More and more houses in Australia are being created with multi-generation living in mind, but it can be tricky to design a space that satisfies the ever-changing needs of all the family members. The key is to plan ahead and create transformable indoor and outdoor space. Think about ways to repurpose and redesign the space in the future. Perhaps you can convert an office or a storage space to get an extra bedroom, split one large space into two smaller ones or even build a separate unit in your backyard. It is all about making the most of the space you have, so the rooms should be flexible and easily adjustable.
The most important common areas in the house are the kitchen and the living room. This where all the family members will spend the most of their time, so make sure these spaces are as cosy and as functional as possible. Let’s start with the living room. Yes, it can be one huge space with a TV and a fireplace, but two separate ones will work even better and make everyone much happier. If you don’t have a lot of space, you can set up two smaller rooms so that both generations can enjoy their leisure time in peace. The second most important common area is, of course, the kitchen. There should be room for everyone, so this should be a comfortably large space. What will you need? A big kitchen island (possibly featuring two levels so that it easily accommodates everyone in the family), plenty of storage space and two sinks or a scullery. Large windows that provide an abundance of natural light will make the space brighter and cosier!
The bigger the family, the more storage space you will need. And when you don’t have a lot of space, then you have to find clever ways to use your square meters. Look around you to find less obvious places where you can store things. Perhaps you have a lot of bare walls and empty spaces underneath the staircases, beds or chairs? We have a few useful tips for you:
Utilise the space under the furniture (buy storage boxes and place them underneath your beds, tables and cupboards to make everything look neat).
Make use of your walls (install shelves and cupboards, hang your lamps and flower pots or stack up books vertically instead horizontally).
Find decorative boxes and baskets (they are great for decluttering the space and they also look fantastic).
Don’t store, display (some items may be worth showing, so why not arrange them on shelves instead of hiding them away).
You are probably wondering how to design a space for everyone to be happy under one roof? The secret behind successful multi-generational homes is a combination of privacy and proximity. Everyone should have their own space to enjoy solitude whenever they want, and yet stay well connected. Think multiple bathrooms, studies and living areas, but also consider having two kitchens and separate entrances so that both generations can be fully independent (and yet close enough to be able to help each other when needed). You can even build one big house that can be broken into two separate apartments so that everyone has enough privacy.
Building a granny flat next to the house is the perfect solution for families who want to live together but also have enough privacy. Perhaps you need a separate unit for your ageing parents? It is an easy solution that increases the value of your property. It can be completely detached from the house or connected to it (if you have a garage it can be transformed into a small granny flat), and you can also incorporate a verandah or a patio to make it stand out. You will earn more if you decide to sell the house in the future, and you can also consider renting it one day and earn extra cash (alternatively, you can also consider moving into your flat and rent the house).
To make the house more suitable for both generations, make a practical design that works for everybody. Think what might disturb your parents. Will they be upset by the noise in the living room or in the kitchen? Consider building a second storey to separate bedrooms from the rest of the house. Do you need a house that is wheelchair accessible? Then you will need step-free entrance and ground floor bedrooms for the elderly. And don’t forget about the pest control systems because good preventive solutions will help everyone sleep calmly and halt the problem before it even occurs. If you are looking for local pest control look to MegaTec Pest Control.