When two families come together to live in one house, the logistics of moving house and the storage space needed can seem quite daunting. Two families, who have previously lived in two houses, need enough room to bring all their things together into one abode. This is not, of course, always practical and may sometimes mean having to rent cheap self storage space (perhaps just on a temporary basis) until enough storage can be built in the combined home. By carefully planning the storage solutions in each room, it is possible that no one will have to sacrifice items and give everyone the space they need to feel comfortable in this new setting.
Can you make your spaces bigger?
Firstly, it is important to consider if you can extend any of the existing rooms within the house in a cost effective way. By simply converting a garage in to a usable room, or adding a toilet downstairs this can make a big difference to the amount of storage space available and the level of comfort for everyone. If there is a large room, adding a small ‘en suite’ can take the pressure off the ‘family bathroom’ and it means that there won’t be a queue in the morning with everyone getting ready at a similar time to leave for work or school. If the new en-suite can be position close to the existing bathroom then that can keep costs down. There are also plenty of good, cheap bathroom fittings available online and a range of inexpensive porcelain tiles – and you won’t need many for an en-suite so it’s an affordable project.
Another option is to perhaps add a porch and incorporate a cloak room or storage solution for coats and shoes. Remember that the entrance to the house is the first thing everyone sees when they arrive, so having an area that is clutter free, and where items such as shoes and clothing have a place to be stored is crucial. It may be that the number of people in your house is doubling, so by creating a porch area or cupboard to store the outdoor clothing it will keep everything kept out of sight.
Storage solutions for the living areas
Whether you are updating your existing living area or creating an extra space, the amount of storage available needs to factor in everyone in the house. If it is a house with younger children, they will need their homely comforts and toys to hand to make them feel welcome and keep them entertained. Whether you have older teenagers or younger children coming together, extra sofas or seating is a must. Everyone needs to be able to feel comfortable as this will be an area that is most commonly used and where everyone can come together to relax.
What to use an extra room for?
If you have the luxury of being able to convert a garage in to an extra room, it is crucial to consider everyone when allocating what this space will be used for. By using cube storage solutions, or bookshelves along a wall, you can significantly increase the amount of storage available to everyone involved. It also allows for things to be kept neat and tidy, making the home feel less cluttered. Whilst the majority of items can be stored in other rooms, everyone needs their homely comforts in the room that they will spend the most time.
Cube storage solutions
Cube storage is an ideal storage solution in living spaces. Not only can you purchase colour coordinated boxes to create a colour scheme for your room, these boxes can also hold a lot of items. Each child (or adult!) could be allocated their own box(es) or space to store their things, making everyone feel that their items are just as valued as everyone else’s. Bookcases are also a good choice too as it allows you to store a range of items; CDs. DVDs, or books will all look right at home in one of these. Certain shelves can also be reserved for those all-important family photos showing happy times together.
Creating a second space with a television will accommodate different tastes in programs and channels. If this is possible, it could be that this extra space is also where children’s toys are stored, or a home office is created. By having an additional living area, it means that if anyone is feeling the need for a bit of personal space or quiet, that this can be achieved easily. After a busy day at work or school, having the physical environment that promotes calm and peace can help to relieve stress.
When two families come together, it may be the case that people who have previously had their own room now have to share. Whilst this can cause conflict, it is possible for everyone to have their own space, even within the confines of one room. In the case of children, beds that contain storage solutions within them are ideal. Cabin beds, or beds with shelving and a desk underneath mean that each child would get their own area to sleep, store their items, and study. A room can also be blocked off in to two distinct areas by using curtains or drapes. A more practical way to partition a room is to use the cube storage previously mentioned and the great thing about this type of shelving is that not only can they totally separate two areas within a room, the boxes provide extra storage solutions for toys, clothing or other personal items. As many shops stock this type of storage, it can be bought in whichever size needed to create two discrete spaces within one room.
Decorating can also be a way of distinguish different areas. It could be that the room is painted one colour but items such as wall stickers or pictures unique to each person in the room are used to create a more personal, comfortable environment. On the other hand, the room could be painted in two contrasting colours to create two very distinct (and equal!) spaces. Whichever you choose, it is important that each child is made to feel like they have their own space and create a homely environment for them.
It’s not just the kids that should be considered
As two adults come together, storage and space can also be an issue for them. Even though it is the adults who have made the decision to bring two families together in to one space, the adults too, need their bedroom to feel comfortable and inviting for them. An honest, open discussion is needed beforehand for preferences of colour and choice of storage solution. In the case of a woman moving in to a man’s home, or indeed a new home, the woman may have a preference for having a dressing table, or certain types of storage for their clothes. This will need to be factored in to the space available as these can be quite large!
Clothing storage solutions
Floor to ceiling sliding wardrobes are an ideal way to create lots of space and storage, but the space behind the door can also be adapted to suit the individual. For example, one person may prefer to have more drawers and less hanging space. This can be accommodated by buying drawer inserts for the wardrobe, and reducing the hanging rail space. Because these can be personalised it means that each person will have the correct type of storage for their items.
A bathroom is normally quite a fixed room in terms of the plumbing and the positioning of the suite and his can rarely be easily moved around. However, extending the bathroom or creating an extra space could be hugely beneficial. This is one room that everyone needs to have access to regularly, and quite often at a similar time of day (morning and evenings). If you can enlarge the space or create another one it would be advisable to do so. If you do not have the luxury of doing this, the space can be used creatively to ensure everyone has access to what they need quickly, reducing the amount of time they spend in there.
Bathroom storage solutions
One example of this is a mirror that is also a cupboard above the sink. If items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste and other daily essentials are stored here they can be quickly accessed by all. A cupboard under the sink is another ideal storage option to keep cleaning products, toilet rolls and even small towels to hand but keep them out of sight and make the bathroom clutter free. High shelving is an excellent way of storing towels as it keeps them to hand, and keeps the bathroom feeling like a wider, open space. Within the shower or bath, having enough storage for everyone’s hair and body products is an essential and there are shower shelves on the market that would be perfect for this. Everyone has their own preferences and creating enough space for everyone to have their own products will reduce the amount of time spent hunting for things!
Unless you have the luxury of putting in a whole new kitchen, this is another room that is totally fixed in terms of layout. In this area, it is important to ensure that there is enough cutlery and crockery to accommodate the growing family. Where 6 plates may have been enough for 2 or 3 people, it could be that more need to be purchased to allow everyone to have access to these without having to constantly wash up! If there is a breakfast bar or seating area, it is essential to consider how many more chairs or seats are needed so that everyone can sit down to eat. Whilst a breakfast bar may not accommodate everyone due to its size, having a dining table where everyone can come together for meals is a great way to bring people closer and share special moments of the day. In addition to this, there are many inserts for cupboards that provide storage solutions for many different kitchen items – after all, there will likely be a few extra items coming in to the house to cater for individual tastes.
Considering all spaces available
Looking at all the different areas within the house that could be adapted for a growing family is an ideal way to create extra space. It is a matter of looking what is available and consider how it can be used in a different way. Using the existing cupboard space, such as those under the stairs (if you have some!) or airing cupboards more efficiently, can create the much needed storage space that is needed for all the extra items that will be brought in to the home. The option of outdoor storage is also not to be forgotten. An outdoor shed is a great way to store items that won’t be affected by changes in weather.
Using attic or basement space can also add more room for everyone coming together. It can be a simple DIY job, such as boarding out the loft space which will allow items that are not needed regularly to be kept safe and sound, without cluttering up the existing space. Quite often people have sentimental items that they wish to keep, however don’t need to have access to on a daily basis. The attic is a perfect place to store these items. The attic can even be used to create a whole extra room or space. A basement can be an excellent area to place an extra freezer or fridge to store the additional food. If the plumbing is in place washing machines and dryers can be moved to basement areas creating extra living space in your kitchen areas.
Bringing everyone together happily
As you can see, there are many factors that need to be considered when combining two families. The most important thing is to ensure that each person feels like that they have their own space and feels ‘at home’. By utilising storage solutions, or using the space more creatively, it can be easy to bring together two families in to one abode. Making sure that everyone’s thoughts and opinions are shared will help to create harmony and bring two families together easily. Giving everyone a sense of the new house becoming their home, is the ultimate goal. It can be difficult to come together in a home however it is easy to make everyone feel valued and welcome with forward planning. Whether it is extending the space, adapting the space, or creating extra storage, there are many options available.