Want a better functioning home? Flexibility is the secret to success

Flexibility is the key to a well functioning home

A well-functioning home is one that can easily adapt to the ever changing needs of life, and family life in particular. So flexibility is the key to success.

Whether it’s creating a designated space for children to do homework to free up space in your kitchen. Or creating a space for older kids to hang out with their friends so you can reclaim your sitting room.

Having designated spaces for specific functions make the layout of a home more flexible – which is the key to making your home work well.

Put under used spaces to work to create flexibility

Space to grow

A few years ago we we constructed a house for an exhibition where we showed how flexibility in design could maximise the potential in our homes. One of the spaces was what we called the kids’ apartment, which was basically their bedrooms connecting to a den area, plus a study space where they could hang out with their friends or indeed do homework.

This is exactly the kind of space that many of our clients are looking for. And with a little reconfiguration and reworking of under-used spaces this kind of flexibility is available in many homes.

Bench seating creates more space for dining

Don’t waste space

The key to flexibility is making use of every inch of available space. Benches are a great way of maximising the space you have, whether it’s creating a dining space in a small kitchen or a reading area in a living space, this can be a really simple and attractive feature in a room and super functional too.

We had clients with a long narrow kitchen where they had to keep their dining table pushed up against the wall until they needed to eat. We turned a window into a small bay with a window seat to create a lovely dining space.

Choose furniture for flexibility

THe furniture you choose can enhance your homes flexibility. Replace a large coffee table with smaller side tables, which will free up space and can easily be moved around depending on how you want to use the room. Try to avoid buying very specific pieces this is especially tempting when decorating children’s rooms but over time you will find that your house becomes filled with redundant furniture items.

Instead opt of pieces that could be used elsewhere in the house should you decide to update the room. For example, we had a book shelf that we used in our living room many years ago which is now filled with toys in my sons bedroom.

Create a dressing area in a bedroom with bespoke joinery

Create flexibility by thinking outside the box

Just because you are tight on space doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on your homes flexibility. There are ways to include all the things that will make a difference to you and your home. We have clients who had a very compact bedroom but wanted a dressing table.

There was a small alcove at the end of the bed which was a foot deep, which we filled with a floating shelf with a lift up top to reveal carefully sectioned off drawers to store make up and jewellery. This very small addition provided valuable storage and created a perfect dressing table without taking any space from the room.

Create a reading area on a landing space

Put underused spaces to work

We had other clients who had a large landing, which was one of the sunniest parts of the house. By building in a window seat and lining the walls either side of the window with book shelves we created a really lovely space to sit and read, opening up the otherwise unused space in the house.

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Denise O'Connor

Author Denise O'Connor

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