Multigenerational living in the US is becoming increasingly popular, with several generations living under one roof or on the same property. There are several reasons for this trend- rising housing costs, family caregiving, and the desire for familial support structures. From an interior architect + design perspective, it presents a unique set of challenges and opportunities. How can I create a space that works for all ages and stages of life? Let’s explore the ways that multigenerational living impacts interior design and discuss some design strategies for creating a harmonious and comfortable living space.
Functional spaces that cater to all ages
One of the biggest challenges presented by multigenerational living is creating functional spaces that cater to all ages. For example, a family with seniors may require wider doorways, slip-resistant flooring, or grab bars in the bathroom. On the other hand, families with small children may need play areas, extra storage for toys, or childproofing. As an interior designer I must take into consideration the unique needs of each family member when designing the entire space.
Private space for everyone
In a multigenerational home, it is important to have a designated private space for each family member. Seniors may need a separate suite for privacy and independence, while the younger generation may require their space for studying or relaxation. As an interior architect, I can create these private spaces seamlessly with spacial design and planning while using materials and design elements that tie the whole house together.
Design for accessibility
Accessibility has a significant impact on interior design in multi-generational homes. Accessibility features such as elevators, non-slip floors, walk-in showers, room dividers, and wider doorways need to be incorporated into the design. These features should be added without compromising the aesthetics of the house or the family’s lifestyle.
Universal design is the concept of creating an environment that is accessible, functional, and comfortable for all ages and abilities. It is about designing for people with varying physical abilities without excluding or limiting anyone. An interior designer must incorporate the elements of universal design that are aligned with their clients’ needs, preferences, and lifestyles, and that is part of the service that I provide for my clients.
As the name suggests, multi-generational living means several generations with different lifestyles, schedules, and needs. Therefore, it is not practical to have a dedicated space for each activity, occasion, or mood. I love the challenge of creating multi-functional spaces that serve the varied needs of the family members. For example, the dining room could have a built-in desk or a reading nook that could double as a guest room.
Multigenerational living has become a popular lifestyle choice for many families to adapt to the changing times. However, designing a home for multiple generations can be a daunting task. As an interior designer, my focus is on designing a comfortable, harmonious, and functional space that caters to the needs of all generations while maintaining an aesthetic appeal. By incorporating the above design strategies, creating your beautiful and practical dream living space that brings together the entire family is always a welcome challenge for me as a designer.