5 Things to Consider When Renovating or Designing a Kid-Friendly New Home
Designing or renovating a home is a huge and often stressful undertaking. You have to think about size, functionality, location, colors, furniture, appliances, outdoor space and more. When you’re trying to plan family space with your kids’ interests in mind, the decisions can be even more daunting.
Here are five things to consider when creating a home that is kid friendly.
1. Kids’ input in decision-making
Most people plan to spend at least a few years in their home. Unless your kids are very young, it’s a good idea to let them participate in a limited, but fun, way during the planning process. Paint color and accessories are easily changeable, and they’re things children can help with. If your child likes the idea of an airplane loft bed, for example, go for the loft and paint the walls around it like the sky. Add airplane-themed pillows and comforters to enjoy now. When he’s older, change the color and accessories, and it just becomes a cool place to hang out. The same is true of storage space — as long as it isn’t age specific. An assortment of cubes can corral wild stuffed animals now or house books and electronics later. You can let your kids personalize their space without completely taking over your design plan.
2. Room location and privacy issues
Your children’s ages might help you decide where to locate their rooms. If you’re building your house and have several children, consider a kids’ wing with at least one bathroom that they can share. A dedicated playroom or shared homework area could be nearby. If you’re renovating attic space, build a study area under the dormer and make a combination sleep/play room. For younger children, you may want to locate their rooms nearer to the master suite. Teenagers’ rooms may be better placed farther away to give them — and you — more privacy.
3. Pros and cons of built-in pieces
Built-ins can be space savers, but they’re also more permanent. If you make them simple enough, they can evolve alongside your kids. What is a drop-down surface for coloring or building Legos now, can be a desk for homework later. Built-in bookshelves and cabinets can serve kids of all ages. Changing the paint color and hardware ease the transition from toddler to teenager. Similarly, built- in captain-style beds give you the option of using the bottom drawer for storage today or to house a mattress for sleepovers down the road.
4. Giving it personality
This is where you can indulge your inner Peter Pan and create a fun, unique space. What about an indoor suspended hammock? A galaxy of swirling star lights on the ceiling? Kids love secret areas and private spaces. With large space (perhaps in an attic or basement), section it off with a bookcase wall. Pull out a special “book” to reveal a hidden room behind. An unused dormer in a child’s room or attic can become a comfortable reading nook. When children have adjoining rooms, consider a shared walk-in closet — ideal for a game of hide and seek or a chalkboard wall to draw on. If you put in a loft bed, enclose the bottom with a curtain — or two tied-back curtains to make an impromptu stage. A budding Picasso can use the underneath space as an art studio. Add some laminate flooring and a barre, and your little ballerina has a place to practice. If you have cathedral ceilings and active children, install a climbing wall (with cushions below, of course, that can double as a spot for a nap or story time).
5. Shared family spaces
If you’re finishing a full basement or attic, you can dedicate certain areas for kids and for adults. Stay away from purely kids’ décor to make the space more adaptable as your children. You can also consider dividing the space to an office for you and a play area for them. A shared central space may include a sectional sofa with a large-screen TV for family movie nights. Make use of what you thought was unusable — the area underneath a staircase or under an attic’s sloped roof. Both offer unique storage possibilities, as well as a homework nook or crafting space. If you have teenagers, make a hangout room where they can gather with friends. Depending on the amount of space you have, the possibilities are endless.
Ask your kids what would make them happy. It doesn’t have to be cost prohibitive. All you need is to plan carefully and get your creative juices flowing.
To learn more about LDa Architects Architecture & Interiors, please visit www.lda-architects.com.This is a paid partnership between LDa Architecture and Interiors and Boston Magazine's City/Studio