by Jodi Kines
One of the common concerns my clients voice is their frustration with unused space in their homes while other areas are cramped, cluttered and over-used. They feel like they need more space, wish they had additional rooms, and fear they need to purchase lots of new pieces to make their space work for them. In reality, it’s usually easier than you think to make your home more functional, more flexible, and more suited to the way you live. With a little creativity (& maybe some elbow grease!) you’ll be (back) in love with your home again in no time!
Think Function First…
A well-designed space is not only functional and practical, but actually makes life easier on the people that use it. Think about how you really live in your home every day and what little changes might make daily tasks easier on the whole family. If clutter by the door and on the kitchen counter is a constant eye-sore and source of stress, consider creating a new ‘drop zone’ in unused garage space for items like book bags, purses, phones, coats, & shoes to ‘land’ as you come in your home each day. Many local home improvement stores offer storage systems that range in size and complexity that are reasonably priced and easy to assemble. If you don’t have extra space for a storage system, simply add some decorative hooks, baskets, bins or even a small shelf along an empty wall by the back door. While organization is great, sometimes you’ll find your needs are much more basic, like needing additional seating in an already-full family room. Consider replacing an existing coffee table with an inexpensive ottoman that can do double-duty as a foot rest and offer that extra seat when needed. Local thrift stores are a great resource for a good-quality, inexpensive ottoman or bench that can easily be refurbished with some new fabric, a staple gun and a little effort!
Flexibility is a Must…
Rethink how you can use the rooms you have. You may have spaces that can do double-duty allowing you to creatively transition a room to meet your family’s immediate needs. Do you have young children? In my own home, our young sons need room to play, spread out, build, race, and just be boys, and also store so many legos, cars, trucks, action figures, you name it! I wasn’t willing to have a permanently designed playroom, knowing there are many transitions in the life of children and the space needs to be flexible. So, we rearranged one of the bedrooms to house both twin beds and re-assigned one of their bedrooms as a playroom. As they get older, want privacy, and have less ‘toys’ we can simply do a little more rearranging to have them back in two separate bedrooms. This is an ideal way that space can evolve with your family.
Local design blogger, Emily Clark‘s growing business left her wishing for a home office while her busy young family rarely used their formal dining room. With just a little rearranging, she was able to turn the space into a fabulously functional home office. She incorporated a large farmhouse table (an inexpensive Craigslist find!) as the perfect desk-to-dining table piece so the room can easily transition back into a dining space during the busy holidays or when she entertains. She strategically selected decorative storage items for the office shelving, so office necessities can be at hand, while keeping the space from feeling cluttered and busy when she needs to use it to entertain.
Eliminate your frustration and fall in love with your home all over again by creatively utilizing the space you already have! By simply rethinking the way you use your rooms, doing a little rearranging, and adding in a few carefully selected pieces, your home can evolve and grow with you as your family and lifestyle may change.