How to make multigenerational homes work for everyone

How to make multigenerational homes work for everyone

Back in 2018 I wrote a blog post for my studio blog about multigenerational homes. And recently I read an article in The Guardian about multigenerational homes and wanted to revisit this topic. Especially, what it means in terms of creating a functional home with more people living in it, with different needs and limited space. Here are my top tips on how to make multigenerational homes work for everyone.

Review the floor plan

Reviewing the floor plan doesn’t necessarily mean changing it structurally. It means looking at the number of the rooms in the house, who lives in the home, what everyone’s functional requirements are and plotting out how this can all work.

More space isn’t always the answer but garages and outdoor studios may be a viable option to consider if the multigenerational home is a long term situation.

How the house worked with children will differ to how the house works with adult children and aging parents or grandparents.

While most parents are welcoming of returning children, a discussion about how the home will work based on everyone’s different functional needs is worthwhile.

Privacy is key

Something parents might not consider is the increased need for privacy for adult children. Young children and teenagers have different privacy requirements for different reasons to adult children.

Privacy is important for everyone in practical ways such as in the bathroom and bedrooms but also for more holistic reasons, privacy should be respected to ensure you multigenerational home works.

Noise levels

I’m a fan of broken living and feel like a multigenerational home environment is the perfect reason to prefer broken living versus open plan living, especially when it comes to noise.

Imagine an open plan living area with many people in it undertaking a different task/function. It can get noisy and frustrating.  Especially for people watching TV or using a phone.

Patience and respect

While in countries such as Greece it’s common for children to live at home into their 30s for us in Australia, it’s not so common and there can be a stigma. I certainly felt it when I moved back home to start my business ten years ago.

People need to move back home for many reasons, housing affordability, study, divorce and so on and there is no shame in that.

So I think patience and respect is key to how to make a multigenerational home work for everyone. All occupants need to work together to ensure everyone is comfortable and happy.

Some of my clients have been in multigenerational home situations. So, I recommend seeking out the help of an interior designer to assist with issues relating to changed functionality, additional furniture and so on. An interior designer will have some great advice that they may not require an expensive renovation.

Our spaces should not be stagnant, they need to change and evolve with the occupants and there are so many solutions to accommodate multigenerational homes beyond creating ‘more space’. Sometimes volume is not the only solution on how to make multigenerational homes work for everyone, sometimes our mindset and attitude can play a part in a home’s cohesion and harmony.

Cover Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

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