Create the bunk bed of your child’s dreams
One very easy way to stretch space in a child’s bedroom is to buy a bunk bed. It’s brilliant! This is one way to create a play area and a homework spot in a space-starved home. Back in the day, while living in a typical 1950s ranch-style house, we used our bedroom for homework, sleep and play. The popularity of a family room or basement expressly designed for children wasn’t heard of. I’ve met elderly people who tell how they saved one bedroom — in a four-bedroom home back in the 1960s — as a play room. These rooms were sometimes called the rumpus room!
In the era of the McMansion, huge amounts of real estate were devoted to leisure rooms filled with pool tables, Ping-Pong tables or craft tables. There often was an adult bar and a humungous television — the bigger, the better. I’ve designed in-home theaters and indoor pools in the past. Now that the American home is shrinking again, young families are struggling to carve out recreation spaces. You might need to become creative in what you buy for your children to maximize their play space.
Consider the benefits of a Europe- an-made unit like this for an older child. The steps up to the bed are hidden on the right side of the open bookcase and are boxed in for safe access. Going to bed would be an adventure, and furniture would serve many needs in a small area. Storage, homework, sleeping and a display of personal objects are economically arranged in a clean and modern way. Compromises are necessary in confined homes, so your teen may not be able to have a queen-sized bed.
As your children grow, their needs shift. Little children can play in a hallway and still have fun. Those who live in high-rise apartments and condos might have to get creative with keeping the kids happy. Kids love to play in teepees or to read in an egg-pod swivel chair. IKEA sells a version for less than $70! With the hood pulled down, it provides a secret hiding place for a child — and the fabric lets light in so that it is never scary. Blackboards can be painted on the back of the door to any bedroom with special paint. It’s easy to do and encourages drawing, as well as learning letters and numbers.
As soon as your kids go to school, they require more space for homework. With the family room or kitchen designated as a mini office, perhaps you should consider outside play areas. Rather than moving, consider investing in an effi- cient overhead or freestanding gas heater for a porch or deck. In temperate weather, backyard playhouses can offer children a getaway space on your own property. Even a small yard can host a sandbox, tire swing or a swing set.
Another very basic secret to living in your cozy house is to purge regularly. Each bedroom should undergo a thorough cleaning, and give away clothes every six months. I’m in the middle of my own effort and just donated a large bag of clothes. In reviewing what occupies my dresser drawers, I realized that at least half of what is in there is now out of style. This exercise demands discipline to only keep what will fit in the closet, dresser and storage space you already have.