With an aging baby-boomer population, assisted living facilities are becoming more necessary than ever. As always, though, families want to choose places that make their family members feel at home, and which do not have the sterile, hospital look of older nursing home concepts. The more homelike and welcoming, the more likely a family is to choose to further investigate your offerings! How can you make sure that your lobby looks like a beautiful, welcome? What things are most inviting?

Lots of Plants

Of course, you will want to have lots of lovely plants in your lobby. Whether real or fake, plants can give a sense of nature and comfort to anyone who walks through the lobby. Consider having helpful hands in your community assist in the decoration. Check if there are any florist shops or nurseries that might be able to help you choose what kinds of plants would look best in your lobby. Make sure to take into account the amount of natural light that the lobby gets. Depending on which direction the lobby is facing and where it is located in the building, it might not get much natural light at all. If this is the case, make sure you get plants that either thrive in low light or that are artificial. Some examples of plants that do well in low light include bamboo, peace lilies, and snake plants. If your lobby has a lot of natural light, however, you might be able to get away with putting in some plants that require more sun. 

Table Displays

Although for lobbies, we tend to think of plants as central decorations, there are a lot of other things you could put up to make residents feel more at home. Keep in mind that your residents likely come from many different places and have many different stories to share. Showcasing various places and cultures can spark both memories and understanding in residents and their loved ones. Having different table displays is a wonderful option. Make an effort to get to know your residents. Where are they from? What areas and traditions are special to them? Once you figure this out, add little things on the tables that remind them of these things. For example, consider putting books about the locations where they’ve traveled on various tables. This way, the residents can easily share where they’ve been and where they’re from. You could also search for various knick-knacks that represent different cultures, like small figurines or cultural decorations. Maybe even put up a few pictures on the tables of where the residents are from. All of these can be great additions to your lobby’s table displays and can add to the general “homey” feeling.  

Music

There is nothing that sparks memories and feelings like music. Music is a great way to help residents reminisce and feel at home. Types of music can vary widely, but for an assisted living facility, finding music that would have been played during the younger lives of your residents is particularly key. There are many great stations available online for listening to music of all genres and eras. Music and memory are closely intertwined, so finding music from residents’ youth, usually fifty to seventy years before the current era, is great to uphold that welcoming atmosphere. There are hundreds of streaming music stations nationally to choose from!

A Rustic Fireplace

What’s more homey and comforting than a rustic fireplace? Having a roaring fire in your lobby can help your residents feel cozy and comfortable. Sure, keeping a fire going (especially in a gas fireplace) can get expensive, but with the right practices, you can keep it pretty cheap. Keep your fireplace running efficiently to create a cozy, inviting atmosphere without an extravagant price tag. This is the key to making your lobby feel warm and inviting. Add some comfortable chairs and spaces for wheelchairs, and enjoy listening to that crackling warmth! The gas bill is a small price to pay for your residents’ comfort.

Doorway Décor

When it comes to inexpensive, but effective and beautiful, ideas, there are lots of options. An easy and inexpensive way to decorate your lobby is by adding decor to your doors. When choosing what you want to put on the doorways, take a note from doorway decor you might see on a house. Is your doorway a bit bare and uninviting? Try putting some seasonal decorations out in front of it. For example, if it’s springtime, you could put some fresh tulips outside. If it’s Halloween, you can put pumpkins or leaf decorations outside. If it’s around Christmas, you can put out a Christmas tree or put up Christmas lights. There are tons of options to choose from, regardless of the season. 

Wreaths

Often there are offices and other spaces adjacent to the lobby. Individual desks and doors can have simple wreaths to make them look more inviting. These can be unified as one theme or individualized according to preference. Remember: not everything needs to match to be homey! Hyper-decorated and coordinated supplies are a modern invention. You don’t need perfection to provide a welcoming atmosphere. A simple magnolia or eucalyptus wreath can give a homey touch to any space. They could even be artificial ones if you want to keep them looking fresh all year round. These are decorations that are also pretty easy to make yourself if you have the time and resources.

Dangling Decorations

One of the simplest ways to decorate a large space to be inviting is to hang decorations from the ceiling. This one is probably best saved for special occasions like holidays or birthdays. If it’s someone’s birthday, consider making the resident feel more at home by hanging streamers or balloons from the ceiling to commemorate their special day. If it’s Christmas, you could hang snowflakes from the ceiling. If it’s Valentine’s Day, you could hang hearts from the ceiling. The options are endless. All you have to do is make sure that your decorations correspond with whatever you’re celebrating. Your color scheme might vary, though warm color palettes usually offer the best option for bringing in warmth. Clear fishing line is a wonderful option for hanging decorations at varying heights, regardless of how high your ceilings are. This technique is particularly beautiful over a lobby central desk.

Smells

Secondarily to hearing familiar music from their youth, having the option of smelling some (gentle) scents is a great way to make a space feel homey and familiar. You will want options that are not prone to being knocked over. Mild scents like vanilla can be welcoming and familiar. Make sure that you do not use essential oils or oils prone to cause allergic reactions if you choose to use a light scent in your lobby. If you have asthmatic residents, forego this option. Other offerings, like cocoa, tea, and coffee in the waiting areas, can help your residents feel instantly at home. 

As the owner of an assisted living facility, you want this comforting living space to be instantly endearing and familiar. Evoke those feelings of familiarity, warmth, and peacefulness with a warm fire, soft music, and lovely decorations. Invite your residents to interact in seeing the beauty you’ve made for them. This will help them to feel like they are truly at home. 

Read this next: How to Protect Residents after COVID-19 Impacts Your Facility

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