“Making Aging In Place Improvements On A Limited Budget”


Adding fresh paint to the client’s home in one room or several will enliven and reinvigorate that space and will make it come alive very quickly and a relatively small investment, even with no other improvements.


Conventional wisdom

There may be a tendency to think that it takes a lot of money to make improvements to a home. Certainly, someone can invest a great deal in a project, but it’s not mandatory. Much can be done for just a little.

While conventional wisdom may suggest that several thousand dollars need to be allocated to a bathroom or kitchen improvement, maybe we can make significant improvements to a home in other areas for much less. Even in areas of the home where improvements typically are more extensive and expensive, there may be less costly ways to approach the project. That is how we rely on our training, experience, and analysis to determine what is really important to the client.

Perspective of the improvement

We can makeover someone’s home into a showpiece – something worthy of being featured in a design magazine or website. Alternately, we can offer some repairs and renovations that make the home safe in a very simple way. These aren’t mutually exclusive where a design always needs to be expensive or capable of being featured online or in print, or where it is done strictly for function without much regard for the way it looks as long as it helps the client. We may be able to achieve a little of both in a design solution for those who do not have a large budget to allocate to a solution.

We should determine what the client needs in order to use their home well, what they have now, what their physical needs and requirements are, and how to make those happen within the budget they are willing to allocate. Some people are going to have more funds, and some are not. We have a choice on how we want to approach offering our aging in place services – doing higher-end more lucrative improvements or completing simpler less expensive ones that may be as satisfying or even more so than the bigger jobs.

Serving the client is the ultimate aim, and we get to choose which type of client to serve.

Reverse engineering the project

As Stephen Covey once said, begin with the end in mind. Let’s look at what solution we want to create or achieve and then determine the easiest, least expensive, and most available solution so that we can give the client what they need in short order. They can begin benefitting from our design almost immediately, and we can move on to helping someone else.

Some clients are going to want more elaborate designs and modifications than others. Some want it done in the simplest, least expensive way possible that will still be serviceable and functional.

Again, we have a choice in deciding which clients to serve, but let’s say that we want to help those with more limited means achieve a measure of safety and function in their homes that they don’t have now. Then, we can be quite creative in how we approach the projects we see.

Thinking old school designs

If we think back to our college days or that first apartment, many of us made design choices that worked for the situation that cost us very little. We made bookshelves out of wood and bricks. We made a table or desk with wood or a door stretched across sawhorses or some other available supports. Old wooden cable spools serve well as a table. If it worked then, it can still work – maybe not exactly this way but in concept. Let’s figure out similar ways to offer our clients the improvements they need for a very reasonable price.

There’s a good chance that our clients have an excess of items that are not put away anyplace – maybe they have run out of places to put them. Getting some simple (or crafting them) but attractive storage cubes, shelves, crates, boxes. or other means of containing some of their items will allow us to fix much of what has been cluttering their home and creating navigation and safety issues. This simple little fix will make the entire home look like a major makeover has been done when just a simple organization has been accomplished.

Remember that nothing beats a fresh coat of paint as far as renewing a space and making it look appealing. We’ve all experienced this. The client’s walls may be dingy, stained, or too dark for the space. It may have been several years since they were last painted. A brighter color will give the room or rooms more vitality also. This is a quick and easily accomplished solution, even if nothing else is done for the client.

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