Inspiring Ideas for a More User-Friendly and Functional Home
Now more than ever people want our homes to be a place where we can feel safe and find joy. My 4-week series, How to Create a Happy and Healthy Home Inside and Out, will help you do just that! And most importantly, you will learn what steps you can take to improve your home’s look, functionality and freshness. You’ll find some easy and simple ideas that don’t cost much but could have a big impact.
The third week of my series will focus on how you can improve the way your home functions when it comes to space, storage, and use on a day-to-day basis.
Creating A Functional Home
In order to have a functional home, it’s essential that your home fits YOUR family’s lifestyle. This article will help you think through how your home will serve you best, don’t worry if that looks a little different than or non-traditional. The goal is to have a home that’s consistently organized, less chaotic, and brings the stress down each and every day.
And you don’t need to start a massive renovation project. Rather, you’ll find some inspiring but inexpensive steps you can take to better organize and reframe how you use your home’s rooms and spaces, and ultimately find more harmony and productivity. Let’s go!
How Do You Really Live
First, you need to figure out how you currently live in your home, and with that you’ll be able to pinpoint any issues or conflicts you are experiencing. Here are ways you can accomplish that:
Examine the uses of each room. Take the time to really figure out how each room is being used. For example, teenagers spend more time in their rooms than adults, and often have friends over.
You may find that many rooms are versatile and multipurpose. Maybe your dining room turns into a homework and craft area. Your guest bedroom is more unused than used and has become a storage room. Do you work out at home? Maybe your master bedroom also houses exercise equipment such as a Peloton bike or elliptical.
Track your daily habits and activities. See how your mornings, afternoons, and evenings are spent, and if there are any differences during the weekend. What do you do each day in each room? And how often?
Determine problem areas. As you examine and track your uses and activities in each room, you’ll want to next discuss what works and what doesn’t work. Maybe it’s very apparent with what frustrates everyone, but maybe not. What to do with mail is a big one for many families…developing a system for your bills and letters so they don’t end up on kitchen counter is a BIG stress reliever for many!
Put a Label On It — Redefine or Define
Now that you’ve named and addressed any issues or problems, it’s time to see how you can solve them. And this is where you can either take back a room for its original purpose OR you can officially redefine (or reimagine) the room so it meets your current needs.
Reimagine and don’t get stuck on traditional uses. It’s okay to reframe how rooms are used since there’s no rulebook on how to live in your home! Here are two possible scenarios you could be facing:
- You’re living in this fuzzy grey area with no clear purpose. You’re not using a room for what it was designed for but you can’t bring yourself to accept that yet. Because you haven’t fully embraced its use, the room is unorganized since it doesn’t know what it is or should be. By redefining this room, you can transform it so that if functions better for your actual needs.
Most formal dining rooms fall into this category. Even though you might love the look of a formal dining space, you don’t use it very often for dining. It’s become a de facto home office instead. Maybe you can create a better home office space there for the majority of the time and then can quickly convert it to a dining room on the few occasions you are hosting.
- You need extra space pronto and willing to be creative. To solve your space issues, you need to reimagine a room and convert it to something else, either for an extended or shorter period of time.
Again, let’s look at the formal dining room. Maybe it’s the safest place for your toddlers to play right now and it’s sitting unused. Good-bye hardly used dining room furniture and hello playroom and toys! As your kids get older, you can convert it back to a dining room. Or, what about an entry room closet that will do better as an actual easy-access mudroom — remove the door, remove the rod to put up hooks, and then baskets for storage. Voila!
Take back any room or space that you can. Here’s where you’re not using your current space efficiently even though you have enough space in your home. Everyone gets busy and a bit lazy with their space. See if you can return a room to its original purpose — you’ll get a sense of relief and accomplishment!
This happens a lot with guest bedrooms that end up being dumping grounds for stuff no one knows what to do with. Stop scrambling every time guests are in town. Go ahead and purge those items you never use or find a piece of furniture that allows for storage of the items you can’t part with.
Create and define zones to keep a room multipurpose. You can define zones within a room that you agree can serve more than one purpose. Sometimes that is the only solution for any space issues. Zones can work well if they are well organized and clearly defined (more on that later!).
A zone is an area or areas in a room where separate activities are going on — such as a family room that also serves as a playroom with toys such as play kitchen or doll house; a bedroom that includes a desk for remote work; a guest room with exercise equipment; a family room corner with school desks for homework or remote school.
Embrace outdoor living space. When defining or redefining your home’s space, don’t forget any outdoor space, either a patio, deck, porch, or lawn. Even a small balcony can become an outdoor sanctuary with plants, a bistro table and chairs.
Decorate and Organize for More Clarity
Defining or redefining is only the first step to bring clarity to your home’s space and functionality. How you organize and even decorate a room or a zone can add or detract from your productivity and sense of peace.
You most likely need certain items to go along with any uses or activities in that space. For a room or zone to function well and look good, you must visually and efficiently tailor it to your daily habits.
- Visual cues can help make distinctions of zones within a room — area rugs, furniture placement, lighting, paint colors. An area rug can help your eye define a new zone in a room. Paint a wall a different color to separate where your work zone starts from your bedroom zone. Place stand alone shelving in a room to make the distinction between a playroom zone and a family room zone. Or, create separate seating areas if you want a quiet reading zone in your living room. A hanging light fixture over a table, can designate a craft zone or school work zone within a room.
- Utilize storage efficiently in each zone or room for more productivity and ease of mind.. Strive for everything to have its place in a room or zone, and make sure family members understand this. For example, I use a shoe basket right next to our back door. Real life truth…most of the shoes end up surrounding the basket, but they are in the general area and easy to find when everyone is running out the door in the morning.
Use baskets, storage bins, ottomans, shelving, and various large and small containers that can hold all the stuff necessary for a particular activity or activities. Even consider transforming closets. Remember to group similar items together, like office supplies, games and puzzles, pet supplies, crafts, first aid items, etc.
Another example, if your laundry room and mud room are sharing space, organize it well so that your family can easily hang jackets and backpacks on hooks and put shoes in bins, and then consider convenient shelving or cabinets near your washer and dryer for necessary supplies.
Make It a Smart Home
Having smart devices can make your home more user-friendly on a daily basis by making it easier and more efficient to get things done.
Lots of high-tech options for your home. There are always new items on the market and you can find websites recommending the latest high-tech gadgets. Think a device to automatically turn on sprinklers would help? What about a robot vacuum? Or turning on your lights or music with a voice command? Would a video doorbell or smart lock system come in handy? Or consider smart kitchen appliances to make cooking and shopping easier for you.
Up your family command center. And every busy home could use a family command center for charging phones, schedules/calendars, shopping lists, in and out file boxes, and more. But now you can have one with some smart technology incorporated too.
Do some research and you may realize one or some of these high-tech items could have a positive impact on your home’s productivity and your ease of mind.
Be Open to Reframe Your Home Again … and Again
How you live in your home will most likely evolve and not remain static forever. As your needs and activities change, your home should reflect that if it can. Or, moving could be the solution you’re looking for — and I’ll be here to help you when that time comes!
I love helping people move since that’s my job, but I also like it when my clients can reimagine, reorganize, and renew their love for their current home. I hope this information has helped you think about how you can live now and continue to do so in the future. If you are staying put for now, great! But when you or anyone else you know is ready to move, call me! 😉
I'm Jennifer Mestayer (Med-E-A) and I love helping Cypress families buy and sell their
homes as they move through the varying stages of life. From first homes to forever homes...
Let me know how I can help you make your real estate dreams come true.
Cy-Fair Real Estate
16718 House & Haul Rd, St N
Cypress, TX 77433
schedule your free consultation