Every home is different and each family has different needs for their home as well. But – it is safe to say that some things are universal such as an open floor plan, practical storage, functionality and the ability to host with ease in your home. Here are the seven features or elements that we believe no family home should be without!

1. Storage

Storage is crucial in a family home. A shortage of storage can lead to clutter, chaos and disorganization as you navigate toys, school bags and books, sporting equipment and everything else that comes along with family living. Functional storage helps you create organized systems so clutter doesn’t build up on surfaces and in the corners of rooms. It’s the key to maintaining some level of peace in your home.


Cabinetry Storage
Smart storage can be as simple as having some beautiful oversize baskets in the corner of your living spaces and kids’ rooms that allow for a quick scoop-up of toys throughout the day. Or it could be a storage bench and wall hooks at your entrance or mudroom for shoes, coats and umbrellas. On the other end of the scale, you might invest in some custom cabinetry with a combination of enclosed storage and open shelving in your living area. Here you might display all your favorite pieces while achieving a beautiful, seamless finish that complements the rest of your home.

2. Plan For The Future

It’s obvious that children grow into full-size adults, but when you are planning a renovation or new build with small children, consider how spaces will be used in years to come. The number of homes I’ve been to with second-story additions that have low ceilings, small rooms suited to single beds and minimal storage always surprises me. These rooms become a problem when the kids outgrow the single bed and there is no room to squeeze in a queen bed, or the sweet desk that was perfect for primary school coloring in is now inappropriate for final school exams or university textbooks. Kids RoomThat collection of giant skater-basketball-dance shoes may no longer have a space in the small closet either. When planning children’s rooms, aim for a 13-by-13-foot floor area to future-proof the room. And if you can extend the budget, push the ceiling up from the minimum for a bit more headroom as well.

3. Walk-In Pantry

We believe a walk-in pantry is a must-have in the kitchen of a busy family home. With more of us having open-plan living areas, the kitchen is front and center. A walk-in pantry helps keep the main kitchen tidy — you can store all your small appliances here and do food preparation when you’re hosting.

If the walk in-pantry has the space, try to include a sink, dishwasher drawer or a full dishwasher, plenty of open storage and closed storage in the area that can be seen from the door when it’s open.

Drawers to store food items are key as well. They keep everything neatly stored away and items are easy to access, particularly when you’re in a rush. A walk-in pantry isn’t just about food storage these days. It’s a space to make drinks, snacks and prepare dishes when you’re entertaining.

4. Comfort

Comfort is key in a family home — particularly when it comes to pieces such as sofas where you’ll probably spend a lot of time over the years. Everyone’s idea of comfort is different, so in my view it’s worth going to the expense of having pieces custom-designed so they’re right for you. For example, you may want to have the sofas in your family room or living area custom-made to suit your desired comfort level.

Dining chairs are another area where you should prioritize comfort to make for enjoyable family dinners and entertaining. Wood cafe-style chairs might look great; however, they are designed to keep you moving on and not for lingering. For family meals, I would recommend upholstered styles with comfortable seating.

5. Lighting

Light affects everything from the aesthetic, mood and functionality of a home to indoor temperature. Just like the weather affects our mood, so does the amount and quality of light we receive in our living spaces. During the day, natural light can transform a room, depending on the orientation and window size. Likewise, a colder day can make you feel less cozy or even gloomy. It isn’t always an option to have favorable orientation, so the best way to remedy gloomy spaces is to have considered light sources, whether that is general ambient light, task lighting or mood lighting. In conjunction with lighting, paint finishes and color selections are key to accentuating the required light and mood of a room.

Bathroom LightingThere’s so much to consider when it comes to lighting, so it’s best to consult an interior designer or lighting designer in order to get it right. This should ideally be done pre-build, at the same time as your plans are being put into place, to allow for all the necessary wiring to be roughed in, switch points to be considered and light fittings and globes to be specified.

6. Space Planning

The living or family room is one of the most important spaces within a family home — it tends to be where everyone gathers and a lot of different activities are done, from watching movies and socializing to quiet times. As such, it’s crucial to furnish the space appropriately. Space planning is key. It helps you work out exactly what furniture you’ll need and which sizes and shapes will work best in the space. It surprises me how many times clients purchase a sofa or dining table that looked great in the showroom, only to find it’s way too big for their living room.
Before furnishing the room, consider what you and your family do there and make sure there is enough appropriate seating and surface space to put down a plate, a pile of books or a drink. Draw up a floor plan to scale to work out whether furniture will fit — and remember to include some breathing space around each piece and ensure furniture doesn’t block doorways or traffic flow.

7. Personality

We always encourage clients with families to surround themselves with the colors, pieces and features they love rather than slavishly following trends. This way you’ll create a home that has personal meaning to you, which you’ll enjoy spending time in.

Bring cherished items and pieces of family history into the design — this is, after all, what will make your family home uniquely your own.


And Now It’s Your Turn: What’s your must-have for a great family home? Share in the Comments!


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