Renovating and updating your home for children
Whether you are planning to start a family or already have young children, here are our tips to create a practical home which works well with young children. Some of the ideas are best incorporated during a renovation and others are simple updates you can make today!
1. Choose the flooring carefully
If you have a young family, the floor will take a lot of abuse and you don't want to be sent into a frenzy every time there is a spill or a knock - so choose flooring that is hard wearing, easy to clean and maintain.
Wood or engineered wood looks beautiful, but unless you are happy for it to take some chips and scratches (which can often adds to the charm!) then consider a different option. In the kitchen and bathroom, porcelain is a good option as it is so easy to maintain and won't stain - bear in mind it will be harder for small children during the tumbling over phase though.
Another option is a luxury vinyl such as Karndean, Amtico or Harvey Maria. Vinyl comes in tile and wood effects as well as some really fun patterns, so it's a perfect option for around the home. It’s also a softer surface than a tile or wood and is extremely durable and hard wearing.
When choosing a carpet, carefully consider the fibre and finish. Wool is a hard wearing option so go for an 80% wool and 20% man-made fibre mix, the man-made fibre will make it easier to clean up stains. A loop pile will take more wear and won't flatten over time, particularly on areas such as the stairs where little ones like to bump up and down. Lastly, opt for either a stripe, pattern or a carpet with a fleck. Should there be any accidents, these will be more forgiving than a plain coloured carpet!
2. Go for easy clean walls!
With advances in modern technology, there are so many great kinds of paint where you can easily wipe away marks from the walls. Look out for paint such as Dulux Easycare which has a new unique stain repellent technology, meaning liquid stains simply bead on the surface of your wall. It's also 20 times tougher than standard emulsion, making marks easy to wipe away.
If you want to make your home fun for the children, think about using blackboard paint on an area of the wall in the kitchen. This way your kids can draw on there and you can write your to do lists - making the area fun and giving the children a wall to draw on which will stop them scribbling elsewhere. Another great idea for a kids bedroom or playroom is using wall paper which encourages doodling and colouring in, letting your children bring out their creative side too.
3. Plan the layout of the kitchen
Kids love to run around the house and have plenty of space to do so. They also gravitate to the kitchen when the grown ups are there, so plan the layout well to avoid accidents when they are passing through!
Make sure you leave more than enough space between the island unit and cabinets. We recommended that you leave at least 90cm between the island unit and the cabinets on either side, however if you have a busy family home you will want this to be an even larger gap. If you are short on space, a good option is a peninsula rather than an island - this will leave more floor space and allow the kids to run through.
Have a good think about where you cook and where you will position hot pans while you are preparing dinner. You want to avoid walking across the kitchen with hot boiling water and knocking into a charging child. In terms of appliances, induction hobs are the safest option and a built in oven at eye level level is a better choice than a range oven which is often too easy for little hands to play with.
Go for curved edges on the worktops so when the little ones are reaching that height, they won’t bump into any sharp corners. If you are buying a new table, again make sure you opt for something with a curve rather than a sharp corner.
4. Think about how you will live
If you are remodelling or extending, it's a great time to think about where your young family will play or study whilst you can keep an eye on them. If you have the space for a playroom, a great idea is to have it just off of the kitchen with double doors - you can open them when your children are playing but easily shut them at the end of the day and hide the toys.
If your children are at the stage of doing homework, a large open plan area means that they will be able to sit at the dining area and still be there with you and interact rather than being in a separate room. If you are fortunate enough to have the space, open plan living is perfect to socialise together as a family.
5. Plan the storage and furnishings
Ideally during the renovation you would fit the TV to the wall rather than it being on a cabinet so it can't be easily touched and accidents are avoided. If you love displaying photos, candles and flowers, go for high shelving rather than side tables which are often too easy to reach.
Your home will ultimately have toys everywhere but you want to be able to tidy this up quickly at the end of the day. Think smart about storage where you can throw toys, book and crafts away to make your home look like an adults zone in the evening. We have seen great ideas such as TV cabinets that also include storage, or simple shelving with storage cubes that can be bought to suit your decor.
Published: August 7, 2018