Kids. They are loud, rambunctious, messy… the list goes on, but my gosh, do we love them. Especially when they are your own. Much of what we do when we work to turn our houses into homes involves creating a special environment for our families to live, grow and build memories together in. So, it’s rather natural for us to think about planning the spaces in our homes around the little rug rats.
Space planning to meet the needs of mum, dad AND the kids can be a challenge because you are trying to fit everyone’s needs into one room. These are usually family rooms, living rooms and basements that have multi-functions. No matter how old your kid(s) are, they are a part of your home and should be considered in your plans. Whether you just moved into your first home, are renovating and redesigning your space or redecorating, here are some things to consider to plan your spaces around your kids to make them a place that everyone will love spending time in.
Before you start diving in and shopping for the finishes (we know, everyone loves the finishes!), you first need to think about the layout of the room and how you and your family intends to use the space. Why should this be your first step? If you don’t carefully consider intention, then your space may not end up functioning for you the way you want it to. Working with a designer can help with space planning if you are feeling stuck.
Ask yourself if the space is meant for just for the kids? Or is it a shared living space like a family room? Will the kids be working or playing in this room? Will you be working or conducting hobbies in this room (ie. watching TV, doing yoga, reading, etc)? Write down your intentions for the space and use this as a guide for your space plan. Understanding the intentions will help you select the right pieces and placement for your space.
Kids will be kids and they need to be encouraged to play, learn and explore as they grow. Giving them a designated space to do this in (outside of their bedroom) will help foster this. It will allow them to feel more connected and comfortable in this area of the home as it’s been designated as their own and as parents, you will feel more at ease knowing that you’ve delegated certain zones in the home for your kids so that you can maximize that precious family time together.
Designer tip: Revisit the topic of “zoning” to help you with this in our previous blog post: Is Your Basement Working for You?
Kids love soft things. We all do! It’s easy to admit when you feel a texture you just want to snuggle up to. To encourage play and discovery, fill a room with a mixture of different fabrics and finishes. Pay close attention to the durability of fabrics when ordering furnishing items such as sofas, pillows, ottomans, area rugs and armchairs as not all fabric material may stand the test of time. Look for a strong and durable fabric that is easy to clean and can stand up in high traffic areas of the home. The added bonus with soft finishes are that they are also safer for children to be playing around as you don’t have to worry about sharp corners
Designer tip: natural materials such as cotton, linen, flax and wool can be more susceptible to quicker wear and tear as opposed to synthetic fibers.
When purchasing furniture and cased goods for a space, consider if the room you are planning or redecorating has enough storage space. With kids, thoughtful storage solutions can seriously help keep clutter (and toys) at bay in a big way.
Console or sofa tables, buffet or media consoles, built-in shelving units, desks, baskets, ottomans and bins can all be used for clever storage systems in just about any room in the home. Smart storage ensures that everything in the room has a place so that when a mess is made (and it most certainly will with kids), clean up becomes more efficient as everyone knows where things need to go to be put away. Consider enclosed storage solutions with small children so there is less “stuff” for them to get into.
Know that random pile of mail, to-do’s, note to family members and other “stuff” that gets piled up in a corner of your home? Everyone has a spot like this that they cannot stand because the pile somehow manages to keep growing? A family command center is your answer for taming this pile and helping keep your family organized.
Think of a family command center as a one stop shop your family can go to for planning family related activities, managing or checking children’s busy extracurricular schedules, dealing with bills and mail, leaving notes or reminders for family members, etc. Sounds pretty amazing right? Check out some of these ideas below to help you build you own family command center so you can keep that random pile to a minimum and help your family keep organized.
No matter which tips you implement, thinking about function and longevity will be your best bet when it comes to planning a space with kids. You want to invest in the design and the furnishings so that they grow with your children and you won’t find you are re-doing a space over again as it didn’t work for your family the first time around.
Do it right the first time so you can spend more time storytelling, going to the park, playing dress up, building forts, creating enchanted Lego castles and making memories together.