At SweisKloss we understand the importance of designing for children’s needs. And having school-aged children reminds me of this importance every day. Simply put, kids need a place to focus, a place to unwind, a place for storage and a place to sleep.
Focus: Kids need consistency and having one space designated for doing homework is ideal. This space can be built-in or a piece of furniture. The space should have a comfortable chair and good lighting. Space to focus can be in a shared space as long as it is away from distractions and the noise of the family room. When designing 2-story homes, we like to transform the space on the second floor near the landing and outside the bedrooms into a quiet homework or reading nook.
But even though they may have a quiet space elsewhere, the gravitational pull of the kitchen is pretty strong. My daughter often prefers to do homework at the kitchen island counter so she can bounce ideas off of me.
Unwind: A great chair or window seat can provide a place to hang out and read, do puzzles or Legos – essentially a place to decompress. Reading should be a joy and not treated like other homework. Kids should be encouraged to stretch out and read anywhere they feel comfortable.
Storage: Shoes, jackets, umbrellas, backpacks, sports gear, musical instruments, and on and on, need homes too! Built-in cabinetry or a great piece of furniture at the entry point can be a permanent or temporary holding zone for all of the gear kids shed as they come into the house. If the holding zone is temporary, consider using removable baskets as containers that can be carried to their rooms when time to clean up. The zone can be anywhere, we have designed these “zones” at the rear entry of the home, at the entry from the garage, as part of a laundry room or as a stand-alone mudroom.
A desk in the bedroom can do double duty as a place to focus and for storage. And giving kids shelves, drawers and hooks of their own, helps them learn to be organized and also helps them find their own stuff!
Sleep: The bedroom should be a place of peace and quiet with blackout curtains that help kids get the best night’s sleep. When possible, we design floor plans where the kid’s bedrooms are away from the living areas of the home, so that younger kids can sleep while the adults are still up or even entertaining.
Oh, and for parental sanity: (we recommend a wine fridge and liquor cabinet!) and also a cork board to pin up family events, school handouts and schedules, and a place to display their artwork and awards. After all, they have earned it.