10 Functional Design Updates for Multi-generational Homes
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Published on December 13, 2017
Almost one in five Americans lived in a multi-generational home in 2014, according to the Pew Research Center. Many families choose this living arrangement because it provides economic and social benefits. You may also invite your parents to live with you for safety reasons. In this case, you may wonder how you’ll create a comfortable and safe living space for your parents and maintain your beautifully decorated home. Ten tips help you achieve this balance and please everyone living in your home.
- Install Decorative Step Handrails
- Smooth the Transitions Between Rooms
- Update Door Handles
- Adapt the Bathroom
As our parents age, they may face mobility challenges, including navigating steps. You may decide to build a safety ramp outdoors, but if a ramp is not an option, you can improve stair safety without compromising your home’s appearance.
Start by installing sturdy handrails on all the exterior and interior stairs. The anti-slip handrails you choose should be installed properly and support the body weight of everyone who will use them.
To improve the appearance of the handrails, select a brass, metal or wood finish, choose decorative wrought iron or paint the handrails to match your walls or decor. These safety features are now ready to help your parents navigate steps safely, and they look attractive.
The wooden or aluminum transition strips between rooms cover the seam between the different rooms, disguise flooring material changes and improve flow. Often bumpy, these transition strips pose tripping risks for seniors.
Roll a chair over all the transition strips in your home to ensure they’re flat. If they’re not, install ADA-approved transition strips in a finish that matches the existing flooring. These important safety features prevent tripping without sacrificing style.
Traditional door and cabinet handles feature knobs. Anyone with arthritis typically struggles to grasp and turn knobs, though.
Update door and cabinet knobs with levers or pulls that are easier to grasp. Select from a variety of decorative finishes, including brass, a trendy finish for 2018, that matches your style and decor preferences. This simple update improves access and independence for your parents and adds an attractive style element to your home.
Falls affect one in four older Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and they’re the leading cause of fatal and non-fatal injuries. The bathroom is especially risky because of the wet floor and other hygiene challenges.
Many bathroom safety features like grab bars and shower chairs create a hospital-like atmosphere. You can protect your parents and create a beautiful bathroom when you implement functional and aesthetically pleasing adaptations.
- Install trendy white or decorative slip-resistant tile or vinyl flooring.
- Select a grab bar that doubles as a toiletries holder.
- Replace the fixed shower head with a hand-held shower sprayer.
- Hang decorative light fixtures near the sink and above the shower.
- Place a glass front medicine cabinet within easy reach.
- Add Adequate Lighting
The right lights create an ambiance in your home, particularly when the fixtures match your decor. Lighting also improves sleep, vision and safety as you function in your house.
Equip every room in your home with adequate general and localized lighting. Where possible, utilize natural light that’s easy on your eyes. You may also install motion-sensing or smart lighting controls that automatically adjust when someone enters the room. Remember to install night lights, too, as you improve safety.
The go-to wall colors for 2018 include deep, dark shades like black and violet and patterned and textured wallcoverings. Water-inspired hues of blue and turquoise also remain popular, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms.
Choose one or more of these colors as you update your multi-generational home.
- Paint an accent wall dark purple.
- Incorporate color into the ceiling, floor, curtains, doors, cabinets or decor.
- Use texture on the walls via paint techniques or artwork.
- Arrange oversized 3-D artwork or metal flowers on walls.
- Hang floral, paisley or abstract wallpaper.
When selecting wall colors, consider color psychology and choose shades that are calming and relaxing. Also, opt for non-glare finishes and complementary colors as you maintain a beautiful and calm home environment. These wall color tips keep your home stylish and add visual appeal for all your family members.
The beauty of natural stone appeals to almost everyone. It’s sturdy and supports your weight as you lean on it, too, and it’s nonporous, making it easy to clean and sanitize.
In the kitchen and bathroom, install stone counters where possible. They add visual appeal to your home and provide quality, functional countertop space for you and your parents.
According to floriculturist Dr. Charlie Hall, houseplants improve memory, concentration, happiness, relaxation, physical health, relationships, energy, vitality and quality of life. They also add an element of style and color to your home, and certain plants like the snake plant, spider plant and golden pothos remove indoor air pollutants.
Arrange plants near windows or hang baskets from the ceiling as you gain the positive effects of houseplants throughout your home. This greenery makes your home beautiful and healthier.
When you welcome new family members into your home, you may need to rearrange your belongings. Consider downsizing as you create space.
To reduce clutter, walk through each room in your home and decide what you love. Ask yourself if you can donate the rest of the items to charity or switch them to a different room. You may also repurpose furniture, a big trend for 2018. For example, hang a chair upside down on a wall to create a shelf or use a wagon as a plant stand. By removing clutter, you create a neat, tidy and safe home for both you and your parents, and you surround yourselves with the items that bring you joy.
You and your parents probably do not share the same design preferences, and that’s normal and okay! Each of you can find pleasure in your shared home when you decorate your personal living spaces in your preferred styles.
Allow your parents to choose the paint colors, furnishings and window treatments in their private bedroom, bathroom, living room or kitchen areas. Meanwhile, you can decorate your private rooms in the style you prefer. Consider incorporating items you both love in the common living areas you share. With this compromise, you each feel comfortable in at least one room of the house.
As you prepare to move your parents into your home, consider these 10 functional upgrades. They create a safe home that’s also comfortable, functional and pretty for everyone. For more assistance designing a home that functions properly for you and your parents, contact our professional home modification experts by calling (610) 518-2221 or using our online contact form. We look forward to meeting your multi-generational design needs.