If you think back to life before kids, you probably paid little attention to practicality and health and safety when decorating your home. Fast forward a few years, and life is completely different.
When you have children, you want your home to be a safe place, but you also want to create a space that everyone loves. You don’t have to sacrifice the wow factor or put your passion for interior design on the backburner just because you’re a parent.
It is possible to have it all! Here are some top tips for a home that is both family-friendly and fabulous.
Making the most of the space you have available
When your family grows, there’s often a need for more space. Even tiny babies come with a vast amount of stuff, and before you know it, those bundles of joy have grown up and are tearing around the house with all kinds of toys in tow.
If space is at a premium in your home, it’s essential to take advantage of every square inch. Think about how you could use the space you have to increase versatility and functionality, and consider projects that could create new rooms. If you’ve got an attic that is currently full of boxes or a basement that is empty, it might be worth getting some quotes to see how much it would cost to convert the space into usable living areas.
Basements are great for games rooms, playrooms, and spacious kitchens, while attic rooms are ideal for bedrooms and workspaces. If you plan to stick around for a while, you’d benefit from extra space, and you’re keen to add value, these projects are worth considering.
You may also wish to think about extending, or to toy with the idea of knocking walls down if you have separate reception rooms downstairs. If you’ve got a small kitchen, a laundry room, and a dining room, for example, you could knock through to produce a large, open-plan family kitchen.
If you are short on space, and you don’t have the option to extend, remodel or convert a loft or basement, there are ways you can make your rooms more versatile. If you take a guest room, for example, you could turn this from an area that is suitable for visitors into a room that can be used for doing homework, working from home or indulging creative hobbies like painting or writing.
Rather than opting for a traditional bed frame, mattress and headboard, go for a daybed or a sofa bed, as this will take up a lot less space. Use wall-mounted shelves to free up floor space and place a desk and chair against the wall. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, and you’ve got a room that can be used by every member of the family.
Spending time together
Most of us complain that we don’t have enough time. If you work long hours, you travel for work, or you’re in charge of caring for relatives, it can be difficult to find time to spend with the family.
It’s good for everyone to have their own space, but you also want it to be easy to get together and hang out. You can do this by creating spaces that are geared towards family time. Most of us spend the majority of our time in the kitchen. If the kitchen is the heart of your home, consider how you could make it more family-friendly.
Are you able to cook and chat at the same time, for example? Is it possible for you to help the kids with their schoolwork while you’re sorting out dinner? Can you all spend time together without getting on top of each other?
If you’d like to make the kitchen the heart of the home, there are lots of ways you can make the space more versatile. Section off different areas to produce a room that serves a variety of purposes. If you’ve got a large dining table, for example, you can use this to work, entertain and just sit back and catch up and the kids can play games, get arty or do their schoolwork. If you’ve got a sofa and a TV, you can enjoy a movie together after dinner or watch your favorite program as you rustle up lunch on the weekends.
Away from the kitchen, you can also use other rooms in the house to promote family bonding. Add beanbag chairs to your living room to make it fun and accessible for your children, use innovative storage boxes to turn a playroom back into a living room in seconds, and add fun touches to make your home more family-friendly. You could add a blackboard wall in the kitchen, for example.
A garden for everyone
There’s nothing better than playing around outside, especially on a sunny day. As statistics show that inactivity is increasingly commonplace among adults and children, it’s more important than ever to take advantage of your outdoor space and create a garden for everyone.
You don’t have to have a sprawling estate to design a garden that will enchant children and provide respite for adults. Even if you have limited space, there’s a vast array of options open to you. If you have a blank canvas, one of the best things you can do to create a space that caters to everyone is separate areas using different materials, colors, or themes. You could use decking, paving, bark or rubber chips and turf to make a series of zones that are geared towards, adults, children, and time together.
If you enjoy entertaining, lay down some decking and paving and add a dining table and chairs. Place some free-standing lanterns and a parasol to finish. If you want a play area for young children, put some goals out on your turf, fit a basketball net to the side of the house, and look into sunken sandpits.
If you’ve got older kids, you could set up a mini obstacle course with planks, logs, and stepping stones in a bark pit. You could also use your imagination to create areas such as an enchanted forest with a woodland cottage made from an old shed, or a beach scene with sand, deck chairs and a shed painted in stripes like a vintage beach hut.
If you need ideas, or you’re keen to follow tutorials, you’ll find a wealth of resources online. Aside from zones that are suited to either adults or children, you can also establish areas that are ideally suited to spending time together. An oasis is a great idea. Everybody needs time out, and what better place to catch up, wind down and relax together than in the garden?
Hang some hammocks from the trees, lay out some floor cushions, and grab some blankets to enjoy downtime together. You could also use string lights and scented plants like lavender to add ambiance.
We all want our homes to look incredible, but they should also be a safe haven. If you have young kids, it’s wise to take some simple steps to protect them and reduce the risk of injuries. Use stair gates and drawer and cupboard locks to prevent accidents, keep potentially dangerous chemicals and medicines in locked units and avoid fitting blinds with hanging cords.
If you’ve got young children who are unsteady on their feet, it’s a good idea to cover sharp edges on tables and chests. When you’re looking at textures and paints, opt for eco-friendly products and natural materials.
Stress is something we associate with adults, but research shows that it is affecting children at a younger age than ever before. As a parent, it’s beneficial to ensure that your home is a retreat for your kids, as well as you and your husband. If you’re revamping bedrooms, you may want to inject some serious fun into your kids’ rooms, but don’t underestimate the importance of relaxation.
If your child’s bedroom doubles up as a playroom, create two distinctive areas. One to play, and one to rest and sleep. Keep toys, books, and games stored away in boxes, crates and shelving units, and set up a comfortable space to read books, listen to music and chill out before bed. Think about the colors you use carefully. Pastels and neutral shades are best for sleeping quarters.
Family-friendly doesn’t have to mean dull or clinical. You can have a safe haven that also looks beautiful. If you’re eager to enjoy the best of both worlds, take advantage of the space you have available, create areas that are geared towards both family time and taking time out, and design a home that makes you feel happy, content, and at ease.