Home Design with Your Kids In Mind

YES Spaces Owner Barbara Miller

YES Spaces Owner Barbara Miller

Sprucing up your space with kids is difficult. Let’s face it, having nice things in the house with young kids is just down right hard. But designing your home with your kids in mind and actually giving them a bit of input may just help bring a little harmony to everyone.

We asked Barbara Miller, ASID Interior Designer, DIY Expert and owner of YES Spaces to offer some tips on how to best design for your family and get your kids involved if you’re planning to renovate a space.

What is your belief about designing homes and spaces for kids?
As both a professional interior designer and the mom of 5 I believe it is possible to create a home that is beautiful and where your family can live comfortably. I start by finding out how a family lives in their home, are there special needs, or special interests? Once I understand the function of a room, I tailor the design to support your family’s lifestyle; we can make design decisions like fabrics that can survive daily use, furniture that might be multi-functional or including adequate storage. I care about how a room could best be used not how it should be used while still keeping it stylish. It IS possible!

Why should parents keep kids in mind when redesigning spaces in their home?
Children need to feel welcome in their own home. The world is not designed for children and as a result they hear ‘no’ a lot. Creating spaces in their home where they feel free to be themselves lets them know that you understand them and appreciate them exactly as they are.

Photo credit: YES Spaces

Photo credit: YES Spaces

Why is it important for older kids to get a say in how some of their spaces look?
When older children are part of the design process they feel heard and respected by their parents. This strengthens the bond between parent and child. Children also feel more ownership and a greater sense of responsibility which can lead to them taking greater care of their space. If a child helps me think through how toys should be organized based on how he/she plays with them they will be able to clean those toys up independently.

What are some simple tricks parents can use to help give kids a space to call their own?
The most important thing to do is to ask your child what they want? What do they love to do? What do they wish they could do more of? What do they wish they could change? And then address some of these things in their space and tell them how what they said impacted what you added or changed. If they are old enough let them be involved in making those changes. A sense of control is also a critical thing for a child to have in their own space. This may be a simple as giving a child who wakes up in the night a reading light that is switched right next to their bed, or a canopy they can close for privacy in a shared bedroom. If your child has a younger sibling, designate an area that is just for the older child where you promise to keep the younger child out of their space. This encourages the older child to be more creative with art, Legos, or imaginative play because they are not constantly worried about their work being damaged. I have seen this done with a space as simple as an under the stairs cubby hole, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to create these spaces.

Photo credit: YES Spaces

How can dads get more involved in helping their kids create something at home?
Include your child in the work you are doing around the house. Keep it age appropriate but let them help you repair the faucet, for example, even if you have no idea what you are doing. Then you are modeling how to learn a new skill for your child. Sit down with your child and get your hands dirty doing a craft. As children age they become more self-conscious of doing things that are too ‘babyish’ and they lose some of their natural desire to explore and learn. If you are showing curiosity and willing to dig in and have fun that gives your child the freedom to jump in with you. Your helping them learn and creating a bond, can’t beat that.

This interview is part of our ongoing series with leaders from companies involved in parenting products or issues. No goods or services were exchanged. Who would you like to hear from? Leave a suggestion in the comments below.

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