Do you remember when you were a child going to Grandma’s house which felt more like a museum than a home? You know the one with strict rules about not touching anything and where you felt like you couldn’t move (or even breathe) without someone telling you to stop. At the other extreme, there were the visits to a cool friend’s home where it was complete chaos. All over the house were toys and half-completed crafts. Children could roam free without any boundaries or limits.
Most people will agree that the ideal family living environment is somewhere in-between these two examples. One of the beauties of building from scratch is that you can create the ideal family-friendly home. A home where every member of the household can co-exist in … well … harmony – right? It should be a worry-free environment for kids to grow, learn and express their creativity but also a stylish place for adults too.
By incorporating a few design features for the kids into your new home design, your new home can be perfect for your entire family.
Choose Indestructible Flooring
While hardwood may be the flooring of choice for many people, even the most durable hardwood is susceptible to damage. It can scratch from toys or furniture being dragged across it. It can dent when heavy toys are dropped on it. It can become damaged from excessive moisture. And it will show wear more easily than other flooring choices – especially in heavy traffic areas.
Instead choose a good-quality laminate floor which is virtually impossible to destroy and looks incredibly realistic nowadays. Since laminate is made from pressed wood, it is more durable and resistant to scratches, moisture, and wear and tear. It is also easier to clean. And if that weren’t enough, it is less expensive than hardwood flooring.
If we haven’t convinced you to give laminate a try and you don’t want to give up your hardwood flooring, then consider a rustic, pre-distressed hardwood with a matte, non-skid finish.
If you decide to carpet some or all the rooms in your home, consider up-grading to a stain-resistant carpet. We can all remember the time when a toddler dropped their glass of red fruit juice on your new white carpet. As it crashed down, it instantly soaked into the carpet and spread as far as it could in every direction creating an unsightly red spot right in the middle of your room.
In homes with older children, spills on your carpet may not be an everyday occurrence but you probably deal with dirty shoes and dropped food.
Wouldn’t it be nice if it didn’t take hours of scrubbing to get rid of the mess?
The magic of a stain resistant carpet is that it is coated with a chemical finish that repels dirt or liquids. This coating prevents stains from settling in. Keep in mind that no carpet is 100 percent stain-proof, but stain-resistant carpets makes it easier to remove most spills and other messes quickly and without permanent damage.
Make Space for Kids
Rarely will young children play in the basement or off in their second floor bedroom. Typically you’ll find them underfoot, playing in the doorway to the kitchen or taking over your entire great room. Instead of fighting with their natural play areas, try to make room for them.
Carve out areas in common rooms for them to do the things that they enjoy. For instance, if they enjoy making crafts, then consider making room for them to do this activity in the kitchen. Planning a designated place for them at the beginning of your build allows you to create a safe place for them to express their creativity. It also allows you to plan for it and incorporate features like savvy storage solutions. In this example, adding an extra child-height cupboard in the kitchen to store all their crafting materials is also an easy way to manage the extra clutter.
Controlling the chaos in an entryway may seem like a far-off dream but with the right approach even this area can be managed.
Our Broadview homes offer the option of adding lockers and benches to a mudroom. Each family member can have their own locker and the benches provide additional storage spaces for items that are used less often.
Kids may find putting their coat on a hanger to be too much work, so they often do better with low-hanging hooks – which are also good for hanging school bags. And while kicking off your shoes would be the preferred method. Most kids can adapt to sitting down to take off their shoes then picking them up and putting them in a locker.
You may not be able to get them to always close the locker door but at least you have the option of closing it when you don’t want to see their muddy shoes.
Sharing a Family Bathroom
If you had siblings growing up, then you probably recall fighting with them over who was going to use the sink at bedtime. You both had to brush your teeth at the same time but the other one was always in the way.
A simple solution to this bedtime ritual is to add a second sink to the main bathroom. Presto, no more sibling fights – well, at least, not about the sink.
For very young children, another consideration in the bathroom is to tile the walls halfway or even all the way to the top. This little change allows for easier clean-up of toothpaste caked walls, muddy handprints and accidental toilet misses. Tiles are also more durable than plain walls.
Kids can create a lot of messes around the home. And active children can be extremely hard on your home. But, a few simple design changes, thoughtful planning, and tweaks to your new home materials in the design phase can help you create a longer-lasting, kid-friendly home that’s clean, organized, safe – and fun for all.