Building a home is an exciting experience that many couples dream of. As children arrive and a family grows, many aspects of life change, including your home needs. Since building a home is an expensive (and stressful!) endeavor, avoid dissatisfaction and rework down the line by considering family needs upfront.
Consider Your Children
If you have or plan to have children, you need to consider them in the entire process from property location to interior and exterior home design.
Potential considerations may be:
- Is the neighborhood safe and child-friendly (e.g. playground close by, low-traffic street)?
- Is the property close to great schools?
- Are we close to their playmates and/or family? (Think babysitters and socialization opportunities.)
- Will we designate a place for them to do homework quietly?
- Is there an area of the home designated for play and/or toy storage?
- Will the home office or bedroom be located sufficiently close or away from the kids area?
- Will we have a pool? How will we protect our young children from wondering near the pool?
- Will the children share rooms or have separate rooms?
- Are there sufficient bathrooms? Will the kids share a bathroom?
Consider Life Once Your Children Move Out
I know it may seem like 18 (or 20 or 30!) years is a long time, but you will also find that it flies by in a blink! The rooms in your home, once designated for your toddlers, then teens, will be vacated as children move out or go off to college. What will you do?
Designer Lyndira Fowler suggests repurposing those rooms. For example, turn a vacant bedroom into a home office, home gym and so on. She also suggests these considerations be made up front so that parents aren’t caught off guard when they become empty nesters. That is, do we really need a room for each child or can they share?
Make It Child-Friendly
Imagine this. You spend thousands on high-end wallpaper and relish in its beauty each time you pass by. One day, you notice a little person admiring the wallpaper with a marker in hand. Your beautiful, expensive wallpaper is now the canvas for your toddler’s art. Wooooo sahhh!
Kid friendly design elements include:
- Washable sofa covers (or darker colored sofas)
- Vinyl flooring or carpet tiles
- Semi-gloss paint (marker, crayon and chalk wash off easily)
- Rounded furniture (to avoid bumps and bruises)
- Closed storage areas (to hide toys away)
- Kids’ counters (for home work or crafts)
- Smudge-proof stainless steel appliances
Related Content: Marriage or mortgage?
Remember to keep glass elements out of reach and to secure large items such as televisions, large mirrors and dressers. These can be potentially hazardous for children.
Consider Your Lifestyle
Do you enjoy watching movies together as a family? If so, you may want to prioritize a large living room with sight lines to the kitchen. Do your children love to chat with you as you cook? Consider a large kitchen island with stools. Is an open concept floor plan better suited to your family style or do you prefer compartmentalized?
One of our recent panelists, Dr. Sentra Johnson-Jordan shared on a recent Wife HER! Live that one of the mistakes she made was failing to put a door on her home office given she is working from home and has a teenager who loves to play music and video games. She cautioned home builders to think about their daily lifestyle and family structure and design with this in mind.
Purchase furniture that can work in both child and adult spaces and high quality pieces that can last for generations or at least a few years.
Note: If you think your children are going to destroy the furniture in a couple of years regardless of the price or quality, opt for inexpensive furniture. You know your family better than anyone!
We hope that you enjoy your home ownership journey and that you create a sanctuary for your family that will be filled with love, laughter and happy memories for years to come.