How 55+ Homebuyers Can Bring Mindfulness Home

An older man chops veggies on a large white kitchen island in his contemporary kitchen with flat-front cabinets.

The typical homeownership advice for 55+ new homebuyers focuses on accessibility and amenities rather than mindfulness. Developers and realtors are quick to point out the benefits of open floor plans, universal design, and walk-in showers.

While these features undoubtedly make living in the new home easier and, as a consequence, less stressful, they don't necessarily create mindfulness or a sense of peace and serenity in the home which is important at every age. For that, buyers will have to look at specialty features or make targeted decisions regarding colors, window placement, material choices, and more.

Here's four affordable ways homebuyers in the 55+ age group can create a sense of mindfulness and peace in their own new homes:

1. Add a water feature.
Humans naturally associate water with peace and tranquility. How often do spas and retreats feature a gently tinkling fountain in the background? Why does nearly every advertisement for "paradise" seem to overlook an ocean, lake, or river? Water features can be added to homes inside and out.

Backyard patios centered around a fountain or pond can be as luxurious or as simple as your budget allows. Everything from in-ground, recirculating fountains to simple, plug-in tabletop fountains exist to transform a private outdoor space into an oasis. The same concept can be applied indoors. Tabletop fountains, in-wall designs, in-shower fountains, or even interior courtyards can all create a serene space inside the home. Filtration devices keep the water clean and cut down on manual maintenance, making the water feature an easy-care option.

2. Create a spa-like bath.
Nothing says tranquility more than a spa. What that looks like is up to you. Many of today's homebuyers, of all ages, are seeking walk-in showers and standalone tubs.

Brian Hoffman, an executive with Red Seal Homes, a Chicago luxury homebuilder, says “the builder is seeing luxury features in showers. These fancy features include built-in benches, rain shower heads, jets, separate thermostat/temperature controls and steam options.” Mmmm…bliss.

Natural materials such as stone and wood can be used to accent the room, giving the bath a more relaxed, organic feel while large windows or skylights bring light in. Coupled with the right paint colors and aromatherapy diffusers, these features create a serene environment that will create an instant sense of relaxation.

3. Build a tranquility room.
Tranquility rooms are very popular with the 55+ crowd. Empty nesters may decide to convert unused bedrooms, dens, or basements into a private space for yoga or meditation. Yoga is increasingly popular with older generations because it delivers mind and body benefits for physical and emotional health and wellness without taxing the body too much. Sound-proofed walls, in-wall speakers, that fountain we mentioned above, luxe carpet or sleek bamboo flooring can all be used to create your own private zen space.

"Candles. Floating candles in a bowl of water or even just a single flame can be mesmerizing, perfect for meditation. Fire and, in particular, the combination of fire and water has a very calming effect on the mind and you don't need a lot of space to create that effect. A short table or side table will provide all the space you need and the small surface area really hones your focus on the flame or the play of flames over water," explained Dan Zelen, interior and exterior designer of D. Zelen in San Francisco, Calif.

4. Splurge on items you love.
Those over the age of 55 have the advantage of experience, adult children who are out of the house, and higher incomes than their younger counterparts. At this stage of life, you know what you like and have the resources to make it happen.

"You don't have to give up the things you love," says Realtor Nancy Doyne of New Jersey-based Weichert Realtors. "Put together a list of what is important to you in a home."

This goes for the basics like a master bath or attached garage, but it can also be applied to specialty features too. If there is a home feature that would bring you joy, go for it! Splurge on heated floors, a home theater, or that outdoor room you've always wanted. Mindfulness is about being present in the moment and experiencing a sense of peace and fulfillment. From that perspective, anything that plays to your senses and calms your mind or body is fair game.

Creating a mindful home doesn't have to break to the bank. Whether stress-reducing features are incorporated throughout the home or a single room is devoted to stress relief and relaxation, 55+ homebuyers should embrace the mindfulness approach to new homeownership for ultimate peace and enjoyment of their new space.
Sarah Kinbar is a freelance writer and editor for leading print and online publications. Formerly editor in chief of Garden Design, she has also written and edited for Cottage Living, Modern magazine and Orlando Arts. You can find her on Google+.

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