Families come in all shapes and sizes. Whether you live alone; with friends, housemates or a partner; or are part of a large multi-generational household, it’s clear that 21st century families mean something different for everyone. A traditional nuclear family is no longer the norm.
There are many cultural and socio-economic reasons why families ‘look’ different to how they did a decade or two ago: many 20-somethings are returning to live with their parents after university and elderly relatives are moving into their children’s homes as they grow older. Add to this the increase of blended families and home offices, then we find that our homes no longer meet our changing requirements.
Houses often have to work harder than they once did, with spaces taking on a more flexible, multipurpose function. Open and broken plan living is increasing in popularity and homes with more traditional layouts are finding they have to perform several roles
If a renovation project is on the cards, think about how best to use the additional space you’ll be creating. If you’re catering for increased numbers, a large open plan kitchen/dining/living space might be the most practical solution for you. Converting a garage, outbuilding or a loft into a granny-annexe or student flat provides extended family with the privacy they need while remaining part of the family unit. A basement could make an excellent entertaining area, games room, or teenage hang-out. If you have high ceilings or an open gable roof, investigate the possibility of creating a mezzanine.
Smaller projects, such as adding an ensuite bathroom to one end of a bedroom or converting an under-stairs cupboard to a washroom could give you the additional facilities that a growing family demands.
If building work is not practical, think about whether any existing rooms could take on an extra function; can a guest bedroom double up as an office or is there a landing or gallery space which is large enough for a study or reading area?
When space is at a premium it can be difficult trying to find workable solutions. Flexible thinking may be required in terms of space and function.
Get in the zone
Zoning is an excellent way of dividing up large spaces that need to take on several roles. Using furniture to separate areas is common but ‘rooms’ can also be created by varying the style of flooring or the way in which it is laid. Changing plank or tile direction provides continuity of design while defining separate areas: a change in floor colour makes a statement about where one ‘room’ ends and another begins.
If your home has smaller rooms, lay planks or tiles along the length to elongate a space and across to widen. A 45-degree angle, herringbone or chevron pattern can also create the illusion of a larger interior. Other tricks can be used to create the impression of space: add wall mirrors, ensure unrestricted window views, and minimise clutter.
Being clever with space
If storage is an issue, clever thinking may be necessary. Create shelf space along hallways, under stairs or in alcoves. Make the most of storage space under or at the end of beds or combine storage with an additional sleeping or seating area. Choose furniture that can perform more than one function: a sofa that can double-up as a bed or a table that has drawers.
Whatever size of project you undertake in your home, it’s always worth considering how your needs may change in the future. If you think you’ll be renovating again soon, look at room layouts that are easy to adapt or décor that can changed. Our Karndean LooseLay and Korlok ranges for example are perfect for both temporary and permanent flooring as they are quick and easy to install with little or no adhesive and fit over imperfect subfloors. The pre-attached acoustic foam backing reduces noise transfer to rooms below by up to 19dB making these formats ideal flooring solutions for playrooms, home offices, bedrooms or loft conversions.
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