As your family grows, you might notice your home doesn’t quite have the storage capacity it used to. The bedrooms are full to the brim, your shower has no more room and sibling squabbles are at an all-time high. You might even be looking for ways to transform your home into a multi-generational living space.
Families expand in many ways — new children, older children moving back home, extended family who need a place to stay and elderly parents who no longer want to live alone. However your family expands, you’ll need to find new ways to make your house fit your developing needs. If your home is feeling cramped or you just want to improve your family’s quality of life, here are some ideas to get the most out of your space.
1. Build Outdoor Storage
Depending on the size of your yard, your outdoor space may offer the opportunity to expand your storage. Sheds are an excellent option for small areas and can come pre-fabricated or you can build your own.
If your lot size and budget allow, a garage is an even better storage solution. It can house your vehicles, tools and shelves for extra household items. A garage is also the perfect location for a freezer to hold additional meat or frozen produce for your growing family.
2. Finish Basement or Attic Space
People typically use attics and basements for storage or laundry, which isn’t the most effective use of space. To squeeze every inch of livable square footage out of your home, finish off all or a portion of your basement or attic. You could convert the area into more bedrooms, bathrooms, recreation space, in-law housing, a home gym or anything else that would improve your home’s functionality.
3. Upgrade Outdoor Spaces
When things feel stuffy and tight inside, head outdoors. Spice up a simple backyard by installing a patio. Another option would be to build in a back deck or front porch. Pay attention to the natural shade in those areas and extend your roof over them. Add a pergola or umbrellas for extra coverage so you can be outside and stay cool.
The backyard should function for your family and provide entertainment. If you like to cook or entertain, set up a grilling area. With enough space, you could even put in a firepit or horseshoes. String up some fairy lights for a cozy touch in the evenings.
4. Install a Dumbwaiter
Dumbwaiters have come a long way. They’re now incredibly reliable and have a myriad of uses for residential. Getting one of these in your home would be especially beneficial if you have a first-floor or basement laundry. Load your heavy baskets into the dumbwaiter and have them delivered where you need them. You can also use it to send meals, groceries or other essential items to a basement mother-in-law suite.
5. Open Up the Walls
Any amount of square footage will feel tight if many individual rooms break it up. Have a professional come to your home and assess what walls are load-bearing and which could come down without issue. Open the space as much as possible and it will feel bigger without adding any extra space.
6. Renovate the Kitchen
Kitchen remodels can be pretty expensive, but if you’re finding the flow doesn’t work for your family, the cost might be worth it. Open the room as much as possible and check for good sight lines into the family area. Add a large kitchen island for extra workspace, storage, and seating.
7. Add a She Shed
With a full house, odds are you need a little room for yourself. Add a she shed to the backyard as a gift to yourself and for a little peace of mind. This could be your hobby space or just a quiet place to get away and lounge. You could use a literal shed or go all-out and build an accessory dwelling unit with plumbing and electricity.
8. Build an Addition
The most straightforward way to improve the functionality of your home is to create more space through an addition. This is one of the more expensive options, but if you genuinely need extra room in your house, this could be the best way to get it. You could expand your first floor or add onto the second story over the first floor or garage.
9. Add Smart Interior Storage
If all you need is more storage space, adding some well-thought-out built-ins can drastically improve the function of your home. Add permanent shelves to your living or family room or a cute bench under a window in your kids’ bedrooms. You can even get custom options for tight or awkward spaces you might not have used otherwise.
Consider Your Future in the Home
As you improve your home and change the layout, consider how long you plan to live there. If you’d like this to be your forever home, you should make adjustments with that in mind. Keep all essential rooms on the main floor, open doorways to accommodate a wheelchair and install easy-access shower stalls. This way, your home will work for your current family needs and see you into the future.
About the Author
Rose Morrison is the managing editor of Renovated, a home living site where she loves to share home renovation ideas to help people live their best DIY life. She’s especially passionate about sustainable living and incorporating greener habits into everyday life. For more from Rose, you can follow her on Twitter.