color that clearly contrasts with the color of your floor for easy differentiation and safety.

Another easy way to add interest to your walls is with decorative items, including framed art, photographs and wall hangings. Tapestries, quilts and other wall-ready textiles featuring inspirational messages or beautiful images can add a touch of home to your new place.

Use Small Spaces Effectively

If you’re moving into a smaller space than you’re used to, you may need to spend time downsizing possessions. You also may want to choose smaller furniture and decorative items that can serve the purposes you need while taking up less of your valuable floor space. Lamps placed throughout your home can cast a warm glow that also lends an air of comfort and a feeling of additional space.

Rather than a large sofa, consider a love seat and a chair. You may find that you can seat the same number of people by using smaller items — or by purchasing multi-purpose pieces, such as dining chairs that can double as living room seating. If your storage space is at a premium, consider pieces that provide you with some additional storage options, including end tables with drawers or doors, a coffee table with a lid you can easily lift or an ottoman with available space inside.

Make Room for Socializing and Relaxing

In an independent living community, you may find that you spend more of your time out and about. Whether you’re enjoying a delicious meal with friends, taking a day trip, seeing a performance or working out, your daily calendar may remain full. When you do retreat to your personal apartment, you’ll want to ensure its suitability for two important purposes: relaxing and socializing with close friends and family members.

Make sure you have enough seating to welcome in friends on occasion and consider some interesting art pieces to spark conversation. If you and your friends enjoy card games or puzzles, consider devoting a small table to your hobby or purchase a folding card table that can be brought out for hosting extra guests.

When you’re ready to relax, you’ll want at least one comfortable chair with good light for reading. If you’re a TV or movie buff, consider a well-placed entertainment system with a screen that’s big enough to see throughout the room; you can choose a beautiful armoire for storage if you’d prefer that the electronics remain hidden when not in use.

Decorate for Holidays — With Care

If you celebrate holidays throughout the year, you may want to purchase some reusable decorations to help you make your new apartment feel more like home. Consider choosing items that can be stored within the space you have available and that are fire-resistant.

If you plan to use candles as part of your holiday display, use caution. You may choose among many varieties of electric candles that look like the real thing — without the risk of causing a fire. A real holiday tree, if left to dry out for too long, also can pose a fire hazard; instead, consider choosing one of the many realistic-looking artificial versions. Be sure to thoroughly inspect all electrical portions of your holiday display, including strands of lights and extension cords.

Choose the Ideal Active-Living Community for You

When you choose Preston Place, you choose an independent living community in Plano, TX, with a variety of amenities, services, programs and opportunities for engagement that help you feel right at home. You’ll love our delicious, chef-prepared cuisine, along with our commitment to wellness. To learn more or to schedule a visit, please contact us.

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