Think of the Needs. There’s no such thing as “the perfect family home,” purely because everyone family is different! Before you get too deep into planning your house, you’ll want to think about what you and your family want and need from a house. This will be influenced by how many children you have, how old they are, and what they like to do (e.g., are they athletic or more academic?). Of course, you’ll also want to keep your plans at the forefront of your mind too: if you’re planning on having several more children in the coming years, then you’ll need to factor that into the process, too.
Some homes are naturally better suited for families than others. If you’re currently living in a flat, for example, then it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s unlikely to be suitable for a growing family! If you only have one or two children, then look at buying a bungalow; it’ll provide the space you need inside, all the while adding an outside space for your children to play in too. Beyond the type of house, it’s also worth thinking about the location of the property. For example, you’ll want to be close to schools, parks, and other important family amenities. It’s always a good idea to get a headstart on these types of things, ideally well in advance of your child beginning school, as it can take a long time to find a property that meets all of your criteria.
Your house is going to be many things. One of the most important functions it’ll perform is that of ‘makeshift babysitter.’ Of course, we don’t mean that literally – but it can help you to keep an eye on your little ones, or at least it can if you have an open floor plan. If your kitchen flows into your dining area, which in turn flows into living room, then you’ll be able to keep an eye on your children while you’re taking care of the essential household duties.
You might plan on designing your home with family connectivity in mind, but it’s important to remember that everyone in your household is also an individual. And as such, they’ll need a space that they can call their own, and where they can be free to enjoy their passions and interests. At a minimum, it’s recommended that everyone has their own bedroom – and crucially, has the final say over the look and feel of it. This can help promote creativity, autonomy, and will also allow your child to have a platform where they can express themselves. If you have a spare room, look at adding a room that’s just for children’s play. This will have a number of benefits; for one, it’ll help keep the mess that they make to one specific area. It’ll also give them a space to play in, which means you’ll be able to unwind in another part of the home undisturbed.
There should be one room in the house that’s dedicated to bringing the family together for movies, cosy nights in, and all around good times. The obvious option for this is the living room. With this room, you should keep one eye on style, but the main focus should be on making it comfortable and a place where everyone wants to be. In the afternoons, this will be a spot for children to watch television and play; in the evenings, everyone can curl up and watch a film together. Make sure you have enough pillows, throws, and that the seating is extra comfortable!
OK, there’s no getting around the fact that children can be messy. Indeed, that’s just part and parcel of having a family: if there’s no mess, then something isn’t right! As such, it’s important that you choose the right materials for your home, ones that will make it comfortable, but also safe and easy to clean. Hardwood floors, for example, will be much more durable than carpets.
Every family, to varying degrees, is active, and consequently, it’ll be a good idea to have a room where you can dump all those messy sporting clothes, hiking boots, and other muddy gear that would disrupt the flow of the house it’s not contained. If possible, make it at the back of the house, near the garden, which is likely to be where most of the mess comes from.
There was an interesting television show shown a couple of years ago. In it, a family lived life as it were 1950 one day, 1951 the next, 1952 the day after that, and so on up until present day. What it found was that as technology improved and become more personal, the time that the family spent together reduced. Instead of sitting around a table playing board games, everyone was in their own bedroom, playing video games! We can learn something from this. In your house, dedicate one room as a ‘tech-free’ zone. When you’re in there, it won’t be about Playstations or smartphones: it’ll be a detox from the connected modern world, a space for the family to enjoy time together without the aid of technology.
And talking of tech-free zones, what about a kid-free zone? When you’re thinking about making a home that works for all members of the family, it’s important to remember that you are one of the family members we’re talking about! You need to ensure that all of your needs are met, and by adding a room where you can relax without being bothered by your children, you’ll be able to build up the energy needed to be at your brilliant parenting best.
The inside of the home is important, but let’s not forget about the garden. In spring and summer, that’s going to be the highlight of the home. You can make sure it’s children and adult friendly by adding things like outdoor games, tables and chairs, and a BBQ. When the weather outside is fine, you won’t have to find other ways to keep the family entertained; you can simply move into the back garden, and spend long hours in the sunshine. It’s always a good idea to start planning your garden well in advance of spring and summer, and this will mean that it’s ready to go when the good weather finally rolls around.
Every home deserves to have a few touches of luxury scattered throughout the property. However, it’s worth keeping in mind that if you have a family, it might not be the best idea to load up the house with expensive goods. It might get broken! However, that doesn’t mean your home can’t have those luxurious touches. Try to limit them just to a couple of rooms, such as your bedroom and a second living room, if you have one.
There is an art to staying sane when you have children but want to have a tidy home. If you’re following your children around, imploring them not to make a big mess, then you’ll already have lost the battle. Instead, have set times during the day when you have a collective tidy up; it’ll get your children into the habit of picking up after themselves, and you’ll be able to let some mess go, knowing that it’ll be taken care of in a few hours.
We can often forget, as adults, that life can be pretty magical. If you have young children, then why not sparkle your home with magic, creating a fantasy world that sparks the imagination in the process? There are some amazing bedroom designs that look like they’re straight out of a fairy tale, for instance. In the garden, you can also add fairy lights, and make the most of the best garden projects that add those classy yet imaginative touches.
Finally, remember always to have one on the future when you’re putting together your family home. If you don’t plan on being there forever, then avoid making the big changes that’ll be costly but may not necessarily add value to your house. Part of making sure a home works for the family is ensuring it is beneficial to the family’s finances!