How to Design a Family Home

Some great tips to consider when you design a family home.


When it comes to self building, it is important to know how to design a family home. Most self-builders will need to consider how the house will work not only for them but for their children or extended family too.

How to design a family home: The key considerations.

Open Plan has its positives and its negatives. In smaller sized homes, each square foot counts for a lot and it is difficult to create both flowing, open spaces as well as snug areas for playrooms and dens. If possible, it’s a great idea to include a dedicated playroom which the children know is their own responsibility and which keeps toys from flooding the rest of the house.

If you do include a playroom, bear in mind that you will want the children in sight at all times. Locate the room near to the main living areas, but make it separate enough that all of the chaos of playtime doesn’t have to interrupt whatever is happening in the rest of the house.

Plan ahead. What children and parents need from their home will change drastically over time. Whilst a toddler might want a bedroom separated by a single wall from their parents’, that might not be the case when the child reaches its teens. By planning ahead in terms of layout, you will ensure the home is fit for purpose for years to come.

Bedroom layouts and noise isolation. A crying baby will easily wake its toddler sibling, and a music-playing teenager will wake up parents just next door to their room. Locate bedrooms in appropriate ‘zones’, with rooms such as bathrooms between each where possible. This will prevent any nasty late night or early morning wake ups.

Dedicate a bathroom to the children. By having one bathroom set aside purely for use by the children, you can keep all of the mess and bright colours of bath time separate from your own and your guests’ bathrooms. With the children’s bathroom, think about practicalities such as getting children in and out of the bath.

Storage. You will need storage space both indoors and outdoors unless you intend to have toys littered all over the lawn and across the hall.

Garden space. When planning the outside space, try to situate the house so that it overlooks most of the property’s land. This way you can keep an eye on the children from the kitchen window.

Utility room. For any family a utility room is a blessing. Avoiding the need to have washing hanging around the house keeps the main living spaces clear of clutter and keeps the clothes fresh and ready to wear.

Image: Frédéric de Villamil

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