Families are made up of individuals — young children, teenagers, parents, possibly infants, and aging loved ones. They all have different needs and wants for the home. So, how do you create a space that caters to everyone? Is it even possible to design a home that indulges active little ones while keeping the surroundings chic and elegant? It is with these tips from GTG Builders!
#1 Evaluate Your Situation
Before spending the afternoon at Pottery Barn or West Elm, consider your kiddos' ages and activity levels. If you still have toddlers who take a tumble every third step, should you really purchase a glass-top coffee table adorned with easy-to-swallow knickknacks?
In that same vein, though a sleek, white couch elevates any room, will juice stains or baby spit-up threaten its hue at every turn? Remember these considerations as you embrace custom family design in your new home.
#2 Welcome Color and Patterns
All cute family homes need personality — and you don't get that with plain white walls! White is a popular color because it adds lightness and serenity to every room. But how often do those white walls actually stay white? Add a few dirty handprints and some spilled orange juice, and the effect changes. Luckily, today's trends embrace thoughtful pattern placement, so opting for whimsical wallpaper, statement walls, or lively couches is a no-brainer. Darker shades and ornamentation can cleverly hide spills or stains — think Grandmillennial, botanical prints, Moroccan rugs, and globally-inspired accessories, among other 2022 trends.
Your kiddos will appreciate the look too! Kids like high-contrast, bright colors, cheerful art, and oversized shapes. So choose patterned kid-friendly wallpaper, pillows, and other types of welcoming decor!
#3 Choose Hearty Materials
Sorry folks, but silk and lace do not stand up to the wrath of a five-year-old. And let's not return to the bygone era of covering upholstery with plastic. While it can seem like extreme measures are necessary until kids reach the age of spatial awareness, you'll quickly get tired of furniture covered with hazmat material. Instead, invest in tough fabrics that let kids be kids.
Scrubbable Paint – Walls and baseboards endure a significant beating, but if you stick to eggshell, semigloss, or satin finishes, you'll save yourself a lot of stress. Also, many big-name brands have washable mattes capable of staying put after a solid scrub-down.
Thick Fabrics – Save delicate fabrics for retirement. While cohabitating with kids, look for options like denim, wool, vinyl, leather, pleather, or anything blended with synthetics. Washable slipcovers, Scotchgard, and stain-resistant finishes help key pieces last.
Durable Flooring – Carpet may feel cozy but retains smells and stains like no other fabric. Look for flooring that wipes easily with mild soap and water, including laminate, tile, wood, or linoleum. If you're worried about falls, you can always add a few (patterned) area rugs in high-traffic areas.
#4 Create Boundaries
Give kids their space. If you don't want curious hands exploring your grandmother's china, designate adult zones from kiddo play areas. Give little ones a room where finger-painting, tumbling, and experimental music composition are encouraged — no ceramic sculptures or Waterford Crystal allowed. These personalized spaces — from toddler rooms to teen hangouts — keep messes contained.
Why should your kids have all the fun? Treat yourself to an adults-only zone. Can't resist a white couch and white carpeted floors? Keep it in the formal living room...behind French doors. You can have a room that's all your own, but work with a contractor to keep the space separate from the kids and set away from the other living spaces in the house, so it's not a target.
#5 Get Creative
Fear not if a playroom isn't possible with your current floor plan. There are more ways to combine class and durability. For example, solid wood makes for a smooth, durable, and beautiful kid-proof dining table; featuring splatter-paint details can provide a fun and colorful addition to your space.
You love painted stairs? Distress them to make inevitable wear-and-tear look purposeful (this trick works great for kitchen cabinets, as well). But whatever you do, prepare each space to be inhabited by children or dogs. True, marble floors and satin throw pillows feel fabulous but so do sticky, loving hands on your cheeks.
#6 Design Your Home for Small People
One thing you never realize until you have children is how most building and design features assume all people are approximately the same height. Children make up nearly a third of the population, yet our interior spaces give them almost no consideration.
After you've lifted your 4-year-old up to a sink in a public bathroom for the 4-millionth time, you'll realize how short-sighted tall counters really are. Design a home for your child's convenience with these creative tweaks:
- A custom-made bathroom vanity or kitchen cabinet with a built-in under-cabinet stool makes reaching easier for your little ones.
- Low to the ground coat hooks allow your kiddos to reach their jacket or sweater when it's time to go.
- A specially placed closet rod, low to the ground, enables your kindergartener to choose their own clothes and put them away when they make a mess!
If you have a dedicated toy room in your home, install small shelves that your child can access and clean up on their own. Once your child grows up, the features in your house can grow up with them. Make sure the shelves you install are easy to replace — no built-in shelves that are a child's height.
#7 Give Them a Wall to Draw On
Kids love to draw on walls, so why not give them a wall meant entirely for their personalized art? Paint one wall of their home with magnetic chalkboard paint. Doing this enables your child to create endless chalk drawings — or use magnets to pin their favorite paper drawings to the wall! Chalkboard paint comes in different colors and can be added to multiple house rooms, including common spaces like your kitchen. Giving your child a place where they can draw on your kitchen wall gives them something to do while you're making delicious meals.
#8 Install Rounded Furniture
Even older children tend to bump into furniture, run into corners, and hurt themselves as they rush from one part of the house to the other. Install furniture like a kid-friendly coffee table with rounded edges to prevent accidents. If your children are especially young, install padding on corners to avoid bruises and head injuries.
#9 Let Them Pick
If your child is of the age where they can make decisions for themselves, let them make choices that control their environment. Let them choose the furniture in their room, the color of their walls, style of their closet door. These little gestures give them an early sense of responsibility and control over their space and can help them develop a healthy respect for your parts of the house.
Craft Your Custom Family Home with GTG Builders
Create the home for your family with GTG Builders. We guide you to your custom home with 65 years of experience building happy family homes under our belts. Get in touch with GTG today to get started.