When we think about how much we spend, we all want three things: high quality, beautiful aesthetics, and low cost. Unfortunately for all of us, sacrifices must be made. As you are building your budget, we’ve already given you some tips (see our last blog – Senior Living: The Top 5 Mistakes When Budgeting for a Renovation or New Build) mistakes we see most often that can leave you with costs well over what you originally planned. This time around, we are going to talk about the places in your budget where you are probably spending too much money and how to redirect that money to things that really matter. Let’s talk about a couple of places where you can cut some of your budget and where you should allocate that money.
Back of House – Pay for Quality, Cut the Aesthetics
Your employees are going to need equipment and furniture that is sturdy, long lasting, and dependable no matter what it goes through. You don’t need to spend money on the aesthetics of a space that won’t be available to your residents. It’s like buying a computer: you don’t spend money on a computer because it looks amazing, you spend money on it because it works and is the best bang for your buck. In this instance, save some money and make sure that even if it isn’t as aesthetically pleasing, it works when it is supposed to and lasts. Your employees will appreciate having functional quality over a pretty desk that doesn’t support their needs.
(NOTE: An exception to this would be a nice break room. Give your employees somewhere they can relax that has some aesthetic qualities to let them decompress and show them how much you care for them. Front of house offices like marketing, ED, and the business office should also be nice as they meet directly with residents and families. )
Resident Rooms – Make It Comfortable and Functional
If you build your space in a way that encourages socialization, your residents shouldn’t be spending all their time in their private rooms. Resident rooms should be for personal care, eating, sleeping, changing, etc. That means you don’t need the same commercially durable floors and furniture that you would need in the rest of the home where the caregiving team and all the residents are utilizing the space. You don’t buy a heavy winter coat when you live in Florida. Make sure the room is comfortable and functional, spending money on the fixtures, excellent closets, countertops, right height outlets and the windows. Cut extra details like window and door trim, large base and crown molding. With the money you save, you can allocate some extra funds to our next space, the common areas.
Common Areas – The Money Maker
Common areas are where you set the tone for your living space. We mentioned it earlier, but prioritizing socialization in your space means creating warm and inviting common areas where residents and families can get together. You want these spaces to be beautiful and durable. They should be purposeful and engaging. Common areas are your public parks and great downtown areas where you want to attract people and give them a space to connect, learn and have fun. This is where you put that money you saved in your other two spaces to get the most value out of your budget. Include special items that will benefit the community and make it a place that is so magnetic it draws folks to connect. It could be incredible design elements, technology, furniture, lighting or excellent indoor/outdoor space. You want to invest in the people that are going to make this their home. So put that money where it is going to give the most to your residents and their families!
The Goldilocks principle
Bigger is not always better, but sometimes smaller can make a space not work at all. When it comes to space planning the Interior Designer has to drive the process vs the architect. A space needs to be JUST RIGHT… Space planning needs to have correct sized furniture pieces on the plans as well as circulation plans denoted in order to ensure the space works for the intended use. We have all seen some spaces so large that it’s uncomfortable to sit in them as you feel you’re on display or can’t hear others properly. We have also seen resident units where the kitchen was so large that there was literally no room to have more than a chair to watch tv. These are costly mistakes that we see happening over and over again when designers are brought in too late. It’s super cheap to get a plan looked at by a designer at the beginning of your design project and can not only save construction costs but increase the ability to market.
What Else Should I Avoid?
Mosaic can help you with that. We have a variety of ways to make sure you are spending money where it counts. Whether you would like a consult to discuss your design needs or a full Cornerstone Assessment where we take you through a fully itemized budget detail so you know exactly what your options are and howmuch they will cost, Mosaic can bring you the confidence and wisdom that you are going to get the space you want with the least amount of hassle and cost.