If you're a new parent or expecting to have children in the near future, there are ways to make your home a better environment for your family. This goes beyond simply purchasing safety locks for your kitchen cabinets. The right floor plan and dcor choices can save you a lot of trouble in the future as you take care of your babies and raise your family. Here are some tips for working with your contractor to create a child-friendly new home:
Keep the bedrooms on the same level.
Baby monitors allow you to hear your baby at night, even if he or she is sleeping in the basement while you're on the third floor. However, as your child grows, there will be times when he or she will need you at night after a scary dream or when insomnia strikes. When that happens, you don't want your child to have to climb stairs or navigate a dark house to find you. Instead, keep all of the bedrooms on the same level of your home with at least one of them close to your master bedroom or suite.
Beware of sharp corners in your kitchen.
Your children will fall and get hurt from time to time. You can minimize the danger, however, by making sure that you countertops and tables in the kitchen are rounded instead of coming to sharp points at the corners. Kitchens are most notorious for accidents because of all the hard surfaces, but take these same ideas to other parts of your home as well, opting for round end tables or oval coffee tables whenever possible.
Aim to please with your bathrooms.
With a growing family, the bathroom situation can get tricky in a hurry. If you have a master bathroom, there should be at least two others in the house-one for the rest of your family and one for guests. You should also consider placing your bathrooms on multiple levels. When you're potty-training children, it comes in handy to have a bathroom very close to you at all times! As you're planning the bathrooms, make sure that one of them (other than your mater) has a bathtub. It will probably be several years before your child starts taking showers.
Create a space for entertaining.
Just because you're a parent doesn't mean that you can't have fun. A space to entertain is crucial in your house, be it a living room, a game room, a home theatre, or a refinished basement. Try to plan this space as far away from the bedrooms as possible. That way, if the kids have to go to bed, your guests don't have to whisper in the next room. A space for entertaining will also be extremely important as your children grow. It gives them a place to hang out with their friends that is less awkward than a bedroom but still gives them a bit of privacy.
Stay safe with the stairs.
With small children, stairs can be a hug hazard. Most homes have at least one set of stairs, and unless you specifically want a ranch, there's no reason to avoid stairs just because you want to have kids someday-just plan the stairs with safety in mind. Make sure there's a lockable door if you have stairs leading to a basement, and use rails that are safe for all ages. You should also consider carpeting your stairs to prevent slips and adding gates to the tops and bottoms of staircases that can be removed when your children are old enough.
Decorate rooms to grow.
It can be frustrating for your teenage son to live in a bedroom that is painted powder blue and has teddy bears and balloons on the ceiling. While your decor choices may look sweet when your baby is still in diapers, unless you're willing to shell out the money for a makeover every few years, it pays to decorate with the future in mind. Paint the walls a neutral color and add accessories that can be easily and inexpensively exchanged as your child grows.
Forget formal spaces, for the most part.
Formal spaces, like formal dining rooms or formal living rooms, just don't lend themselves well to a busy family. You don't have to give up these spaces completely if you're in love with the idea of more traditional rooms, but make sure that there are plenty of places for casual living as well in the home. Otherwise, that expensive carpet will be covered in drool and those large formal area rugs under your dining room table will have spaghetti stains.
Just because you have a family doesn't mean that you have to totally compromise the space you create for yourself. It's all about being practical. Build or buy a house that is safe for your family and can evolve as everyone gets older.