Designing a Functional Family Home: 10 Simple Steps with the Help of an Interior Designer in Sitges
Having children is like an emotional whirlwind that shakes your home. Where before there was order and calm, now there is spontaneity. If your life is also full of moments of finding objects in unusual spaces (stuffed animals in the dishwasher and unwanted objects in the washing machine) while others mysteriously disappear, this article is for you.
Integrating your children's world with your own world, without giving up living in a home where you find your own balance, is possible.
I am Jimena, an Interior Designer in Sitges, passionate about creating functional and beautiful homes. I am also the mother of Carolina and Andrés, so I have experienced first-hand the beautiful emotional whirlwind that are my children. In this article I teach you how to design a family home that works, now and as your children grow, in 10 easy steps.
1. A well-functioning family home begins with a good layout.
When we build a family, family interaction becomes the central pillar of the design. How we interact with our children relies heavily on the layout of your home.
Homes that work best are those which have an open concept layout.
According to the 'Britain at home report', the rooms in which we spend the most time during the day are the living room, kitchen and dining room, which constitute 63% of our daytime.
Creating an open concept kitchen-dining-living room layout improves the use of these multifunctional spaces, where we not only cook, eat and watch TV, but also share quality family moments such as playing, playing sports, entertaining ourselves...
The open concept allows you to spend time as a family, even when we do different tasks (cooking, working, homework, entertainment...).
If you think about how technologies will evolve in the future, and the barriers they will pose to family interaction, the design of open concept spaces will help you establish better bonds with your children in the long term.
The keys to a good open concept scheme are:
✓ Good lighting.
✓ Create direct access to the garden or terrace and make sure you have a visual connection to keep the little ones supervised.
✓ You can achieve a total open concept without partitions or have visual connection through glass partitions.
✓ Plan to do your daily tasks while supervising your children or watching them play.
✓ Choose a minimalist and functional look.
✓ Make sure you have enough storage so that everything has its place (including toys)
✓ Create a relaxed atmosphere, you can incorporate seats such as soft beanbags, floor cushions, among others to create extra seats. It will help you introduce a bit of style while creating a chillout atmosphere.
2. A kitchen to share, create and stimulate the senses
In recent years, the kitchen has gone from being a merely functional space to being a place where we create life every day.
Designing an office-style kitchen, with an island or peninsula, helps to create shared moments, from preparing a meal and enjoying it to sharing the same space doing different activities.
The 'Britain at home' study explains that the kitchen has become the preferred place to entertain our guests (leaving the living room behind). And luckily, the trend of having a banquet prepared for your guests arrival is obsolete! What is most important now is sharing that moment of preparing…
Here are some practical tips:
✓ Design a kitchen with an island or peninsula. This will create family meeting points that give a lot of life.
✓ The kitchen has a very important role in the growth of the little ones. In the kitchen you learn, you play, motor skills are developed and the senses, reasoning, visual memory are stimulated... design an accessible and safe kitchen: cleaning kit at everyone's level and dangers out of the reach of the little ones are some ideas.
✓ Furniture adapted for the little ones. For example, a learning tower to go up and down safely and participate in preparing a delicious pizza together.
3. Rooms designed to evolve
Bedrooms are quieter and more intimate rooms, both for the little ones and for you, and their location is key.
When your children are small, it is best for their room to be as close to yours as possible, so you will be two steps away when they need you. However, as they grow, both of you might need more distance, so if you can afford it, have an extra bedroom away from yours. The use of this bedroom will change over time, but it will give you a great flexibility.
Keep the following key aspects in mind:
✓ Design rooms to fulfill more than one use. Create different corners depending on the room: a reading area, space for a desk or a dressing table.
✓ Design your children's rooms taking into account their evolution from babies to children and teens, without the need to completely readjust the rooms.
✓ Choose furniture in neutral tones, which will give a feeling of greater spaciousness.
✓ Make sure it has enough storage space and that it meets your needs.
✓ Use color for children's rooms, creating a happy and carefree atmosphere. If you are designing a shared room, don't limit yourself to 'stereotypical' colors, use neutral or unisex colors like green.
✓ Add character and life through the pieces you choose, adding your own style. Painting an entire room in very bright colors can seem a little overwhelming, however a yellow puff in a neutral room can be a beautiful touch.
4. A private space: your office
Just as there are ideal rooms to share, we also need to be able to isolate ourselves and maintain our privacy.
Although there is a tendency to design your entire home around children, I am in favour of maintaining your own space in certain areas.
Working from home is increasingly on the rise, so you may have already experienced that sharing your office with your children is not the most efficient way to make your work day efficient.
That is why having a studio or work area can become your little oasis.
If you want to design your home studio, don't miss the article Create a workspace at home: the vision of an Interior Designer.
5. A game room
Designing a room or playroom designed to evolve as your children do is ideal. It has multiple benefits: from accompanying your child through all its phases (absorbing the outside world like a sponge and learning to reason to understanding humanity and contributing to their small inventions and finding their own place in the world).
The benefits for you are also multiple, from controlling clutter during childhood to giving you the flexibility of an extra room during your teenage years.
6. Bathrooms for the whole family
It is recommended one bathroom for every two rooms. Ideally the master room would also have its own en-suite bathroom, separate from the family bathroom.
Here I give you some practical tips for designing family bathrooms:
✓ Use double sinks and large illuminated mirrors. This will allow more than one person to use the bathroom at a time.
✓ If you have small children, you will need both a bathtub and shower.
✓ Save space by eliminating the bidet and installing a recessed bidet faucet.
✓ Enough storage for bath toys, towels, etc.
7. Plan for wear and durability
Choose materials, accessories and finishes that are easy to maintain and long lasting.
My best tips:
✓ Quality before quantity, always.
✓ Choose durable fabrics that can be cleaned, high-wear rugs.
✓ Choose wooden furniture that will resist wear and tear. Especially the dining room table. You can, for example, choose a reclaimed wood table.
✓ Avoid glass surfaces, they will look dirty very quickly.
8. Don't give up tidyness
It is not about learning to live with clutter, but about planning the storage of your home so that living in order is something easy to achieve.
✓Think about your daily activities, what you do when you get home and where you leave your cell phone, your wallet, your bag.... and create storage areas to organize those things.
✓ Custom storage is the best way to take advantage of your space.
✓ Create storage accessible to the little ones so that they can also help you organize. Even at the entrance you can include a coat rack at the height of the little ones.
It is estimated that 30% of the surface area of your home should be used for storage.
✓ Design wardrobes that will allow you to easily store everything you need and that you can close the doors, forgetting about the inevitable chaos of everyday life.
✓ Cabinets with plugs to charge electronic devices.
✓ Furniture with double functionality that helps you reduce clutter (sofas, poufs and canapes with storage are some examples).
If you want to learn how to design a more flexible home, don't miss the article The lessons of covid 19: designing multifunctional interiors.
9. Your style without condemning yourself
Our tastes and preferences change over time, so choosing a neutral and functional style in paintings and furniture will give you long-term flexibility.
You can add your own style through fabrics, accessories, and some accent pieces.
10. Enjoy your home and prepare for the change
Homes, like people, must be prepared for change. Both you and your children will change over the years, you will change your tastes and try a thousand new hobbies...