Senior living design trends that are so over

Seniors are an economic force to contend with, and senior living providers are taking notice. The MIT Center for Real Estate predicts that Americans 65 and over will number more than 83.7 million by the year 2050. That’s according to the MIT Center for Real Estate. And design trends in senior living are responding to provide this population with what they want and need most. What used to be hot, in many cases these days, is not, as the construction and design industries approach senior living with renewed innovation in architecture and design.

Let’s take a closer look at the senior living design trends that are so over.

Remote facilities

In a move to incorporate senior living into communities as seniors crave that sense of connection, remote facilities are on the outs. Instead, senior living communities are being integrated into the communities in which they are located. This encourages increased socialization with the community. Expect master-planned senior living communities to have convenient amenities for residents, like salons, fitness centers and dining areas, according to “Senior living design trends for 2018,” on For active seniors who want to be in the center of the action, small townhouse unit developments built into communities will be a big draw, according to, “2018 Design Trends: Shifts in Senior Living.”


Cafeterias and buffets

Cafeteria trays and buffets are so yesterday. Elevated food service has arrived, and senior living facilities are capitalizing on this to create entirely different dining experiences. According to “10 senior living design trends for 2018,” on, less restrictive cooking tech is also being incorporated, so senior residents can enjoy the benefits of induction ranges and sous vide, as well as farm-to-table offerings.

Old and stodgy décor

In “Old and stodgy? No thanks!” on, experts say the belief that residents want old-fashioned décor is out the door. In Salt Lake City for instance, The Ridge showcases contemporary design and cutting edge concepts that challenge the status quo. They incorporate natural materials, design elements from nature, human-scale artwork to encourage engagement and resort-style ambience.

Understated elegance

Senior living is moving toward luxe these days, and away from understated elegance. Look for contemporary designs to feature rich, jewel tones, luxurious fabrics, mixed metals and general opulence. In addition, designers are moving toward incorporating locally-produced art and accent pieces, to create a sense of history and regional pride within senior living facilities.

Focus on residents only

Remember when communities focused only on residents, and staff needs were low-priority? Now with the importance of attracting and retaining top talent to better serve residents, senior living communities are beginning to be designed with employee satisfaction in mind. Look for senior living facilities to increasingly incorporate design aimed at boosting job satisfaction and productivity. Look for better break spaces, room to relax, convenient kitchenettes and improved work stations, according to, “Hot Senior Living Architecture and Design Trends for 2018.” 

Senior living facilities: design and architecture responds to trends

Opulence. Employee satisfaction. Contemporary design. Community integration. Elevated food experiences. Ten years ago it’s possible none of these phrases would have been affiliated with senior living facilities. Yet architecture and design needs are shifting in response to changing trends in senior living. And facilities that follow suit are sure to remain relevant to the next wave of seniors looking for the right home for their golden years.

Contact us for more information on DBS Group’s senior housing design-build and construction services.