Guest Post: Design Tips to Make Room for Two (or More!)

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5 ways to get your home ready for new arrivals

Multiples can fill up a house quickly, especially if you’re in a smaller space to begin with—but fortunately, there are a few inexpensive design tricks that can make your home feel much more open. Here are a few ways you can organize your home to make room for multiples.

1. Use unifying colors

Photo Credit: coco+kelley
Photo Credit: coco+kelley

One of the simplest ways to alter the sense of space in a room is to change the color scheme. Light, breezy colors like cream, pastel blue or green, and yellow will let more light in and make your home feel much more open. Dark, rich colors tend to soak up natural light and make rooms feel more cave-like. If your walls, art, and furniture have clashing colors, this can also make a room feel busy—so try to create a unified theme for your home, with two or three matching colors.

2. Get creative with closet space

When you bring multiples home, you might need to convert offices, playrooms, and guest rooms into bedrooms—but that doesn’t mean you have to give up the space entirely. Especially while kids are young, you’ll have some unused closet space that can become a home office nook or even a small play area.

For shallow closets, you can simply remove the doors, throw in a desk and good lighting, and you’ve got a place to get things done. With chalkboard paint and creative use of closet storage, the same closet can become a little play nook.

3. Make use of vertical space

Use vertical space
Photo Credit: theloushe

Vertical space is seriously underused in most homes, which can make the floor feel very maze-like and cluttered. This tip is especially helpful for parents of multiples, because your home’s vertical space is a great place to put things you want to keep away from kids, like houseplants, expensive decorative items, etc.

To make better use of vertical space, replace end tables with wall-mounted shelving, and floor lamps with sconces. If you have potted plants on your living room floor, hang them from the ceiling instead. The more you can clear your floor, the more open (and kid-proof) your home will be.

4. Pare down furniture and art

For your living room and common areas, the best way to reduce the “busy” feeling is to cut back on clutter. Instead of three small, mismatched furniture pieces in the living room, go for one big couch. Instead of a wall full of art in various styles and colors, opt for a single statement piece (or even better, a nice big mirror). Especially in your bathroom, keep one rug, one mirror, and one piece of tasteful art.

5. Create visual depth

Photo Credit: emily katherine may
Photo Credit: emily katherine may

The farther into a room you can see, the more open it feels, so make sure you can see as much of your walls and baseboards as possible. Choose thin, leggy nightstands and end tables, and remove bed and sofa skirts. Look for recessed bath cabinets with big, wide mirrors to reflect more light and fool the eye.

In your kitchen, use open shelving instead of cupboards—you can simply remove the cupboard doors, sand down the hinges, and repaint to open up the space. (If you choose open shelving in your kitchen, display your matching flatware up front; the more unified your kitchen is in color and style, the less cluttered it will feel.)

Mike Freiberg is a staff writer for HomeDaddys, a resource for stay-at-home dads, work-at-home dads, and everything in between. He’s a handyman, an amateur astronomer, and a tech junkie, who loves being home with his two kids. He lives in Austin.

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Movin' on up!

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This post, my friends, will contain absolutely no advice.  Zero.  Zip.  Zilch.  Instead, I’m asking for your advice.  Can you help?  Please?

Earlier in the week, Rebecca wrote a post about the shrinking of your living space once twins come into the picture.  Two babies at once = lots-o-stuff.  No matter how large your house, it seems to shrink exponentially as the months in which your kids have inhabited the Earth go by.  First, it’s the bouncy seats, swings, play mats, and Bumbo chairs that liter the living room.  Then around the 5th month mark, the aforementioned items are handed down to another expectant MOM (to fill up her living room!), and it’s the Exersaucers, Jumperoos and high chairs that take their place. 

We sold the ol’ Exersaucer and Jumperoo on Craigslist a month or two ago and, damn…that was a happy day!  “More space!!”, B and I said to each-other.  That was, until they started walking.  And climbing.  And being….well, 1-year olds! 

It was at that time that we decided enough-was-enough and started looking around at houses.  Right now, the space in which we live is 1,388 square feet.  That seemed HUGE before we had kids.  We would rarely even use our downstairs, which includes two bedrooms and a bathroom.  We had one entire bedroom (now the boys’ room) that contained nothing more than backpacks and sleeping bags.  We stored them in the abandoned room simply because something had to be in there.  It couldn’t just be….empty! 

Now we seem to be bursting out at the seams of our little home.  The boys enjoy exploring every square inch.  And the primary-colored plastic explosion that is now our living room…well, it needs to be a bit bigger. 

We’ve been looking at houses for a few months now.  While attending open houses, even the 1,600 square foot homes seem SO big.  But we know that, once the boys get older, that amount of space will seem small as well.  So, we decided to stay around the 2,000 square foot mark.  Not to big, but not too small.  I’m all for living in the smallest amount of space that is feasible for a family.  Less to heat, less to clean and less space to search when your kid plays a game of “hide mommy’s car keys”. 

So.  We need to move into a bigger home.  Check.  That would entail us having to sell our current home…and you guessed it!  That’s where you come in! 

Dear readers, how is a family of four supposed to live in their current home, all while giving the “illusion” that it is not lived in?  How do you make your home as uncluttered as possible when you have two one-year olds and all of the paraphernalia that accompanies them, cluttering up your house?  Moreover, how are you supposed to show your house when you and your husband both work full-time and the only time during the week that you have available to show your home is between the hours of 5:30 pm and 6:30 pm, which also happens to coincide with the time in which your two little munchkins start flinging sweet potatoes and black beans all over the dining room (aka, their dinner time)?

If any of our readers have experienced selling their current home and moving into a new house with kids in tow, we want to hear from you!  Give us your tips on staying sane while movin’ on up… 

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