What do Baby-Boomers really want as they downsize?


To start, who is the baby boomer? Individuals born between 1946 – 1964 are considered a baby-boomer and currently 78 million people fit into this category. There is a large demographic shift occurring in America that is impacting how we assist them in designing their homes. 10,000 baby boomers are retiring each day and many of them are leaving their large home behind to downsize into a smaller more efficient home that better suits their new lifestyle.

This major demographic shift is driving the way we design – much of this population is looking to downsize but is not willing to compromise on the lifestyle they had in their big homes.

As designers, we help our clients understand that they can have it all and that downsizing does not mean compromising. In fact, for a population that is used to getting what they want and are willing and able to pay for quality design, many successful downsizers wish they had chosen their new lifestyle sooner.

What do baby-boomers want?

– One floor living

– Open kitchen plan for entertaining family and friends

– Amenity filled kitchens

– Luxury master bedroom/ bathroom suites

– Flex space/ multipurpose room (home office, guest room, library)

– Storage everywhere

– A simple, easier lifestyle

– Good design/ quality products

– Plenty of natural light

– Extend outdoor living space

– Integration of Universal Design principles

– Clutter free environments

– The “undecorated” look

– Neutral color palette with small accent colors

– Built-in storage

As we work with clients who are downsizing it is important for us to help them understand that while it may seem overwhelming at first, it is just a process, which can and should be exciting because their new simpler lifestyle will provide more time to live the life they love.

Typical questions asked by downsizers

– Where do I begin?

– How do I know what to take to my new smaller space?

– Who do I go to for help in making sure that I don’t take too much or that I take the wrong things?

– Where do I get rid of my stuff?

– Where do I donate what I don’t want?

– How do I know that my new smaller space is the right size for my lifestyle?

Some simple steps to get you started:

– Categorize all your furniture into an A, B, and C list

  1. It goes with you
  2. You would like to take
  3. Get rid of/ Dispose of

– Measure and photo your existing items

– Create a space plan of your new space and lay-in all of your A items then B items if they fit.

As you contemplate downsizing just know that you are not alone that there are 77,999,999 other baby boomers might just be considering it too!