It’s easy to take it for granted while growing up, but creating a loving, cosy family home is a huge undertaking. Lots of idealistic young parents dream of owning their own home and making it a house of light, love, and fun – but creating that space takes a lot of creativity and effort.
One of the hardest things about adapting a space from two adults to include a child is finding storage! It’s hard to imagine beforehand how much stuff they accumulate, so having designated spaces for things is a lifesaver. A spare room, like a front room can be used to great advantage and turned into a playroom that grows with your kids – starting out as a baby-changing station with a toybox to eventually creating a shared space for video games. The advantage of making a play room is that you can still supervise without encroaching on your kids’ privacy, something they’ll value during their teen years.
Of course, in communal spaces such as the kitchen, bathroom, living room, dining room or office, it’s important to work to meet everybody’s needs. From a safety perspective, this means keeping adult stuff out of a child’s reach. Still, it’s easy to make features that allow them to get involved and make every room a family room – like a step to reach the kitchen sink, storage spaces, and using photographs and drawings as decor.
Recently I wrote some tips for creating shared rooms for your kids, but in general your kid’s bedroom will be the area of the house where they get to make decisions, often for the first time. While you’ll make the bigger decisions about furniture and storage, make sure they are involved in some of the smaller decisions. It’s no use buying a bed your child finds uncomfortable, and it’s a good idea to let them also choose their own bedding and some of the pictures and photos for the walls. This way they have a space that’s their own and where they can feel safe and free.
One of the best things about a suburban or country house is having a gorgeous back garden. It has the potential to make so many great memories, so use it wisely. For playtime, a basketball hoop provides endless hours of fun, while a bigger space might involve buying and installing a play frame or swings. You can also get your kids involved in gardening with you, with easy plants like sunflowers perfect for budding green fingers, or find out more about how to attract more birds into the garden for nature lovers.
photo credit: Ikea