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Design Elements and Neighborhood Amenities for Every Stage of Life

Buying a home is a big step. Whether you’re looking for a forever home to raise a family or are downsizing after retirement, it can be tough to know what to look for in a house and the adjoining neighborhood.

Make the search for your next home easier by looking for design elements and neighborhood amenities that will support you at every stage of life. Create a list of long-term “must haves” that will support the health and well-being of your family for years to come. You can always replace carpets and renovate kitchens, but you can’t overlook the value of nearby parks and protected greenspaces in your new neighborhood.


Access to a nearby greenspace can dramatically increase your quality of life. Recent research published in Scientific Reports shows that spending at least 120 minutes in greenspaces significantly increases your chance of reporting “good health or high well-being.” Interestingly, the study found the positive effects of time spent in nature were even more profound for those who spend up to 300 minutes in the great outdoors.

However, if you work full-time or are raising a family, you probably don’t have time to take multiple trips to wild spaces. Instead, you have to rely on your neighborhood to provide access to greenspaces in the form of local parks and nature reserves. Greenspaces are the cornerstone of the perfect neighborhoods and usually play host to all manner of exciting events and community engagement activities.

Living near a greenspace can improve your physical health, too. The health benefits of walking in nature include:

  • Improved strength;
  • Increased energy;
  • Better balance;
  • Weight control.

A daily stroll can boost  your immune system and help you fight off the blues, too. A quick walk in the local park gets your blood flowing and can help white blood cells travel around your body. A mid-afternoon jaunt may be just what you need if you work remotely, too, as walking can boost creativity and help you return to your home office feeling refreshed.

Remote Work Must-Haves

Remote work has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic. Estimates predict that 36.2 million Americans will be working remotely in 2025, as technology allows more of us to embrace the benefits of working from home.

However, the rise of remote work has changed the housing market. With more people searching for a home office space, the underutilized spare room has suddenly become a major selling point for savvy estate agents. Additionally, more people are moving to the suburbs today than ever before, which has raised house prices around the nation.

Searching for the perfect remote-working house can be a little tricky. At a minimum, you should ask the estate agent to find potential homes that have:

  • High-speed, reliable internet access;
  • At least one bedroom-sized room for a home office;
  • Local amenities and entertainment (such restaurants, theaters, coffee shops);
  • Easy access to highways and/or public transport.

Remember that you can always modernize a tired home once you’ve moved in. A quick lick of paint will turn a drab spare room into the modern home office you’ve always dreamed of. Just be sure to have essential amenities like high-speed internet and a room that is large enough to support you while you work from home.

Retirement Design

Moving after retirement can be daunting. You’ve likely spent decades in the same house and may feel a little apprehensive about closing the front door to your family home for the last time. However, ‘right-sizing’ your home can significantly improve your quality of life and help you enjoy your retirement without the stress of mowing lawns or tidying unused rooms.

You should consider ‘right-sizing’ to a new home when your current house no longer suits your needs. You may have bought the perfect house 30 years ago to raise your family in, but what about now? Do the extra rooms actually serve any purpose? Or, are they just an extra room that you have to clean every few weeks?

‘Right-sizing’ is particularly important if your current home is expensive to maintain and is eating into your savings. If you find yourself pulling from your savings to pay for your electricity bill, you should seriously consider making a move to save money and free up some expendable income.

‘Right-sizing’ in retirement can be a real boon, too. Smaller spaces are easier to upkeep and much cheaper to run. You won’t have to spend big on professional gardeners and you may even be able to dodge hefty homeowners association (HOAs) fees.

Moving into a smaller space gives you the freedom to choose where you want to live, too. Smaller homes are usually cheaper and more abundant on the housing market. This means you can move to a smaller bungalow in the coastal town of your dreams or find the cabin in the woods that you’ve always yearned for.


Finding a home with the design elements and neighborhood amenities that support your family is essential. A good home should have access to greenspaces and should be large (or small!) enough to meet your needs. Don’t be put off by tired interior design during home viewings – you can always modernize the home —  and focus on the ‘must-have’ items like square footage, proximity to greenspaces, and local amenities.


Sam Bowman authored this article


Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a freelance writer living in Orlando, Florida with many published bylines in magazines, newspapers, and multimedia sites. As a professional lifestyle writer, Karen specializes in art, architecture, design, home interiors and personality profiles. Karen is the writer, producer and host of the streaming series, The Design Tourist ( that brings viewers a global dose of design inspiration with episodes featuring the latest looks and trends from the world’s premiere design events and shows. She also publishes a quarterly magazine on design travel that you can read by clicking the link: Her journalism background includes seven years on-air experience as a TV news reporter and anchor covering a range of issues from education to politics. Her educational credentials include a Master of Arts in Mass Communications from Northeast Louisiana University and a Bachelor of Arts in Communications from Louisiana State University. Throughout her career, Karen has written and produced dozens of documentaries and videos for educational, commercial, corporate, and governmental clients and appeared in many TV and video productions as a professional host.

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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food.