How the Baby Boomers Will Change Housing Design

The baby boomers entering or already in retirement are making the country consider changes. They’re staying in the workforce longer than previous generations and the health care industry is bracing itself for the increase demand for care.

However, the baby boomers will also affect housing and how real estate is designed in upcoming years. Zillow highlighted some of the special considerations needed in home design, most notably that two-story McMansions are no longer ideal. Instead, one-level homes or two-story houses with the master bedroom and bathroom on the first floor will be in more demand.

The American Society of Interior Designers reported that “people think about their home and how they will live in it as much as they think about their finances and health care.” And considering how important those last two are, the comforts of home have become essential for most retirees or soon-to-be-retired.

Baby boomers even reported in an ASID study last year that the presence of steps and staircases were one of the main concerns they have. And yet, the presence of stairs doesn’t mean they will move; they would rather make changes to the house.

Last year’s ASID study also revealed that more than three-fourths of homeowners in the baby boomer generation want to stay in their own homes. The elderly no longer want to use nursing home care or even more in with a family member — AARP reported that only 4% expect to move in with a family member. Instead, they would prefer home-delivered care.

And in staying in their homes, a lot of changes need to be made with the idea that the homeowner will have limited mobility. Open floor plans, walk-in showers, wider hallways and doorways and less furniture are all considerations.

ASID also suggests a lot of lighting — especially lights that turn on automatically because of sensors — and using color contrasts with design as a visual aid.

Considering the baby boomers will affect the median age of the country until well into the 2030s, they could have an even bigger and longer lasting impact on housing in the U.S. than even the real estate bubble.