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Leaving home to move into an assisted living facility can be difficult, but sometimes we all need a little extra help. It might seem like a huge upheaval at first, but you can do a range of things to transform an assisted living room into something much more homey.

From family photos to cozy finishing touches, we’ve got all kinds of tips to make your space more inviting. Once your assisted living room feels like home, you’ll quickly settle in so you can enjoy everything that your new retirement community has to offer.

Paint the walls

The majority of assisted-living rooms have walls of stark white or dull magnolia. Although not all facilities allow it, your new room will feel more like home if you paint the walls before you move in. It’s best to avoid dark colors if your room is on the compact side, but if you prefer bold colors, try painting just one feature wall and leaving the rest a neutral shade. You might want to pick a color scheme similar to the one you had in the home you’re moving from.

Bring items from home

If you’re moving from a large house or apartment, you’re unlikely to fit all your belongings into your new home, but bringing some of your furnishings and personal items will make your new place feel far more homey. Choose a few larger pieces of furniture that are significant to you or that you just like. You might want to bring your comfiest armchair, for instance, or the dresser your grandparents passed down to you. Smaller items are easier to bring, such as lamps, ornaments, quilts, and curtains. With familiar items around you, it will feel like you’re in a familiar place.

Add art and photos

Attractive artwork can really cheer up a room. If you already have some favorites from home, bring those. However, you might want to invest in some new prints or even an original piece for your new home. As well as artwork, of course, you’ll want to bring some family photos. Frame a selection of your favorite photos to keep your loved ones close by. Find out any rules about hanging frames in your room. You might not be allowed to put hooks in the wall, but command strips or digital frames are excellent alternatives.

Create a sitting area

If you’re moving into an assisted-living room rather than a full apartment, it can feel more like you’re staying at a hotel than in a home. What can really help is to create a sitting area so you don’t just have a bed and a closet. This also gives you somewhere to sit with guests if you don’t want to visit with them in communal areas. If you have enough space, create an area with a small couch, armchair, and coffee table to act as a sitting room or lounge.

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It will feel even more homey with some little extras like throws, blankets, or throw pillows. Alternatively, you could make space for a small dining table and chairs to enjoy meals with visitors. This is a good idea if you find it tricky to get up and down from low seating.

Think about storage solutions

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Your assisted-living room isn’t going to feel very homey if it’s completely jam-packed with items. Downsizing is hard, but you can cut down on clutter with some clever storage solutions. For instance, you might choose a trunk-style coffee table that doubles as storage space or a platform bed with drawers underneath. Layout and storage are the keys to a room that feels warm and inviting, just like home should be.

Bring your pet

Nothing makes you feel less at home than being forced to give up a beloved pet. While not all assisted-living facilities allow pets, a significant number do. If you have a pet at home, be sure to choose a room that will let you bring it with you. You’ll even find some facilities with onsite dog parks and pet-grooming parlors.

Consider your interests

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It’s easy to get lost in design trends and aesthetics and forget to set up your room to facilitate the things that you like doing. For instance, if you love to read, leave enough space for a bookcase and a comfortable reading chair, and position a lamp or reading light by your bed so you can enjoy a good book before going to sleep. If movies or television are more up your alley, make sure you have a TV and DVD player or a smart TV with access to a streaming service. Keen cook? See if you can find an assisted-living room with a kitchenette and dining area, so you can still cook for yourself and your friends and family.

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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