Older children have different needs than younger ones, especially when it comes to things like comfort and privacy in the home. Here are just a few design factors to keep in mind when mixing teenagers with your new home build.
1. Private Spaces
When they're little, they think nothing of sleeping right down the hall from you. When they're teenagers, however, they might start wanting some privacy. An extra bedroom in the basement can prepare you well in advance to eventually give your older children a space of their own.
2. Bathroom Divides
It might be a time-honoured tradition to fight siblings for bathroom time, but if you have both sons and daughters, it will be worth the expense to add an extra bath or half-bath. Having separate spaces for mixed genders will accommodate their changing and differing needs as they hit puberty.
3. Kitchen Size
Teenagers know how to eat, and that's before they start bringing their friends over! You'll want a kitchen designed for your active family and to deal with the crowds after school. Think about spacious cupboards, wide countertops and long kitchen aisles that will fit a growing number of chairs.
4. Academic Needs
This is especially important if you have little ones scampering around while the older children are trying to study for their exams. They'll need a quiet, out-of-the-way place for doing their homework or running their lab experiments, so think about creating a study room or workroom where they can get things done.
Storage is always a concern after decades of collecting coats, trophies, soccer balls and growing stacks of photo albums. Make sure your new home offers plenty of closets, cupboards and cabinets. Even if you don't need them right this minute, you'll be glad to have them in the future.
6. New Technology
Between televisions that wirelessly connect to the web and thermostats that can be controlled with your smartphone, houses are getting "smarter" by the day. You'll want to leave room for this advancing technology as you build your new home. Not only will it improve your property value, but it will also keep your kids connected to the various luxury and safety features of their living space.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but your children will need room to grow. They might even surprise you by shooting up like a tree and becoming taller than you! Make sure to design your doors, arches and frames with plenty of wiggle room. Make them even bigger than you'd need, just in case.
8. Remodelling Potential
Your children will be off to college someday, and unless you plan on enshrining those punk posters and ironic t-shirts, you'll need to repurpose their old hang-outs. Maybe you'll want to convert their empty bedroom into a home office. You can even tear down their adjoining walls and build a home library.
9. Athletic Accommodation
Your little slugger might not be so little these days, but they'll still track in dirt just the same. Think about incorporating a mudroom or foyer space into your entryway. If your child is a serious athlete, you might also want to set aside space for a basement gym or dance studio.
10. Common Areas
Common areas are important for bonding time as a family. Just don't forget the needs of your older children as you're planning play areas and baby-proof corners for the little ones. Make room for a charging station that will house of all their electronics, or create built-in entertainment areas with wall mounts for TVs and DVD shelves.
11. Sound Insulation
Older children will value peace and quiet more than younger ones. Plus, you'll both appreciate the noise-dampening qualities of that soundproof drywall when they decide to try their hand at drumming. Sound insulation is much easier to install in advance than retrofit, so think about it now.
There will come a day when your child wants to control the look and feel of their own space. This is a natural outlet for self-expression; but if important circuits or pipes rest near your child's bedroom, they might be limited with their remodelling options. Be sure your child has room to spread their wings.
13. Special Interests
If your teenager has an aptitude for, say, building robots, you might want to carve out an area where they can create, experiment, discover and innovate without interruption. Not only will this show support for their passion, but it will also keep their inventions or art projects from cluttering up the rest of your home.
14. The Community
Living in a great community can make all the difference for your family. Safety is important, of course, because your teenagers will be walking and driving around your neighbourhood.
But you should also think about your personal future. How many banks, doctor's offices, and grocery stores are nearby? Will your home be a convenient place to live even after the kids have moved away?
These are just a few things to keep in mind if you're building a new home with older children in the mix. Their growth and maturity is an amazing thing, so use these tips to ensure that your interior design will grow with them.