Family home designs

In a real family home with real kids, no room is sacred. It’s a myth that you can contain them and their gear and continue life as carefree grown-ups. It simply will not happen.

The trade-off, however, is that a home without them would be less vibrant. It would lack the spontaneity and excitement that their energy brings to a space.

Of course, children should have their special kids’ zone; an area that’s tuned into their activities, interests and passions. It’s a place where you can be clever with furniture and storage options, and be playful with colour schemes for tots to teens. But don’t forget about safety – it’s incredibly important when you’re designing for kids.

Think of the Future

Territorial areas for children are generally the bedroom, playroom and family room and all should feel welcoming and safe. Whether you’re preparing for the arrival of a new baby or renovating because the children have outgrown their old bedrooms, do your homework first in terms of planning. Establish some priorities. Will the rooms be shared? And will the rooms be used progressively by more than one child? Will the bedroom double as a play area? Is the room suitable to adapt to more furniture in the years to come? Can extra storage be added later? Is the flooring hard-wearing and able to cope with mess, yet be kind to little feet?

Let’s be honest here, many children’s rooms are created by parents for parents. It’s the grown-ups who find the paraphernalia associated with children (and babies) too exciting to resist. Indeed for first-time parents it’s all part of the fun of their new role in life.

A general rule with designing for children is to avoid the permanent fixtures and fittings of childhood; they can be rapidly outgrown and become redundant. For example, built-in, small-scale furniture and painted fairytale motifs will inevitably become hugely uncool in pre-teen years.

Keeping the decoration simple and selecting furniture with easy-care surfaces is a practical approach for children’s bedrooms. After the baby and toddler stages, your children will decorate the space themselves with their toys, photographs, posters, artworks and general clutter.

It’s a good idea to get the basics right from the beginning. Keep an eye to the years ahead, and carry out any structural alterations like replacing windows, putting in extra power points (the computer, DVD player, television and mobile phone charger are mandatory in teen years) and installing heating, or even an ensuite.

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