Let’s say you’re ready to embark on a renovation experience. You envision your home transformed…dreams come true…your living space turned into a personal haven that reflects your taste and style.
Be honest—won’t it feel GREAT to have friends and family gush over your stunning new aesthetics?!
If you’ve identified your renovation priorities already, then you also know to keep the function of your home in mind. Functional decisions fuel the designs that cater to the life you want to live.
To get functional design right, though, it’s crucial not to overlook the perspectives of others in your household.
READ: this will NOT take away from the “look” you want to achieve! This is about making a home as comfortable for each member of the family as possible.
This is done by simply asking the right questions…age-appropriate and for the right audience. Then you can make informed decisions—without sacrificing your stylistic dreams. A renovation in a family home is a family collaboration…and the result is your desired aesthetic in harmony with how each family member uses every space.
Questions to Ask
…Children Under 7
For the youngest children in your home, it’s helpful to first tell them what to expect from a renovation. Their safety is essential, and that starts with explaining what they’ll see and hear. What areas will be off-limits for a while? What will that mean for play time, family time and meals?
As for the questions you can ask, try:
- What are your favorite play activities in [any family space getting renovated]?
- What furniture do you like the most? Why? (Listen for preferences on fabric, height, etc.)
- Where do you like to store your toys? Where is it EASIEST to store your toys? Is there some place you wish you could store more toys?
- Is there a place you’re EXTRA scared to spill or make a mess?
- Is there a room or space you REALLY don’t like to help clean when we do chores? (Listen for insights into ease of cleaning.)
Take the answers your children provide, and you’ll be AMAZED how many insights they can tap. Maybe there’s a preferred fabric you can use in upholstery that will make cuddling up all the more pleasurable! Or maybe storage space needs to be adjusted to factor some of the kids’ belongings in mind.
Other things to think about with kids this age include:
- Consider the child-friendly aspects of the bathrooms that kids use. Is there any issue with counter height? Toilet height? Ease of getting into a tub or shower space?
- Interactive learning spaces should be equipped for total comfort, too. Where do the kids use their tablets and devices? What other educational elements could be worked into the design of those areas?
- Future-proofing should be on your mind, too. Are spaces the kids use going to be easily adapted for adolescence later?
For older kids who have more established personal routines, try these questions:
- What areas do you feel most comfortable reading or studying in? Why? (Listen for clues of features that could be incorporated into other spaces.)
- How can any part of the home be updated to make your hobbies easier to practice or more fun? (This could be anything from soundproofing an area for music or gaming to building an indoor climbing wall!)
- What tech-friendly features (like additional plugs, devices, or smart speakers) would make your time in [space being remodeled] more fun?
- Describe your perfect space to invite your friends to when they come to play or study?
- What elements in your room would make it feel MORE personalized to you/your personality?
- What part of the home do you feel does NOT have enough (or the right) storage for the things you store there?
- What do you MOST need right when you come in the door (in mudrooms, landing spaces, etc.)?
BONUS TIP: As these kids get older, be sure to include privacy considerations in your design, too.
…Teenagers AND Young Adults
For teenagers and young adults still living at home, try these questions…
- Where do you feel you have the most private/comfortable space in the home?
- Where do you feel you can most comfortably spend time with your friends? Where would you LIKE to feel more comfortable spending time with your friends?
- Do you have the technology you need (charging ports, outlets, devices) for studying and relaxing? Are there any tech-friendly features you would like to have in the home?
- Do you have what you need to study and work in the part(s) of the home you want? What could help you feel more effective?
- Are there specific elements of your room or other parts of the home you like to spend time in that could better reflect your personality?
- Do you have what you need to sleep well in your room? (Is it dark enough, quiet enough, and warm or cool enough?)
- Do you have the storage space and types of storage (shelves, cabinets, drawers, etc.) that you need to store things in your room? What about in the bathrooms? What about in other parts of the home?
- Do you have what you need in the home for your health-related routines? (This might be nutrition-related in the kitchen, or workout-related elsewhere.)
…Extended Family Living at Home
If you have any other family members living at home, OR even if you have an older family member who winters with you…there are questions you can ask them, too!
For younger family members, you can stick to the questions above. For anyone older, consider…
- Do you have the privacy you need in the spaces you most enjoy spending time in?
- What could make your preferred space(s) more comfortable?
- What could make the bathrooms more accessible? Is there anything that restricts your mobility there?
- Is the kitchen fully accessible in the ways you like to use it? Is there anything that restricts your mobility there?
- Do you have the quiet you need in specific areas where you most like to relax or enjoy peace and privacy?
- Do you have the storage solutions you need in your personal space? What about in the bathroom? What about in the kitchen? How do YOU most like to keep things organized?
- Are there specific temperatures you prefer in your private living space?
- Is there anything about your personal space that could be updated to make it feel more like it reflects your personality? …Or make it feel more like “home?”
- Are there any other features anywhere in the home that could help you meet your health and wellness-related needs?
If you frequently entertain guests, ask some of your regulars the following for some added insights!!
- How can the guest room(s) be enhanced to ensure comfort, especially if you stay for a longer period?
- Where in the home do you feel you have the most privacy? Does that space meet your privacy needs?
- What types of storage solutions are most helpful in the guest room? In the guest bathroom?
- What are your biggest challenges when keeping your belongings organized during a visit?
- Is there any designated space or storage solution in the kitchen that could help you feel more at home during a stay, especially a longer one?
- Are there any accessibility issues you’ve experienced in the bathroom or kitchen on your stays?
- Do you have any culinary or nutrition-related preferences that could be better accommodated in the kitchen?
- What degree of autonomy do you feel you have on your stays?
Once you’ve gathered answers to these questions, you will have a TON of information that can help you make selections that go well beyond the look and feel of fabrics, paint colors, and other aesthetics.
…These questions touch on how people LIVE. And the people you’re asking are the others you share your home with. They’re the ones who MAKE it “home.”
And just as important, by engaging these stakeholders, the inevitable inconveniences of renovation will have a more palpable payoff for them. Everyone’s patience will be tested when whole areas of the home are “off limits” for days and weeks…but that patience will stretch a LOT further when everyone can really envision the “why” behind the work.
…Not sure how to interpret some of the answers you get to these questions?! Share them in our private design group for an insider perspective!!
By the way…ALL the images in this blog feature highlights from an exquisite lake house renovation by Signature Home Services…get the walk-through in this multiple-part video series on YouTube!!