Moving into retirement can call for a change in the functionality of your home. The physical effects of ageing may cause you to begin considering home safety features, even if it is just for your peace of mind, while the transition from work to retirement could result in altered requirements of home spaces. Whether you need inspiration to create a hobby room in your home or want to know about the costs involved in renovating your bathroom for retirement, you can find the answers below.


How to make your home retirement friendly Back to top

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that 76% of Australians aged 65 and over own their own home. With the home being a place of comfort and sentiment for many, it makes sense that many retirees wish to stay put rather than relocate. 

Renovating your bathroom for retirement

Bathrooms are a common area of concern for many retirees, especially those with decreased mobility. Illawarra renovation specialist Cinzia Gagliardi recently carried out an elegant French provincial bathroom renovation in Gwynneville, which was designed with long-term safety in mind. The design focused on the following areas:

  • Removing a wall to create more space
  • Identifying and removing safety hazards e.g. slippery floors, flimsy shower screens
  • Installing a shower curtain
  • Installing non-slip tiles
  • A grab-bar installation

Another great idea for this type of renovation is to opt for a wetroom-style shower, which will allow for easy entry and remove any trip hazards. Another thing to consider is raising the height of certain bathroom models, e.g. the vanity and toilet, which will make life more comfortable for those with decreased mobility.  

Future-proofing your kitchen

Kitchens are the most popular room to renovate, and are high on homeowners’ list of projects, moving into retirement. Low cupboards and poor layouts often call for simplified designs and easier access. 

“I’ve done a couple of kitchen renovations for retired clients”, says renovation specialist Lia Boersma. “It’s very much about having very easy to open drawers and cupboards because of arthritis.” Lia recommends using, “handles that make it easy to open cupboards.”  

The benefits of smart home technology

According to The Telegraph, smart technology offers family, friends and carers a better idea of what support a senior requires. Particularly if you live alone, smart home sensors can be installed to notify loved ones when you might be in need of assistance. The Telegraph also suggests that smart homes make it easy for seniors to manage home security, heating and lighting settings; all from a remote or cellphone. 

Future-proofing a two-storey house

If you live in a two-storey property, stairs are an area you may wish to address. One option is to have the stairs demolished and an elevator installed. Alternatively, if you have the space, you could convert your upstairs and downstairs into two separate living areas. You could then rent out your upstairs area, a great idea if you would like an additional income that contributes toward saving for retirement. 

Renovations to make before you retire

Removing any potential trip hazards is another important aspect to future-proofing your home. The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare states that the majority of injuries in Australia are the result of falling. Removing stairs, installing well thought out lighting designs and slip-resistant flooring are all ways to reduce these risks. 

Home office renovations

While safety is a significant consideration in retirement renovations, retirement is also a time to focus on the areas of life that you enjoy most. If you have just retired and have spare time, why not invest it in a new hobby? Creating a hobby room or a functional home office can provide a space where you can joyfully transition from working life into retirement. This can be achieved through a few simple home alterations or through a larger renovation project.

When it comes to future-proofing your storage, Lia focuses on three basic areas, “Easy levels, easy access and easy to open.” 

How much does a renovation for retirement cost? Back to top

There are many different areas to consider when looking into renovating for retirement. Flooring, lighting, layout and ease of access are all important. We’ve broken down the costs involved to show you what you may be able to achieve on a small, medium and high-range budget. 

Future-proofing your home on a small budget 

Lighting and rewiring

A good lighting plan is important to a safe home. It reduces the chances of bumping into sharp furniture, tripping and falling. Within an $8,000 - $10,000* budget, you can purchase a new LED lighting plan, along with rewiring and a new switchboard, depending on the size of your home. If you live in an older home ask for an electrician to carry out a home inspection to see what rewiring work might be needed in order to keep your home safe. Registered electricians generally charge between $45 - $90* per hour, depending on their level of experience as well as the complexity of the job.   

Bathroom

Bathrooms are one of the most popular rooms in the home to renovate and are usually one of the first areas of the home to be considered for future-proofing. Two essential areas to look at are your bathroom flooring and shower. Is your bathroom floor slippery? Investing in non-slip tiles is an important safety investment which can be achieved for around $90+, per square metre, including labour. For around $20,000 - $30,000*, you can remodel your bathroom, in addition to retiling and installing new lighting. You may also want to consider having support bars or a handrail installed in the shower.

Kitchen

When designing a kitchen renovation on a tight budget, focus on your priorities. Often the first point of interest will be your cupboards. Are they too low? Too high? Do they provide efficient storage? While changing the location of electrical and plumbing points will quickly increase the price of your kitchen renovation, changing the layout of your cupboards and installing new flooring, lighting and countertops is possible within a $20,000 - $30,000* price range.   

Flooring

If you want to start with the basics, flooring is a good place to begin. If any flooring throughout your home is slippery or damaged, it’s time for something new. When you begin to look at flooring options for your home, focus on materials which are non-slip, easy to clean and, where possible, offers some padding in the event of a fall. $55 - $85* per square metre is generally what you can expect to pay for synthetic carpet installation, which provides padding but can be difficult to clean. Vinyl flooring is another affordable and easy to clean option, which could cost you between $110 - $140* per square metre to have installed.  

Warm-up your home

A decrease in blood circulation, among other factors, lead many people to feel increasingly sensitive to the cold as they age. For this reason, a warm home is essential in the retirement years. There are a few ways to affordably achieve this. Insulation is a great place to start, with prices starting around $75 - $140* per square metre for ceiling installation. Thermal curtains make for another affordable way to keep the warmth indoors, with prices starting from around $100* each. An all-round warm-up renovation can easily be achieved within a $10,000* budget.   

Home automation

There are a huge range of smart home options available on the market, many designed with retirement-friendly renovations in mind. You can control your security system, garage doors, door locks, lighting and media system all through a remote control or smart application. Home automation designs usually start at around $1,000* and electricians tend to charge approximately $140 - $150* per hour for automation installations. All costs included, you could be looking at $10,000+* for a basic home automation installation. 

Future-proofing your home on a mid-range budget

Lighting and rewiring

If you have $15,000 - $20,000* to work within, you can add a bit of style into a practical lighting design. When looking at electrical work, think about what rooms are most likely to require additional outlets in the future. You can have a bit of fun with lighting selections, choosing styles that suit your taste. Expect to pay around $160* per light for both the fitting and installation. 

Home office conversion

Dedicating a room in your home to projects and hobbies can be helpful when transitioning into retirement. For $15,000 - $20,000+* you can update the flooring, lighting, wiring, decor and shelving, in an office or spare room, in order to create a creative space.   

Bathroom 

On a mid-range budget you can renovate your bathroom to allow for easy and spacious shower access. Entry-level or wet room showers are a functional and trendy choice for any age but can especially make showering easier later on in life. Wet room showers require floor-to-ceiling waterproofing, usually through tiling, which can cost $125+* per square metre, not including waterproofing or substrate. It’s a worthwhile investment as this shower style removes the risk of tripping upon entry or exit and provides plenty of space to move around. For $35,000+* a wetroom, new bathroom layout and remodel are possible.  

Kitchen 

As the heart of the home, it’s no surprise that kitchens are the most popular room to renovate. Modern designs are providing increasingly effective kitchen storage solutions, which is extremely useful to anyone with limited mobility. A budget of $30,000 - $50,000 will allow you to create a practical, innovative and stylish space. Within this price range, you can redesign your kitchen layout and have custom-designed cabinets installed. Style really comes down to using materials which suit your unique home style, and there is a range to choose from.   

Flooring 

Aim for practicality and quality when selecting future-proof flooring materials. Solid timber flooring will be easy to maintain and can be installed for approximately $65* per square metre. However carpet provides much more padding should you have any falls, which is extremely common in seniors. You can purchase this for around $55 - $85* per square metre. Speak to a local specialist for guidance on the best slip-resistant flooring options for your home. 

Smart home installations

On a budget of $25,000 - $45,000+*, you can have some really helpful smart home appliances installed. This should include design, installation and wiring, home security options as well as remote control of basic home functions such as lighting and heating. There are some innovative appliances to make day-to-day life so much easier, such as smart fridges which can remind you of what needs to be added to your shopping list, as well as motion sensors, which could serve as a home security function.

Open plan

Open plan designs can be beneficial for those who rely on walkers or wheelchairs to get around the house. Not only does it allow you to easily flow between rooms, it will also provide extra space to do so. If you have $40,000 - $70,000* to work with you can adjust parts of your home’s layout, have minor extension work carried out, bring in a decorator and perhaps add in some spacious french doors. 

Future-proofing your home on a high-end budget

Elevator installations/home additions

If you live in a two-storey home you may reach a point where you have three options: downsize, install an elevator or renovate to create separate upstairs and downstairs dwellings. Home elevator installations start around the $40,000 - $60,000* mark, with prices increasing along with design and specification requirements. 

If you would prefer to renovate your upstairs area and rent it out, the required renovation work might include bathroom, kitchen and bedroom additions, as well as potentially building a separate upstairs entrance in order to maintain privacy. Budget for at least $60,000 per room for extension work, and $50,000 - $100,000+* per room, for a high-end renovation.

High quality electrical, lighting and sound

On a high-range budget, you can enjoy designer lighting, high-quality media systems and smart wiring. For high-quality designer lighting, set aside at least $200* per light installation. A $100,000* budget will allow you to enjoy a luxury home entertainment system experience, potentially even a home cinema. Smart wiring installations begin at around $2,000*, which then make it easy to automate your home lighting, heating, security and entertainment. 

Kitchen

A budget of $50,000 - $100,000+* will allow you to completely redesign your kitchen into your ideal long term cooking zone. Change the layout of cupboards, benches, your oven and fridge. Optimise storage through a scullery installation and choose luxury materials and appliances.

Flooring

If optimum presentation, easy maintenance and functionality are at the top of your flooring priorities, solid timber flooring is likely to be high on your list of options. Solid timber flooring can be installed for $100+* per square metre. If you are interested in something with a bit more padding, high-quality carpeting can be purchased for around the same price.  

Bathroom

Whoever said “growing old isn’t pretty” clearly didn’t have access to a luxury style bathroom. For $285 - $360* per square metre you can have your choice of designer, non-slip tiles. A level-entry shower is a must-have, and built-in storage can add extra practicality. You also have the option of bespoke bathroom models and lighting. A budget of $100,000+* is ideal for this type of renovation. 

Keep in mind that renovation costs do vary and are dependent on the project size, the materials used and the labour requirements. For a cost estimate accurate to your project, get in touch with a Refresh Renovations specialist.  

*Please note: These costs are rough estimates only and are subject to change.