Easy DIY – Family Friendly Refurbishments

A family home has so many demands placed on it that it’s a wonder any property stands up to the wish list we devise for our safety, comfort and pleasure. But believe it or not, it is completely possible to achieve a home that works for your needs without losing your sanity! The big thing is to be perfectly honest with yourself about how your home needs to work. Yes, you may be hankering after clean lines and a Scandi vibe, but will that work with your lifestyle? If you work from home for example, it’s a good idea to have your work area away from the main living space. And don’t forget, open plan living is noisy – there is no getting away from the sound of the kitchen when you want to relax and watch telly.

building works

Be objective about what is working for you and what isn’t. In any family home, storage is a challenge and without it, you’ll feel overwhelmed by possessions. It is astonishing how much laundry tiny humans create, how much food is prepared and how many accessories are required to get them through the first few years of life. The good thing is all of this kit is temporary – yes, it will actually exit your life after a few years – but while it shares your home, the way you use that space is important. Where will the laundry, both clean and dirty, be housed? Where will the buggy live? Do you have a playroom for all the toys? Where children are concerned, one set of kit will be replaced with another. Of that I can assure you!

The key words are space planning. Deciding to have a wonderful open plan kitchen is lovely but the whole concept behind an open plan space is that everything is streamlined and hidden away. It is the kitchen you want to see, not the mess of family life. And you really won’t achieve that look by removing walls without making allowances for some kind of storage area. So, plan on including a utility room and into this space consider putting the washing machine and drier, hand basin and shelving to take family laundry, sports kits, wellie boots, dog food etc. You may even fit the buggy in there!



Once that is thought through you can use the open area to highlight the features you’ve fallen in love with. That sleek long island and refectory table can now become the focal points to the space, but don’t forget if you don’t have a playroom, there will be a lot of toys in here most of the time. Where will they live? You’ll need to plan on some discreet cupboards in here as well.

open plan kitchen

And what about a cloakroom? With small, toilet-training children the stairs will become your daily assault course. If there is space downstairs – and at the same time as planning the utility room – consider ‘bolting on’ a downstairs cloakroom as well. And keep the children’s toothbrushes in there – removing the need to go back upstairs after breakfast on a school morning shaves minutes off getting out the door!


These are the sorts of things that kitchen planners don’t consider. How you live your life as a family is complex and time consuming because of the activities and social events it revolves around. Your space has to work for you and your needs may be quite individual, but that doesn’t mean you should be afraid to incorporate them. After all if your space doesn’t do what you want, it isn’t money well spent.

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