3 Top Tips when designing for blended families

What are blended families?

There are so many blended families, now. A blended family happens when two people get together and they both have their own children. When you all get together in the same house you have officially ‘blended’ – it’s sweet really isn’t it? Laurence and I live with our 4 children, with an age range of seven to 17! We regularly design for these kinds of families. Of course, these tips will also be useful to big families in general too. Often an exciting and more cost-effective way to find a home for you all is to actually build it yourself!

So, in this blog I’m going to take you through what I think are the 3 main considerations when designing for your blended family, fool proof ways to get your design right.

  1. Consider flexibility

Think about how many of you there are in the house? and when they will be living there? For example, Laurence and I have four children between us, this means that at peak occupation there are 6 of us in the house. However, this is only for 50% of the time. This links nicely to a blog I have previously written about creating ‘a family hub’ you can read the blog ‘Do you have a happy home?’ here.

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When we are all in the house it is important that there is enough space for everyone to spread out a bit. We want to feel connected but not on top of each other, we need to be able to all be moving around the house without bumping into one another. On the flip side, half of the time it is just Laurence and I in the house. We don’t want to be rattling around or losing each other in the space, we want to feel a bit cosy! Consider this: open plan area in the house for your family needs and then have a close off space to make the house feel more intimate for just two!

There is a recorded a video about this on our YouTube page, which will be incredibly useful for you. Watch it here

2.The ages of your children and their individual needs

Your children will all have individual needs according to their personalities and their ages. They need their own spaces. Their bedroom sizes may be different, and bedroom uses will be different too. For smaller children, are they able to grow into their rooms? Consider how you can design and plan for their future needs as they grow. For older children, are they going away for University? In this case, it is good to think about how their bedroom may be a more flexible space whilst retaining the feeling of ‘home’ when they are home for the holidays.

3. Be clever with design

Laurence and I are loving the series ‘Below Deck’ at the moment, it’s a complete guilty pleasure – it features the crew and guests of a £20 million-pound superyacht. What is great (and relevant here!) is the amazing functionality of the design. The space is an absolute luxury but designed with ultimate functionality.

For your home, clever design solutions will mean that you can get your sqm rate down. This means you can cut down on the wall space and floor space that could, otherwise be adding to the cost of your build. Depending on where you build (the National Park authorities that we work with have a 30% increase in original footprint rule for instance) you may also need to be clever with your design in terms of functionality – it’s not always just a cost consideration. Building in furniture is perfect for functionality and clean lines. Consider communal space for wardrobes/storage etc, by doing this you can keep those functions out of bedrooms, keeping your sqm down and allowing more space for study/play within the rooms.

I hope that has given you some inspiration for your new home. If you would like a bit more, take a look at some of our recent architectural projects here on our website and regularly update on our social media. You can also sign up for our monthly newsletter for all the latest news, updates, hot topics and more, click here to sign up.

Written by Verity Lovelock. Verity is an Architect at BBD Architects, based in Romsey, Hampshire. She is passionate about residential design and promotes happiness and health through all areas of residential design in her practice.