Sometimes you get a second chance in life: A second career, a second home, a second marriage. Why not a second chance at your bedroom?
“Retirement is a time of transition, and an opportunity to release things that served you (or not) in your life, but are no longer important for the things you’ll be focusing on and spending time doing now,” says Jennifer Zwiebel, founder of A Place of Joy, which helps entrepreneurs realize their dreams. “You’re embarking on a whole new phase of life, one that puts you at the center – think about how you’d most love to feel every morning when you wake up, what you’d like to see when you open your eyes, what you’d like to spend your days doing and what supports the life you’re creating.”
Now that you’re entering a new phase of life, it’s time to revamp your most cozy sanctuary. We’ve gathered some tips from design experts who specialize in retirement.
Assess the Situation
What has changed since you last designed the bedroom? Did you get a new partner? Have no partner? Do you work from home? Wake up in the middle of the night more? Earlier in the morning? All of these considerations will influence the type of bedroom you now need.
“Redecorate your room as the one you always wished you had,” says Karen Gray-Plaisted, a home staging expert at Design Solutions KGP, who advises many boomers. “Concentrate on the focal point of the room being the bed. Why not pull out all the stops and get the most luxurious bed, bedding, fluffiest pillows and softest blankets you can find? The bedroom is a place to retreat to and relax in, so make it a room you love.”
Clean Up, Kondo Or Otherwise
Do your drapes spark joy? If you’re following Japanese expert Marie Kondo, you’d get rid of anything you don’t absolutely love.
“It’s important to make room in our lives for new possibilities and opportunities,” says organizational psychologist and retirement expert Patrice Jenkins. The bedroom should be “a space that is light and airy, free from clutter and anything that weighs you down. I prefer to take away, minimize, and gradually add back only the things that you really love. The same applies to creating a new life in retirement,” says Jenkins, author of “What Will I Do All Day? Wisdom to Get You Over Retirement and On With Living!”
Accept Life’s Changes
We tend to sleep less as we get older so reconsider what other activities you want to do in your bedroom. Do you want to add a desk? A TV?
“I like to design a chaise or a chair with an ottoman or a grouping of reclining or soft furniture,” says designer Leslie Markman-Stern, who designs many retirees’ homes. “They like to have a place to recline in the bedroom that is not their bed so that they can listen to music, watch movies or TV, or enjoy the view.” She says to consider a corner for laptops – with proper charging stations. Also, consider a fridge or a bar “so you don’t have to get up and go to the kitchen when you want something to drink or a light snack.”
Don’t Forget the Bedroom’s for Sleep
Perhaps when you were young you could sleep through anything, but now you may be more sensitive to disturbances. “Make sure there are window treatments that screen the light from outside in an attractive function, but also let in the natural light when it is required,” advises Markman-Stern, “As we grow older, we may need more light to see,” so change your reading lamps and overhead lights, too. Don’t forget about screening out acoustic noise, either, she says. “Some of my clients may move from a private home to a condo, and having acoustical batting in walls can keep the noise out of the bedroom from other adjacencies.”
Daniellah Salario, franchise owner of Assisting Hands, which provides professional in-home health care, suggests moving your bedroom to the first floor and installing things like grab bars, widened doorways, ramps and lowered sinks. “Although these might not be the sexiest improvements now, if you are able to create your environment while you are still young, you will maintain control over your future and can age in place gracefully and comfortably.”
As you get your retirement bedroom in place, listen to your body, too. Read these tips if back pain is sabotaging your sleep. Sleep well!