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How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

September 26, 2018
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Multigenerational households may be the solution to sky-high property prices, but there’s more to them than just practicality; because of the closeness of living together under one roof, there are also valuable emotional and psychological benefits to be had for both the young and old.

To start creating a safe and comfortable living environment for everyone? It all begins with having a workable plan for every part of your home – here’s what you should include in yours:

1. A flexible living area

How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

Interior Firm: The Nest

When you have a home that caters to occupants of different age groups, it’s best to have a flexible living area that’s capable of handling various needs and activities, whether its work or recreation.

To get more mileage out of your home’s square footage, create multipurpose spaces that double up for both work and play by including interesting, but useful built-ins like cut-outs and cosy nooks.

How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

Interior Firm: The Nest

Otherwise, you can opt for loose furniture that are designed with space maximisation in mind. Extendable tables and day beds/sofas are perfect for this purpose because they can be easily shifted to where they are needed and ‘transformed’ when necessary.

2. A spacious kitchen

The idea that it’s bad to have too many cooks around doesn’t just apply to the broth, it’s the same for the kitchen too. Don’t underestimate the amount of family friction that a tiny kitchen can cause: if mom wants to cook, you’d best get out of the way OR start zoning your meal prep space into smaller, personal areas.

For fittings and fixtures, consider getting low-height pullout drawers and cabinets with soft-closing mechanisms, which are both practical and safe to use.

How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

Interior Firm: Woo Sang Design

Storing frequently used cookware and condiments in low drawers with soft-close doors and pull-out shelves instead of overhead cabinets also enable seniors to retrieve and stow things away easily.

3. Safer bathrooms

It goes without saying that wet zones are the most dangerous places at home for both children and the elderly, which is why it’s important to have the necessary safeguards in place.

Equipping your bathrooms with grooved grip bars and handheld showerheads as well as installing slip-resistant flooring are just some of the methods you can adopt to make them safer spaces.

Additionally, you can consider installing doors with sliding mechanisms or lever handles, which are easier to operate compared to door knobs.

How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

4. Comfortable bedrooms

Sure, everyone is living together, but it doesn’t change the fact that bedrooms are personal spaces.

Aside from being a retreat for rest and relaxation, bedrooms are also important because of the privacy they provide. Allow kids to pick their own wall colours, and ensure the elderly have everything they need to be comfortable.

How to Design a Multi-Generational Home for Everyone

Interior Firm: The Realizes Co

For safety, consider installing two-way light switches (one at the bedroom’s entrance and another at the bedside) to make it more convenient for seniors and young children to return to bed after a late-night trip to the bathroom. Low-hanging cabinetry or loose furniture are useful fixtures as there’s no need to worry about falling objects.

If your budget allows for it, install motion-sensor lights along the path from a senior’s bedroom to the bathroom so as to facilitate night trips.


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