aging in place living room

How Interior Design Can Help With Late-Life Changes

Families and life circumstances evolve, and people are looking for assistance and expertise to help them make educated interior design decisions to suit their changing needs. They want direction with regard to their current home – whether to stay – and if so, what, how and to what degree to renovate the status quo. 

Empty nesters: renovate or move?

If your children have recently left the home, you may be grappling with the decisions that surround staying or leaving. It is now your turn to flee the coop or turn the home around to make it your own once again. What improvements might give you the best “bang for your buck” and the most enjoyment should you choose to remain in your home for as long as your health allows? These are important decisions and as an interior design professional, I am happy to assist you in this process.

aging in place bathroomAging in place: incorporating universal design

As an interior designer, I am often invited to consult and assess a home for couples hoping to age in place. They ask me to look at the possibilities of having their home modified to accommodate universal design allowing the homeowners to “age in place” and live at home for as long as possible. Some examples of universal design include wider doorways and no-step entries. Other features may include a first floor master bedroom for comfort and future necessities, a kitchen renovation for entertaining and other accommodations for accessibility so you can enjoy your home with comfort and control as you age.

Late-life marriages: bringing two families and homes together

An interesting phenomenon that continues to arise involves couples who at a later age are either newly married or wish to consolidate their homes. It is always a great surprise to me to see the happy faces and hear thoughtful but confused considerations about how to consolidate homes and families. Sometimes people even know which home they prefer to live in with regard to kids’ proximity and neighborhood, but are overwhelmed with logistics and personal preferences. It may also be disturbing to see a home that one has lived in and raised one’s family in be renovated, although in some cases, a new home bought together as a new family may be the best solution. Then there is the challenge of wanting to please your newly beloved, your kids, their kids, yourselves and even the pets on both sides!

Take a step back and partner with your interior designer

Interior designers can help changing families achieve their goals. We may be integrating design styles, furnishings, sentimental pieces, artwork or traditional and cultural pieces or eliminating it all and starting over. Most probably, we will be compromising and ascertaining which of the many pieces you prefer to keep, which pieces are more meaningful to whom and where you may want to place them.

It is quite a psychological endeavor, and sometimes it seems that one party may not be ready to move forward. In this case, I offer my suggestions but ask that families discuss their thoughts together. Often, the issues discussed provide much food for thought, but a successful outcome requires buy-in from all parties. We will be in this adventure together, keep a positive attitude and enjoy the journey!

As your interior designer, I will be assisting you in the process of developing a plan of action for your late-life change. I prepare interior design concepts, layouts and elevations as well as a plan for implementation of a possible renovation. If you have been wondering about the changes you would like to make in your home but have been holding off – a consultation might be just the thing to motivate you. Call me, Pat Valentine Ziv, at (201) 233-4636 or email


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