Our lives have evolved over the last few decades, and we are utilizing our homes in many new and different ways. When space planning for clients, I always focus on the wants, needs and lifestyles of each member of the household. The traditional uses of many rooms has changed, and the focus is to create comfortable, dynamic and useful areas for living. As a baby boomer, I remember as a kid that our Living Room and Dining Room were the formal spaces only for “company” or holidays. Very specific rules for those rooms, in the past, limited the full potential of them. I have designed and proportioned spaces like Living Rooms and Dining Rooms with more comfort and accessibility to encourage more enjoyment while still maintaining a sense of elegance. I have had some clients forego a Living Room and greatly expand their Family Room to become the one primary gathering room.
Your home should support your lifestyle. Finding that balance in each area or room is worth some brainstorming with a client to plan it just for them; and thinking outside the box. Turning Guest Bedrooms into Exercise Rooms, Boutique Closets or Meditation Spaces are just a few examples. Opening up or combining space to create multi-functional rooms such as a Home Office/Den can give a client a space to work during the day and curl up to relax at night. These room changes can create more usable and enjoyable areas for that particular client, and opening up the many possibilities can make all the difference.
For those who entertain, the Kitchen and Family Room is the place where the group converges. Planning more space with good circulation, very comfortable seating and durable surfaces gives friends and family a way to increase their fun times together. If entertainment is not your style, the proportion and juxtaposition of those rooms would be modified. Also, planning for the many electronic devices in our lives, today, has to be taken into consideration and has become a part of the space planning focus.
As our lives transition through the years, (i.e. kids off to college, retirement, addition of grandchildren or taking on new hobbies), so should the spaces in our homes. Making modifications to certain areas for that new phase in your life could be a very positive and enjoyable step. Thinking about what is good for your everyday living and comfort is the key to great space in your home.