Article Courtesy of BOWA (www.bowa.com)
Whether it’s a closet, the kitchen or a study area, there are numerous ways to incorporate kid-friendly design into any space, and children today are becoming more and more involved in the process. Even if your child is toddler-aged simple tasks, such as picking colors, themes or bedding, can help them feel that they are part of the process. Besides being used more frequently, we can all hope that greater input in the planning stage will result in more pride in the space later and an unwavering desire to keep it neat and tidy!
A well-designed study area can be invaluable when it comes to helping your child stay focused and motivated. The kitchen is a popular choice for such a designated area, as parents are readily available to answer questions, keep their young scholar on task, and supervise internet usage. Have a wide hallway or nook elsewhere in the home that doesn’t receive a lot of traffic? As another option consider transforming this unused space by placing a desk against the wall, adding wall cabinets or shelving above it for holding supplies, and providing the area with adequate lighting. A recent project in Vienna features a whimsical study that was built in one of the turrets of the house. The study opens up from the bedroom into an octagonal room, and includes a storage bench for additional seating, lots of windows streaming in natural light, and a high ceiling with three-dimensional hanging stars. In another recent project, a reading nook was carved out under the stairs. This little hideaway features a day bed with big, comfy pillows and built-in shelving for holding the kids’ favorite books.
Kids have stuff. Lots and lots of stuff. Books, toys, clothing, sports, hobby and school stuff. The question is: where do you put it all? Collecting it as soon as it comes through the door can be advantageous to keeping it from being strewn all over the place, as kids (and their clutter) come home in a whirlwind of excitement from school, games and play dates. Individual cubbies for each child in a foyer or mudroom can help to keep family members organized and prevent any mix-ups of belongings. A closet that features built-ins with plenty of drawers, cubbies, hooks and shelving will help encourage independence by giving children the ability to grab what they need and easily tidy up too. Some parents choose to remove the doors to make a closet even more inviting for their little ones to use. Hanging a set of curtains or draping fabric from a rod can add color and complement the overall design scheme, while hiding the contents at the same time.
There are a number of things you can do to help your future chef feel at home in the kitchen. If it’s time for a kitchen renovation, consider creating a set of counters at a lower, kid-friendly height so they can help with the cooking. As the kids grow, this area will continue to come in handy when baking and doing other tasks. Also consider placing light-switches at lower heights for your youngster’s easy reach, or installing light-switches with automatic sensors to avoid bumps in the dark. Does your heart skip a beat when you see your little one climbing on the countertop? Providing your child with their own set of dishes in a base cabinet will eliminate the need for them to reach those items on high shelves. In addition, placing the microwave at a lower height allows for easier accessibility and can help foster an earlier sense of autonomy for your loved one. If you have a drawer to spare, considering having a pull-out drawer-style microwave installed for easy access. A designated “kid’s drawer” in the refrigerator is a great way for them to conveniently grab snacks without risking spillage from a high shelf or pestering mom and dad. And throughout the home, soft-close drawers and door dampers will help avoid pinched fingers.
Designing for kids requires creativity, innovation and the input of an experienced remodeler, as the space should be fun and functional. Whatever the space is, and whether you’re remodeling existing space or creating an addition, your residential design build contractor can help you figure out the best options for your family’s needs, budget and lifestyle.
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