This study explores how common spaces in assisted living schemes for older persons are used by the residents. Observation studies, group interviews with staff and individual interviews with residents, relatives, architects and key stakeholders in the context of Swedish elder-care were conducted. Common spaces are the major location for in-house social interaction on the units. The results show a higher presence on the dementia units, compared to the somatic units. No significant correlation was found between the residents' mobility limitations and their degree of presence in the common spaces. The results also suggest a contradiction between the staff's intentions to provide a social context and the capabilities of the residents. Although common spaces are not used much between meals, the residents stress their importance for social interaction, suggesting that common spaces have important qualitative aspects, rather than quantitative. The results also show that few of the residents used the common spaces together with their relatives. The increasing use of assistive technology creates a shortage of space, suggesting a conflict between the efforts to create a home-like environment and the use of assistive technology.