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Home Design Tips for Growing Families: A Practical Guide

girl sitting in bedroom surrounded by stuffed animals middle class dad

Most people purchase their first home with the idea that they are going to grow into the home. Obviously, this is not always the case; sometimes, upsizing will be necessary if your family grows beyond the point where you can all comfortably inhabit the space. However, with the right considerations and methods, you can ensure that your home is future-proof enough to accommodate your growing family as much as possible, which would postpone the need to upsize or remove it completely. Keep reading to find out more.

Planning Tips

When it comes to planning your home design, there are a few things that you should be aware of. Firstly, you need to ensure that you are being realistic when it comes to planning. Think about the purpose of each room. They can also be multifunctional. A home office can double as a spare bedroom. You need to consider how you can maximise the use of the room whilst being realistic; if you do not often have guests to stay, then a murphy bed, sofa bed or day bed in what is predominantly used as a home office allows you the opportunity to host guests without the entire room being taken up and rendering it unusable for other purposes.

You also need to consider the future too. In all likelihood, your family’s needs will change over time, and the things that your house needs to accommodate or be geared towards right now will not necessarily remain the same. Your children’s bedrooms, for example, will need to accommodate them as they grow. Are there any decorative touches, pieces of furniture or other interior design techniques that would make it easier when transitioning their room to a more mature space? In thinking ahead, you can save time and money down the line.

Planning for the unexpected is arguably an oxymoron because, by its very definition, it is unexpected. However, trying to come up with a more fluid layout which is designed with multifunctionality in mind does give you more options in the future. Simply put, having some ‘overflow space’ or room to grow is important. You should also consider how long you want to remain in the property. As mentioned above, sometimes upsizing is a necessity, but it would make sense to consider the possibilities.

You need to think about what it will look like as you have children and they grow up in the home. The number of bedrooms will obviously dictate how many people your home can comfortably house before upsizing becomes a necessity. However, even if spatially your home is big enough, you will still need to think about what will happen as the kids, and you yourselves grow up. Do you intend to live in that home even when the children have flown the nest? Ageing in place allows for this. A few considerations now will make things a lot easier down the line. Widening doorways or making the bathroom more accessible will be beneficial in the future.

Your Design Options

Before you can progress any further with your design options, you should start by decluttering your home. in order for your home to be able to accommodate your growing family, you first need to make the space. A lot of people accumulate – for lack of a better word – crap throughout their lives that they hold on to. Go through your home, room by room, to assess whether you actually have a need for everything in it. Get rid of everything you don’t need. You can either donate, sell or give it away. In doing so, your home will feel more spacious, and it leaves room for the new things that will inevitably replace them.

If you have the funds to do so, you could choose to build an extension onto your property. This might be a single or double-storey extension. It could mean an extra bathroom, bedroom or family room. You are likely to need planning permission. Hiring an experienced builder can feel a little like a minefield. However, it is well worth it to ensure that the extension is in keeping with the rest of the property. You can use a site like MyBuilder to find eligible, qualified and experienced builders within your area.

If you do not want to extend your property outwards because it would limit your use of the garden or for whatever reason, then it might be worth considering the attic or basement space. Most homes come with an attic of some descript, although they won’t all come with a basement or cellar. It is worth considering converting your attic. It could greatly increase your living space and become an additional bedroom, playroom or whatever you need it to be. It could simply become a storage area.

Finally, building a garden room could also help to increase your living space. They are often one of the cheaper options when it comes to extending. They are freestanding and insulated, the only downside being that you need to exit your home in order to access them. That being said, they don’t usually require planning permission, and they are often easier and quicker to build too. Again, the garden room could become whatever it needs to be.

Things to Keep in Mind

When it comes to ensuring that your home is designed with growth and evolution in mind, there are a few things that you will need to think about. Firstly, storage is incredibly important. Even if you declutter, you are, of course, still going to have a lot of stuff. Children also tend to need a lot of stuff too. There are a lot of clever storage options for you to take advantage of, from window seats to ottomans to fold away or multipurpose furniture. A garage, shed, or attic can also become vital when looking for storage solutions. When storing items, try to have an organisational system in place to make it easier for you to find whatever it is that you are looking for.

The next thing to bear in mind is the ages of the residents; you are likely to baby-proof the property before you have children anyway. However, if that is your ultimate goal, then it might be worth thinking about now. Are there any features that would pose a direct hazard to any future children you might have? In this case, it might make sense to address it now. In doing so, you can save time later. You should also think about the functionality of the property. Think about the layout and the flow of the rooms. Is it as functional as it could be? Think about how you can set out your home for optimal efficiency.

Speaking of function, it might also make sense to look into multifunctional pieces of furniture. It negates the need for surplus furniture and helps to save space. You can get extendable tables which allow you to accommodate guests. Sofa beds, murphy beds or even foldaway desks can all help. If the kids have smaller rooms, then you can get them bunk beds which have a desk underneath to save on floor space.

In Summary

Whenever you move into a home or redecorate, there are always bound to be a few teething problems which can be difficult to get to grips with. However, designing a home that your family can grow into has a number of benefits, namely longevity. Continually uprooting and moving as your family grows is incredibly tiresome. Luckily, with a few clever design ideas, you can help to future-proof your home.

Jeff Campbell