Life was going fine with your partner and children, and suddenly you discover you’re pregnant. Does it sound like a blow to your lifestyle? For a lot of parents who find out they’re expecting a new baby, life can become suddenly very stressful. Of course, you are not worried about your parenting skills. You’ve got one or two older children, so it’s fair to say that taking care of another one is not what is worrying you. But this wasn’t part of your planned parenthood. It is an accident, however happy it might be. Before you get your baby brain, you will spend the first trimester desperately checking the clothes and furniture stored in the garage and the attic in the hope that you can still use them. But after a few months, the realisation will finally hit you. How can you accommodate another child in your house? Is there even enough room for another child?
Unplanned parenthood can force you to re-consider your home design, especially if you don’t want – or if you can’t – move into a bigger property. So how do you best get on about making room for another child in your family home? The answer is with a lot of patience, smart design, and dedication. Here are some tips to best prepare your home and your family to the arrival of an unplanned child. The keyword here is POSITIVITY, as this is a significant change for everyone – the best way to make it happen is to keep smiling through the transformations.
Convert unused spaces
The average British houses have what is often referred to as a 2.5 bedroom house, aka a place where you have two full-size bedrooms and a small room. The small bedroom is generally used as a study room or a utility room to keep your clothing aerial when the weather is wet outside. More often than not, these small spaces are difficult to convert into a nursery room, due to their small sizes. However, most houses have unused areas that you can repurpose, via successful loft conversions or through space-saving designs of existing rooms. Ultimately, in most modern homes, the loft is left entirely unused. In fact, homeowners in new estates may not even be aware that they can use their loft to create an extra room. It has become a storage space for the Christmas decorations and the old toys. Admittedly, a conversion means that you will need to find new storage solutions – which is something you need to consider at the start of your project – or embrace the benefits of decluttering. Where are the most common unused spots in a typical British home? Aside from the loft, you can maximise existing room by creating a storage function under the stairs. You can also convert an existing conservatory, or a half basement – a basement that has windows above ground level.
Turn your home office into a bedroom
If you’ve been using one of the small rooms in your home as a home office, it’s time to look for another remote work solution. Many home workers have chosen to create an office in their garden as a way to maximise the space at home. You can also look for a ‘coffice’, which is a trend movement started by active Millennials, aka working from a coffee shop. It’s fair to say that when you decide to transform your home office into a bedroom, you will need to be especially clever in terms of decoration and space usage. As you’ll be working with a relatively small room, you need to work with smart storage solution and space-efficient furniture. It can be easier to discuss the move with one of your children, as you will struggle to make the 0.5 bedroom that serves as a home office fits for a nursery room.
A bathroom for the family
There’s not only the bedrooms you need to change. You also have to think about creating a bathroom that can work for all the members of the household. Start with the most essential feature of a family bathroom, namely its storage ability. You need a space that can keep all the toiletries, medicines, bath toys, and lotions for the whole family. And that means a cleverly designed storage unit so that you can keep everything without waste space. Make the most of all enclosures, window seats, and bath surroundings. Additionally, a family bathroom is a room that is used dozens of times during the day. Not only do you need a decor that can resist tear and wear – from moisture-resistant paint to a non-slip textured floor – but that is also flexible to fits the needs of everyone. Grown-ups and older children will prefer a shower, but small children and toddlers need a bathtub to wash. A combination of shower and bath, as one unit or two separate ones, is a good solution.
Add an extension
Can you gain more space by thinking outside the box? For instance, if you can’t get a new bedroom upstairs, can you space for an additional room by extending the kitchen or the lounge? While for a lot of homeowners, the kitchen extension is designed to create an open-plan and bright kitchen, there’s nothing stopping you from turning the extension into a new bedroom, or a home-office if you’ve decided to convert your current office into a nursery room. When extending your home, though, you need to work closely with an architect to design a plan and obtain a planning permit. Thankfully, bedrooms will be easier on your budget than a kitchen, as you will not need to add additional plumbing works.
Be creative about storage
Sometimes, you don’t even need to build anything new. Sometimes, the secret to accommodating your home to the arrival of a new child is in creating storage hacks. Small bedrooms, for instance, waste a lot of space in inadequate furniture units. You can add shelves along the perimetre of the bedroom walls – aka the 12 inches below the ceiling – to keep items you need but don’t use often. An unused corner by the door or the window is ideal for a clothes rack. The radiator can be covered with a DIY-shelf to add extra storage space without bringing more furniture into the room. In short, even a small bedroom can be cosy and functional.
Transform one bedroom into two
If one of your children has a large bedroom, you might want to discuss with them the option to share the room with the baby. It’s a tricky decision, so it’s crucial that you present things honestly to them. Sharing a room with a toddler or a baby can be difficult at first, as it might feel like a loss of privacy. Besides, toddlers have a different sleeping pattern. Nevertheless, you can make it work and even create two decors within the same room. However, it’s not a solution you can impose on your children. It’s something that might cost you that video game console they wanted to convince them!
Last, but not least, if you have older children, you might have forgotten everything about baby-proofing your home. Get your children on board, so that everybody knows what to look forward to and what to do. Ultimately, baby-proofing a room can feel a little alien for old children at first. But you’ll be pleased to see that most are happy to take responsibility and help with their young siblings.
Unplanned pregnancies can be stressful. Thankfully, if you already have a family of your own, there is plenty you can do to help make the household more welcoming for a future baby.