Designing Show-Stopping Amenities

Interior designers work with builders to create spaces that inspire dreams and evoke exceptional experiences. One area in particular that exceptional interior design can inspire dreams are in a community’s amenity space. A well-thought out and strategically designed amenity space can create a true sense of neighborhood and community. It can take the shape of a place to be happy alone, with a small group of friends, or sharing a larger gathering for an evening of fun.

To create a successful amenity, one must first look at the end user: who will be using this space, and what do they want to be doing in it? A one-size-fits-all approach will not suffice. Collaborating with the builders, interior designers will help to answer these questions. This blog will look at two significant buying groups—Millennials and Baby Boomers—and how strategic amenity space design can create a must-live-there community vibe.

Alliance, Englewood, photo courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

Millennial-Friendly Amenity Design

According to Brookings, Millennials have surpassed the Baby Boomer generation and make up nearly a quarter of the U.S. total population. As such, they are a significant buying segment. And regardless of owning or renting, amenities are important to this group. While some millennials are venturing into the suburbs, they still want to live near cities or at least experience vibrant city living. You can bring the energy of a downtown neighborhood with an urban style interior design. Try including more woods and warmer colors to create a modern bohemian feel to the space. Or, go light, bright, and funky. They may be in the ‘burbs, but they’ll feel like they are experiencing in-town living.

Another important factor to consider when designing for the millennial generation is their commitment to being—and staying—connected. Online in many ways is the mantra of their community. To foster that, provide WiFi accessibility in all common areas. Design in such a way that includes smart home features and communal work spaces. Provide creative spaces where they can have a variety of experiences. For example, include a bike/ski repair station, a yoga room, an interactive game room, and quiet spaces where they can go and just be. Designing an area that can become the community’s de facto coffee shop will often very much appeal to the millennial.

It cannot be stated enough: unique experiences and features are important to millennials. Is your building or community pet-friendly? Including a dog wash area in a clubhouse would be a wonderful option. This buying group wants quality, friendly, unique places to live and play. They want to be a part of a community and be able to use a myriad of unique amenities when desired, while at the same time being able to be an individual and living as they choose.

Forum, Kent Place, photo courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

Appealing to Boomers

To be successful with this significant buying demographic, builders and designers need to understand the Boomer Buyer’s expectations, particularly when it comes to amenity spaces. The leading-edge Boomer Buyer we’ve talked about for years is very different from the younger Boomer of today. Furthermore, remember that Gen X’ers are fast approaching 55! To be successful in today’s rapidly changing Baby Boomer market, communities and amenities need to change, too.

Baby Boomers also don’t represent a one-size-fits-all amenity space design strategy. Their schedules can vary widely. Some are still working, whether it’s full or part-time, while some are completely retired. Despite their diversity, there are some things most boomers seem to gravitate toward. Experts say that, in general, Boomers desire new rather than existing housing, a walkable community and plenty of amenities.

It is important to remember why most people have moved into your community. They are looking for a certain lifestyle. In other words, they want access to comfortable club room with stylish interiors that are on trend, but not too trendy. A place where they can gather, be it for a lecture, entertainment, or weekly card game. They want fitness onsite as well as an outdoor and indoor swimming pool. Demonstration kitchens, dog parks and grooming stations, food service, an array of concierge services are also on their wish list. Programming could include things like workshops, a pickle ball league, and other community-based activities. While they may not be able to afford all the luxury in their home, the amenities provided should be plentiful and (seemingly) luxurious, the key being to provide the features that your buyers want and expect, and are in your budget.

Greystar, Colo., photo courtesy of Lita Dirks & Co.

Provide Unique Offerings

Regardless of the age of the potential resident, including something different and that sets your space apart from the competition is vital.

In the end, though, the best design solutions are always based on your property’s unique potential, the context surrounding it and the tenants you’re trying to attract. That’s what makes it authentic to your brand, and distinctive in the market.

Post courtesy of Sue Ridgeway, Director of Marketing at Lita Dirks & Co., an interior design and merchandising firm based in Greenwood Village, Colo.

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