Your home will be the biggest asset you ever own but it will also be where you enjoy life to the full and make wonderful memories with your family. Choosing the right place to life and then making it work for you is about more than just picking a house off the shelf and moving your stuff in. It is also about bringing your personality out and having the space to entertain and relax.
Everyone has a different idea about what their house should be like. Some would like a tiny cottage on the coast whereas others would be much happier living in a duplex in the city centre. Wherever you want to be, you first need to work out what you can afford – a housing loan calculator will help – and then start your search accordingly.
Bear in mind that some properties will be cheaper because they need a lot of renovation work or refitting. If you are willing to get these jobs done, this type of property can be an absolute steal and give you the best opportunity to put your own personal stamp on the place too. The same is true of holiday homes, though you might want to spend a bit extra and get a professional in to save you the hard work there!
The Kitchen –
The kitchen is the heart of the home and if it isn’t working for you, life will be much harder. The trick to a good kitchen is having everything ready at your fingertips but also tidied away neatly. This, essentially means cupboards and lots of them!
Storage in the kitchen is vital for keeping food fresh and out of harm’s way. It is also the only way to achieve calm in what can become a hectic space. Cupboards that go right up to the ceiling will be best for optimising your space. Put the things you use least at the top and the things you use most within easy reach.
If you have room, a table or a breakfast bar in the kitchen is a worthwhile addition. This will make breakfast as a young family easier but will also provide a separate space to do homework away from the TV. Add pendant lights to create a dynamic space and a fruitbowl to encourage healthy snacking too!
The Living Room –
If you’re not in the kitchen, you are probably going to be in the living room. This is where you keep everything to entertain, distract and relax yourself after a long day. Like the kitchen, this room can quickly become chaotic with toys everywhere and all your other day-to-day paraphernalia. If you can, use hidden storage such as drawers in the sofa or simply allocate a small area to tidy everything away.
The sofa is the main feature in your living room so pick one that is comfy and will seat everyone happily. Cushions and throws will make the sofa more inviting on winters nights and keep things cosy when you’re watching films together. A sofa bed will open up options too, especially when you are hosting a sleepover.
Choose a nice big mirror to increase the natural light you get throughout the day and lamps and fairy lights to create a soothing atmosphere at night. Lighting is really important for your sleep cycle. Throw your curtains wide to make the most of bright natural light during the day to wake you up and use dimmer warmer lights to make you sleepy just in time for bed.
The Bedroom –
Your bedroom should be relaxing and calm for the best night’s sleep. If you have to sleep in chaos, the quality of your sleep won’t be as good. Stick to a neutral pallet with simple designs but mix up the textures of your textiles to add interest. For example, smooth sheets topped with a woollen knitted throw and a squashy faux fur cushion is all you need to feel luxuriously looked after.
Childrens’ bedrooms have a slightly different agenda because this space is probably going to double as a play area too. Give them a chance to express their own personality in here with their own colour choices. Once again, storage and plenty of it is the best thing you can do. A bunk bed will be fun while they are little and will maximise the amount of floorspace they can use during the day. Make sure that everything is tidied away at the end of the day to restore the calm atmosphere they need to sleep well.
The Bathroom –
If there’s one room that has to work for everyone, it’s the bathroom. With young children, a bath is a good idea but as you all get older, showing will be more time and money efficient. If you are really short on space, a wet room is ideal because you won’t be quite so restricted by boundaries such as the shower door or the bath.
It might sound silly but a decent shower is really what you need to make a bathroom work best. A hot powerful jet in the morning is ideal to relax your muscles and prepare for the day. A shower hose will also make cleaning your bathroom a lot easier as you can angle the water to give everything a rinse.
The Garden –
Your outdoor space should really be treated as an additional room, even it if it just a postage stamp of balcony. This area is your own private space for enjoying the outdoors so it is well worth making exactly as you wish.
Pots and planters are perfect if you aren’t sure what you’re doing. Fill them up with delicious fragrant herbs for a fast kitchen garden. Adding planters to a balcony will also add privacy without blocking a lot of light. Trailing plants will really like hanging over your balcony rail but be careful you don’t intrude upon downstairs!
For a family garden, a lawn is perfect for running about and playing on but in England, lawns are often left to become boggy messes for most of the year. Improving your drainage is money well spent to make the most of a lawn but adding plants to create a border around your garden will help too.
While your children are young, stick to hardy plants that won’t mind the occasional football crashing into it. You should also avoid plants that will irritate the skin or have prickles. As your children get a bit older, you could start a vegetable garden together or add fruit trees as a fun project.
Making your house work for you and your family is mostly about balancing your needs and identifying every opportunity to add storage space! Where you can, add little luxurious touches for yourself such as soft fabrics to make you feel comfortable and relaxed. Family living can quickly become hectic, so try to establish routines and systems to make sure that everything gets tidied away into the same place every time.
When you are choosing the property that is going to be your forever home, make sure you plan ahead to get the space you need. This might mean buying a larger house ready for future children or it might mean looking at the space around the house to see if there is potential for extending.
However you decide to do your home, make sure that you enjoy it. Nothing has to be expensive to be ideal (and with children, expensive items are best kept out of the way!) it just has to work for you. It’s your home and that’s all that matters.
*This is a collaborative post