Just as our family lives goes through different stages, so too should our homes to adapt to our changing needs. Easier said than done? Here are some great tips to get us started.
According to Clodagh Doyle of specialist property renovation firm Placelift, "There is no one size fits all when it comes to remodelling your home, and it is essential to focus on a layout that works for your individual situation.
1. Getting started
Before you even consider extending, look closely at the existing footprint of your home and how you could possibly improve that space. Look at every square metre and how it is used or not used (as is often the case).
When it comes to designing the perfect home, size is not always the winning factor. Deciding not to extend may be one of the best decisions you make and could save you a lot of money.
Spend time really thinking about what changes would make the biggest difference. Go through each room and think about who uses it, how much time is spent in it and when. Consider all family members and their specific requirements and hobbies, not forgetting any four-legged friends. Write down what you really like about the house and its function and also what you really dislike. Then compile a wish list!
2. Child-friendly designs
With a young family, an open-plan layout is ideal, especially with a direct link to the garden. The children can happily play while always under the watchful eye of a parent. By removing a partition wall to create more space, two rooms can be transformed into a large open-plan living area.
At the baby and toddler stage, more than ever, smart storage is essential. Place a huge emphasis on creating additional storage within your existing footprint, such as under stairs storage, attic storage or perhaps a garage conversion.
It is easy for small children to share bedrooms and perhaps free up a spare bedroom for a home office or dressing room. It is also ideal for them to have a designated playroom to accommodate their toys and paraphernalia.
3. Creating teenage space
Older children require their own space and sharing a bedroom may not be an option with personality clashes and age difference thrown into the mix.
Open-plan living will only work well with teenagers and young adults if you have other private spaces to which they can retreat. Converting a playroom to a teenage snug or den where they can invite friends to hang out and watch TV might just be the answer. Alternatively, you could look into converting your garage or attic for this purpose.
A designated study zone is also necessary for secondary and college level students. A small but bright and well-ventilated area within your home, but away from the noisy hub, is essential.
If you need extra room but building an extension is not an option, you could divide a large room into two smaller rooms with a partition wall or if space allows, install a sliding pocket door system.
4. Planning for retirement
In later years, as children fly the nest and space becomes less of an issue, not everyone wants to leave their home, garden, and memories behind and downsize to apartment living. If you love the home you are in now, you should be able to adapt it to suit your future needs.
You could consider extending an existing bathroom, for example, to include an accessible wet-room with bath. Alternatively, it can work well to convert a downstairs room into an accessible bedroom, mindful of the width of doors and keeping all areas level.
Even your garden can be simply altered to ensure less maintenance. Raised flower or vegetable beds are a great option.
Rather than your home becoming a burden to maintain, this way you can look forward to sharing a manageable space with your family, friends and even grandchildren.
5. Setting a budget
Be realistic about your budget and what you can afford. It is recommended that you engage early on with a registered professional such as an architect, who should provide you with clarity on all aspects. It is also worth checking if you could qualify for any home improvement grants.
Once you have considered all the options, prioritise the changes that will make the biggest impact on your lifestyle, allowing you to enjoy your home all over again!