It’s About More Than Size: Things to Consider When Looking at Senior Apartment Floor Plans
Depending on your viewpoint, moving to a new senior living apartment can either be an exciting new opportunity to decorate or a chore of figuring out where to put things. If you’re someone who thinks other people just seem to have a knack for decorating, then you’re probably in the chore camp. Luckily, decorating isn’t some innate ability certain people have in their DNA. It’s a skill that can be learned. If you’re contemplating a move, here are some tips on evaluating apartment floor plans and furniture layout ideas that just might make people think you too were born with the decorating gene.
This post will focus on general decorating ideas, and because your living room is typically the first large room people see when entering your home, we’ll also discuss living room furniture layout tips.
Questions to Consider
Before making a move, it’s important to make sure you’re picking a floor plan that will fit your needs. Here are some questions to ask yourself before you decide:
- Is the layout convenient? Is it easy to get to the rooms you’ll use the most?
- Does the floor plan reflect the way you like to entertain? Do you like hosting dinner parties, having friends over to watch a movie, or sitting with your grandchildren while you play games?
- How’s the lighting? Do you have a lot of windows that let in natural light, or will you need to add lamps and other light fixtures?
- How much storage space does the apartment have, and is there additional space available in the building?
- Will you have room to work on your hobbies? If you like to bake, how’s the kitchen? If you collect books or like to read, are there built-in book shelves?
- Can you imagine how you’ll use each room, or is there wasted space?
- In two, five or 10 years, will this be too much space, not enough or just right?
Build around your room’s best feature
Once you select a floor plan, the way you arrange each room’s furniture will dictate how the room is used, where people sit and how they walk through it. Before figuring out what to do with the entire room, start by finding the room’s focal point, or what you want people to notice when they first walk in.
When taking a tour and evaluating apartment floor plans, you should pay attention to the first thing you notice when you walk into an empty room. Ideally, the room design has a built-in point of interest, but some of the most common types are:
- The view: Regardless of what else is in the room, your eyes will naturally look at the view outside the window. If you’re lucky enough to have a picturesque view, then all you need to do is make sure people can see out the windows.
- Fireplaces: People always notice the fireplace, so use that room design feature to your advantage by arranging a seating area around the fireplace. You can also place a bold piece of art or your TV above the mantel.
- Built-in shelving: Typically, your fireplace will have built-in shelves on either side. But if you don’t have a fireplace, you can still create a seating area around the shelving and put interesting items, photos and books on the shelves.
- Angled walls: Sometimes, to accommodate elevator shafts, stairways or other building features, apartment floor plans can feature a wall that has a different angle. You can make this feature a focal point by accenting it with a different color, making it an art wall with some of your favorite pieces, or playing up a feature like a window seat.
How to create your own focal point
If the senior apartments you’re looking at don’t have built-in focal points, you may have to make your own. It will take a little more work, but there are plenty of options to choose from:
- Accent walls: Create an accent wall with bold paint or patterned wallpaper on the wall opposite the room’s entryway.
- Artwork: A statement piece of artwork or mirror can carry a room by itself. Just make sure the piece you choose suits the wall. (Not too big or too small.) Place it at eye level, and you should also consider adding accent lighting to highlight the piece even further.
- Backsplashes: There’s usually a lot going on in kitchens and bathrooms, but you can consider adding a decorative tile backsplash with a bold color pattern either in the shower or behind the stove.
- Furniture: You can sometimes use a large statement piece of furniture as a focal point. This is typically the case in dining rooms and bedrooms, where there is obviously a central piece of furniture in the room. To help draw the eye, add a centerpiece to your table or some throw pillows to your bed.
Mistakes to avoid
While knowing how to decorate a room around a focal point is important, it’s also good to know how to highlight it. Here are some of the most common mistakes people make that can distract from their focal point:
- Multiple focal points: This happens when a room has two separate usage areas — like a kitchen with an eat-in dining area. While it can be tempting to focus on both of them, doing that usually just cancels them both out. The focal point of the room should be based on the room’s primary function. In the case of the eat-in kitchen, make the kitchen the primary focus with the eating area serving as a complement to the kitchen.
- Not framing the area: Even if your room has a built-in focal point, add extra design elements around your chosen point to help draw more attention.
- Leaving out lighting: Every focal point should have its own lighting source to help it stand out.
Tips for Arranging Your Living Room
Now that you know how to create a focal point, here are some tips for dealing with different-shaped living rooms. Whether your living room is rectangular, square or part of an open floor plan, it can have its decorating challenges. Here are some helpful suggestions.
Rectangular Living Rooms
A rectangular-shaped living room can feel narrow and claustrophobic. So you’ll want to avoid making your long living room feel a hallway. But with the right planning, this type of living room can feel welcoming.
- Having a variety of smaller pieces can help make the room feel more spacious and unique.
- Pull the look together by adding a built-in bar, bookcases, shelving or even a workspace that goes with your furniture.
Square Living Rooms
Square living rooms present a unique challenge. If you place all your furniture against the wall, the seating can feel too far away from each other. But if all the furniture is forced into one corner, the room can feel crowded. Instead, place furniture away from the walls.
- Putting a console table behind the sofa can add surface space.
- Placing a cocktail table in the center of the room can help anchor the space.
- Use textural or colorful artwork to visually fill the room.
Open Floor Plans
Open floor plans are popular right now because they allow for easy entertaining and good traffic flow. But if you want some definition for each area, decorating a living room that shares space with an adjoining dining room, family room or kitchen can be challenging. Because an open living room often serves as the house’s hub, be sure to have comfortable spots for everyday activities like watching TV, eating or socializing.
- Pull furniture pieces off the wall and tie them all together with an area rug.
- Add ottomans and extra seating to visually balance out the room.
- Stick with one main paint color so the open spaces don’t fight each other.
Regardless of the size or shape of your living room, one of the most important things to know about arranging furniture is leaving enough space between pieces. If a piece of furniture is too far away, it could look like it’s floating in the room without purpose. Here are some general suggestions:
- Allow 30 inches between pieces so you’re able to walk around.
- Place a coffee table 14 to 18 inches from the sofa so drinks are easy to reach.
- Leave furniture 36 inches from a door so it has room to open.
Hopefully this information has helped you get more excited about decorating. Feel free to explore the available floor plan options at Laurel Circle, or you can use our floor plan calculator to find one that’ll fit your lifestyle and your budget. When you’re ready to see one of our senior apartments in person, give us a call at 908-595-6500.