Maximize Your Living Space to Accommodate a Growing Family

maximize your living space

Every family changes over time. It changes in number and maturity of its family members. At first, you usually have two people. The two people have children and the children go through different phases as they grow up. Some of us had their parents move in, others had their nephews in to be closer to a university.

The economy we live in today does not allow for families with a lot of children to live in mansions. These are all reasons why we need to find creative ways of fitting in a growing number of people of all ages in the same amount of space and shuffle them around as the “demographics” change.

Build an extension

Building an extension or extensions is your first and most obvious way of accommodating extra family members. If you own a house with a backyard, you can even build a separate unit. You can use it as an apartment for elderly family members or your adolescent children. This will give them some privacy, yet, they will still be under your supervision.

If the size of your backyard does not allow this, or you prefer to have that space for your family outdoor activities, look for another extension possibility. Can you build one above your garage or anywhere on the ground floor so it actually makes sense?

An extension is a perfect way to preserve or improve the level of comfort each of your family members initially had. Since you are already spending money on this, make sure you do it properly. The entrance to the new room should be from the backyard or from a hallway of your house, not through someone else’s room or a bathroom.

Re-purpose rooms

Bedrooms are what we are mostly short on, followed by the frequently used shared areas. Use rooms in your house which do not serve either of these purposes and remodel them. Attics and basements are mostly used as storage, a laundry room or a closet are not a necessity as such. Even a garage, if you are really short on space, can be used to accommodate an extra tenant. Alternatively, you can use it for both your car and a storage room and free up space in your basement. Speaking of the basement, it is a perfect apartment for your teenage children or a playroom.

However, due to, what usually is a great number of stairs, and a small amount of daylight, it may be slightly inconvenient for elderly people and toddlers. An Attic can pretty much serve any purpose and it can be remodeled beautifully into a bedroom, a study or a playroom. Also, some people have decided to use small spaces such as walk-in closets as nurseries or, depending on the size, small bedrooms for children or home offices. They are perfect because they are close enough, yet separate from other areas.

Watch the scale and the style

If you do not have financial or practical possibility of re-purposing rooms or building extensions, particularly if you live in an apartment, the first thing you need to pay attention to is the scale of your furniture and your lifestyle. Choose to live a minimalistic life.

Decluttering your space and having fewer pieces of furniture will help you free-up significant areas of the surface. Keep only the practical pieces and the ones you really use and need.  As an addition to the minimalism, you should choose to have small-scale furniture. This basically means that your furniture should be small and light. Forget about fluffy armrests and heavy wooden pieces.

Think vertical, go up, not in

You can walk on floors, yet you cannot walk on walls. This means that whatever takes up the floor space disturbs the traffic through your home. However, if you choose to go up, and take up the surface of your walls, it will not be in your way. Keep out of the center of a room. Use the corners and walls, to leave the middle free.

Bunk beds are some of the most commonly used examples of this. Instead of fitting in two beds in the square footage of your room, choose to put them one on top of another to save space. This is very convenient for children who share rooms. They may not see the practicality of this, but they will find the beds entertaining. If you know that neither one of your children will want to be on the top bed, opt for a safer solution and use a bed with a drawer for a mattress and have a pull-out bed.

Build custom furniture

Custom furniture and built-in furniture is the safest way to make sure that every bit of space is used. Use only the size you actually need. You can make custom beds and thus make them shorter and less space-consuming. More importantly, you can fill and use the bits of space you normally would not be able to. Close off any strange corners or indents in a room and create a closet. Turn a niche into a study area, a bed or a dining room.

If you use it as a dining room, you can make banquette benches with a lift-up top and use them as storage space. Some people have been really creative while making the furniture and have made queen-size bunk beds, bunk beds on three levels or pyramidal bunk beds to fit 5 people. My personal favorites are all-in-ones, usually used for children, where you have a bunk bed with drawers and a desk stashed below in place of the bottom bed.

Use storage wisely

Having to live the minimalistic lifestyle and convert closets into nurseries means that you will have less storage space. Quite inconveniently, the more people you have in a home, the more things they will have. This is why you need to squeeze in whatever you can wherever you can. Some of the ways to do this elegantly such as using every corner to build a closet or using banquette benches have already been mentioned above. You can use open-storage and hang your clothes on a rack in your bedroom.

Use a lot of hanging shelves and cabinets as they will help you fit in a lot of your belongings on a wall. If you are worried about certain items being exposed, purchase or make decorative baskets or boxes and put them up on your shelves. This way you can hide away socks and underwear as well as tiny things such as makeup and toiletries without worrying that they will get all over the place.

Create an under-bed dresser by adding shelves to the base of your bed. Build suspended shelves right above your bar and use them to separate your kitchen from the dining room area. Some have even used wardrobes and cabinets to make walls between rooms and thus make smart use of the space as well as create two or more separate areas out of one big room. If you decide to do this, you need to be careful as it may be poorly sound-proofed.

Keep your furniture out of sight

Certain pieces of furniture are necessary yet not used all the time. Hide your furniture within the walls of your house. You can easily do this with desks and tables as well as beds. Use foldable furniture in your dining room and set it up only when you need it, in the meantime, it will be out of your way. This is your best bet to fit a full-sized dining table into your kitchen. Apart from these solutions, you can also use pull-out couches to turn your living room into a master bedroom.

Use perspective and pretend

If you have finally managed to create space for everyone, use tricks to make your home look more spacious. First of all, make sure that it is not stuffy. Temper Troops Air Conditioning Sunshine Coast-based company say that the ecological systems now available cannot only cool and heat but also make your air fresh at all times which is particularly important when there are a lot of people sharing confined space.

The new ecological systems are energy-efficient and they will save you money and keep the home aired. Apart from the air-quality and smells, you need to work on visuals. Try to keep the areas you can, as tidy as you can. Also, this may be a good time to teach your children to put their toys away.

Another tip to keep your home visually bigger is to use light colors, they will help you open up space. Instead of large paintings, hang large mirrors, they will create an illusion of space. Be very careful when you accentuate certain features in your home not to limit the space visually.

Not having to worry about space is everyone’s preference. However, sharing tight space brings a family together. It teaches your children how to function well in a team, to share, be responsible and creative. Occasionally it will drive you mad, but more frequently it will help you stay close.

Steven Clarke is a web entrepreneur and a business consultant. Apart from that, he is interested in home improvement, design, new technologies and he likes to put his ideas out there. When not working on new projects, he likes to spend his time in the great outdoors.