Privacy: How to Have Your Own Space in Community Living

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Many boomer women have a strong sense of independence. We want our space, we want to do things on our own, and we don’t want to be tied down. I imagine this might be one barrier keeping more women from choosing to build or live in community. However, I don’t believe that community living and privacy or independence need to be mutually exclusive. In fact, it is quite the opposite.

Of course, privacy can take different forms depending on the living situation. Some homes feature in-law suites that would be perfect for shared housing where each party has their own complete “apartment.” Other situations might call for a division of space; someone can use the den and another person can use the living room. You may need to establish rules for using the kitchen or having guests visit. Here are some additional tips for privacy in your shared home.

Click below to see three tips for privacy in shared housing.

  1. Establish your sanctuary.No matter what the other parameters of your shared situation are, your room is your space. It is okay to keep it private and off limits to your housemates. Some people don’t have the same values and feel that entering your room or borrowing things without asking is okay. Communication is extremely important. Make sure new housemates know that bedrooms are private and off limits.

  2. Coordinate your schedules. When someone new enters the shared home it is okay to sit down and determine, roughly, their schedules. This will give each member of the household an idea of when they might have the entire house to themselves or if there are better times to use the kitchen than others.
  3. Build trust with housemates. You can’t always predict whether or not you will have chemistry with new roommates, but it is a good idea to foster a relationship and begin an earnest friendship. You know you already have one thing in common – you want an opportunity to build community as an alternative to other living situations as you both age. If you find common ground in the shared spaces it will be easier to respect each other’s boundaries in your private spaces.

Do you want to know how to start living in community with other women? Contact me so I can share my story, tips on building community, and other resources.


  1. It might be a good idea to create a questionnaire for applicants to determine the best housemates to co-habit with – using their privacy preferences for one of the criteria.

Women For Living in Community