There comes a point in life where we start thinking about the home we want to live in forever. No more stressful moves, no more major renovations, no more getting to know unfamiliar new towns.
But as the concept of the forever home grows in popularity, it becomes apparent that finding that “ticks-every-box” kind of perfection is no easy feat. Especially when you consider you’re looking for a home that not only meets all your requirements in the here and now, but will continue to serve its purpose for years – even decades – to come.
For this reason, more and more people are looking to design their own forever home when they come close to retirement age. They want to know that the space they live in has been crafted with all their needs in mind, now and into the future. In this article we’ll look at some essential considerations for designing a home you can see yourself living in for the rest of your life.
1. Make it open plan
Try to make your forever home as open plan as possible. An open-plan living space with adaptable furniture makes the space far more practical than one that’s been divvied up already, and it’ll be a lot easier to change up the space as your needs evolve.
If you do need a bit more definition, it’s not hard to muster up room dividers on an ad hoc basis, – whether you go for actual room dividers, open shelves or think outside the box with some creatively placed houseplants, sofas or chairs.
An open plan home also makes it easier to address any accessibility issues you may have in the future, and allows plenty of space to accommodate your family when grandchildren (and even great-grandchildren) start coming into the picture!
2. Operate with quality in mind
It’s so important to think in terms of long-lasting quality when you’re building a home meant to stand the test of time.
From choosing good-quality flooring and high-efficiency kitchen appliances to a sturdy bedframe and other built-to-last furnishings, going for durable when it comes to your big-ticket items can make an immense difference to the future of your home (including keeping maintenance and replacement costs down).
Opting for long-lasting quality also includes thinking about the structural foundations of your home, and finding out if there are any issues you need to account for during building. You’ll need to be aware of any maintenance issues such as potential for damp, mould and cracks, and find a reliable builder to make sure the design and build of your home is completely up to scratch.
3. Avoid awkward corridors and narrow spaces
When designing your forever home, you’ll inevitably have to think about the changes you might experience as you and your family grow older.
You may need to consider potential accessibility issues as you age, including the possibility that you may even need to use a walker or wheelchair to move around. With this in mind, we’d recommend avoiding any awkward corridors, narrow spaces and unnecessary steps in your home to make it easier.
Fortunately, you don’t have to compromise on stunning architectural design to create an accessible home. A modern, one-level home could be the perfect space for you and your partner as you grow older, with walk-in showers, spacious bathrooms and bedrooms, and adapted kitchen shelving that reduces the need for too much bending down or reaching up.
If you love the idea of stairs in your home, we’d recommend making sure there’s a space downstairs you could convert into a possible bedroom and bathroom, just in case the need arises in the future for you or your partner.
4. Let there always be light
Make the most of the fact that you’re designing a home from scratch and choose your window views, and the aspect of your garden, carefully.
There’s nothing better than having light streaming into your room – especially in long winters where light can seem scarce. Incorporating as many opportunities for natural light to enter your home as possible can be a godsend when you’re cosying up on your riser recliner on a lazy afternoon or tending to your garden for the day.
A west-facing garden or conservatory allows you glorious sun on summer afternoons while windows situated on the south means there’ll be less chance of cold winds battering their way into your home.
5. Create plenty of space for guests
When designing your forever home, make sure to create plenty of space to accommodate hosting Christmases, Easters, birthdays and family-dinner nights. This could include adding in a couple of guest bedrooms (or least a space to hold sleeping bags and linens), as well as finding space to store extra chairs, dinnerware and bathroom supplies.
If you intend to host guests for more than a day – or even for longer than a long weekend – you might also want to design the space to suit their needs. If your family has teenagers, for example, you may need to create areas they’d find comfortable and can make their own, and if your children have young children of their own, having space for a cot or baby bed and a place where they can play safely could also come in handy.
However you decide to add in extra space for guests, think about how you entertain at present, and how your family and entertaining style might change over time.
6. Don’t forget forever furnishings
As we’ve covered already, going for quality can make a world of difference when to comes to decorating and furnishing your forever home. So looking at quality, furnishings that are comfy, stylish and practical can mean you’ve created a beautifully finished home you’ll enjoy for years to come.
For the bigger items in your home that you’d like to last for years, going for classic rather than up with the latest trends will help keep your home feeling current as seasons – and tastes – change. For example, if you opt for a set of riser recliner chairs in your living room – great for relaxed afternoons in front of the TV and they can be adjusted comfortably via remote control – going for a neutral colour such as those offered by the Parker Knoll Hudson Fabric Lift and Rise Armchair collection can be a better bet than going for the latest shades in vogue.
When it comes to forever furnishings, you might also want to think about eventually having to adapt your fixtures and fittings to suit your circumstances as you age. Opting for age-friendly door handles and light switches, adding shower bars into your bathrooms, and making sure your staircase can accommodate a stair lift early on could help streamline the process when you need to start making changes.
From thinking ahead with adaptable spaces and quality furnishings to being prepared with little touches that will be invaluable in the future, crafting a forever home is an exciting, incredibily rewarding process. Hopefully our tips have given you a handy starting point from which to start that journey into your future, future-proofed home.