I think being house proud is something that comes with age – and of course, the responsibility and pride in owning your own home. I certainly was never house proud in my student days and my mum for one will concur when I say that I was a pretty messy teenager.
In rented accommodation in my twenties I tried my best, but it’s hard to care too much when you’re lining someone else’s pocket with any improvements you make – and anyway I had better things to be doing with my time like earning some money to fund my Topshop habit and all those bottles of Pinot…
Anyway, I digress...now in my 30s I would say that I’m quite houseproud. Don’t get me wrong, I can still be a tad messy and I’m no cleaning fanatic, but I like my house to (at least appear to) be clean and tidy. I’d rather spend money in HomeSense than Topshop and I’m a fan of redecorating areas of our house probably more than is necessary.
If it’s not the toddler constantly emptying the entire contents of my kitchen cupboards, it’s the dog running through the house with wet paws from the garden. And both have an obsession with shoes. I find them all over the house – Taylor wants to just put them on (mums, dads, hers) and Max thinks that if he steals my shoe I’ll take him out for his walk quicker (go figure).
So to say that it’s a challenge keeping the house clean and tidy is an understatement. It’s a bit of a miracle when it happens actually (usually once a day just as Dad walks through the door asking me what I’ve been doing all day).
However, there are so many steps you can take to help manage the mess and create a more harmonious environment for the family. I was recently contacted by Atlantic Shopping to contribute to their home design ideas for families and pets. Here are some of the things that have worked well for us and which you might like to think about when designing your family home.
Tips for designing your family home
1. Create large, open spaces
We moved into our house in 2014 and last year we knocked down three walls to make a large kitchen diner for the whole family to enjoy. The hubby will often sit at the centre island catching up with work emails whilst I’m cooking and Taylor’s playing. We also have adjustable stools at the island, which means that Taylor can sit up there with us – we often have our breakfast sat next to each other when she wants to be all independent!
We weren’t sure whether to keep the utility or knock through when we had the building work done. We decided to keep it and I’m so glad we did. As well as keeping all the laundry and clutter from the garden in there, it’s also where we keep Max’s food bowls, so we can shut them away from those pesky toddler hands!
2. Go carpetless
We have vinyl Amtico flooring throughout our kitchen diner and wood throughout the hallway and into the lounge. The wood was already fitted before we moved into the house and I thought I would miss the feeling of carpet underfoot. I really don’t. Hard flooring is so much more practical for spillages and dirty paws and I find it really easy to keep clean. Our lounge also backs onto the garden, so carpet just wouldn’t have worked in that space. I find that mopping every evening after Taylor’s gone to bed makes the house feel instantly clean!
3. Give everyone a space to call their own
You don’t need a huge house but if you try and give everyone in the family their own areas it can help to contain the mess and stop your whole house being overrun with toys! As a family we all congregate in our living room in the evening. Taylor has her own corner where she plays with her toys and knows that she has to tidy them away. Our dog Max always sleeps on the end of our sofa where we have a throw to help keep it clean. Max isn’t allowed on our beds and likewise, we tell Taylor that she can’t get in Max’s (she’s tried multiple times!)
It’s not about being overly strict or having separate rooms, but setting natural barriers which still enable everyone to feel part of the family.
4. Have a place for everything
You really never can have too much storage. And storage within storage for that matter. I’m a big fan of having baskets within our wardrobes, in our draws and on our shelves as it means that everything has its place.
Normal everyday routines can turn chaotic if items go missing and you can’t easily find what you’re looking for. I used to get away with hiding everything away behind the cupboard doors before I became a parent – it’s really not so easy now!
5. Think carefully about your choice of sofa (or use throws!)
Most people said we were crazy when we bought our cream sofa last year (thanks Ebay) with a dog and a baby. And perhaps they were right. But we’ve managed to get away with it so far by having throws to help protect it from the mucky paws and sticky hands. I bought throws in the same colour as the sofa so it doesn’t just seem like it’s constantly covered up, and we only have them on the section where Max seems to favour. Taylor hasn’t reached the stage yet where she spends that much time on the sofa though – we may have to buy some more (and regret buying a cream sofa) when that time comes!
What worked for you when designing your family home?
Atlantic Shopping is currently running the I Fits I Sits competition – all you have to do is visit click here and share a cute or funny picture of your pet sitting on your furniture. The winner will receive an Atlantic Shopping voucher to the value of £300, plus a pet parcel full of goodies picked specifically for your pet.
Article written in collaboration with Atlantic Shopping
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