When working with clients, I find that homeowners in a partnered relationship have a hard time coming to the same conclusion on what direction to take a remodel project. In most cases, this is because they BOTH have things that are more of a priority for themselves in a personal way - and sometimes, this can come as a surprise. So, a lot of husbands (or, the more hands-off partner when it comes to the home) actually DO have an opinion… and they should. It’s their home and they live there, too.

Taking this concept further, in home design, I find that it’s best to focus on the people that are actually using the environment being designed. This could be the main homeowner (you) or your spouse, this could be your children, this could be family members that come to visit or if you entertain. This could be someone who cares for your children in your home while you’re not there. You should ask yourself, “what design choices and design decisions are you making that will enable the environment to be better for the relationships being built?”

For instance, you have your sitter or nanny over three days a week to watch your kids. While she’s there, you want her to be interacting with them - you want her to be helping them learn, building those relationships, helping them learn … even down to being down on the floor with them to enable that. What you don’t want is for her to be sitting in a different room or on her phone. So if this is what you want - for them to be on the floor playing with a child - then make the floor comfortable. What environment should you create to make that setting comfortable, and inviting, for everyone? Is that floor pillows? Is that a squishy pad? Is that carpet? In what area? Do they play in the living room or the bedroom? Where do you want them to be? The toys? Really start asking these questions to figure out where to start, and dig from there.

For myself, I find that the sitter and my kids are playing in their bedrooms - because there’s carpet in there and it’s nice to be able to play on the ground. Personally, I want all the toys to stay in there. I don’t want them to come back out and throughout the house; I want them tucked away nicely back in their rooms.

Once you have a location established, consider how else to help the environment. Music? If you have a Google Home or Amazon Alexa, they can easily play music with your kids. More places to sit? It’s not always comfortable to sit on the floor for long periods of time, so adding throw pillows that can sit against a wall so someone can lean back. Spots they can play games? Maybe a comfortable chair or a small table that could accommodate both a child and adult. Really try to think through each perspective and situation that you’re trying to create and accommodate the people who will actually be using it.