By Rita Wilkins
The Downsizing Designer

Baby boomers have always been known for doing it their way, so it’s not surprising that they are reinventing the way they want to live in their retirement years.

As an interior designer for over 35 years and with baby boomers being my primary client base, I have assisted them with designing their large homes, beach homes, city condos, and now smaller homes as they move from one stage of their life to the next.

At each phase there were different needs and demands:

  • The Starter Home
  • The Young Family Home
  • The Dream Home
  • The Vacation Home

This has been their journey and I’ve been privileged to share it with them as their designer, their friend, and as a fellow baby boomer myself.

One of the more recent movements occurring in the baby boomer population is downsizing and right-sizing to a home that is more manageable and one that they can enjoy for now and will suitable for them as they age.

Read more about The Benefits of Living in a Smaller Home.

So as their lives change, so do their priorities and their demands… and true to form, while baby boomers might be downsizing in square footage they are upsizing their lifestyle!


What Do Baby Boomers Expect in Their New Smaller Homes?


1.   Comfort and safety

Universal design homes built for all but particularly for the aging population.

Good lighting, wider doorways, and fewer floor transitions.


2.   Community as well as privacy

Both of these are important to baby boomers.

  • A great community of like-minded friends to socialize with and help prevent isolation as they age.
  • A network of friends, both old and new combined with their desire for privacy is

one way they want to have it all.

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3.   Convenience and proximity

Access to good transportation, urban culture, restaurants, shopping, and medical care. Walkability, mobility, and flexibility. Activities like walking, biking, hiking, golf, tennis, and swimming.

Less responsibility for mowing the lawn or shoveling the snow.


4.   Amenities and choices

  • Outdoor living spaces for entertaining, work, and relaxation.
  • Voice-activated lighting, music, heating and cooling, and security
  • Biophilic design that brings the outside in.

(If you want to know more about Biophilic design I have given  more details about it in my recent blog post, Top 10 Bathrooms Design Trends to Avoid)


5.   Personalization, customization, and great customer service

A strong desire to do it their way, put their own personal stamp on it.

  • His and her spaces including bathrooms, closets, bedrooms, and offices.
  • Upscale finishes throughout.


Baby boomers are demanding what they want in their new smaller spaces, a design that is meant to fit their lifestyle and suit their specific needs at this stage of their life.

After all, baby boomers have been doing it their way all of these years… why stop now?

Want to know more about lifestyle design trends? Visit my website at

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