When it comes to preparing your home for every stage of life, adaptability is key. One way to prepare for life’s changing circumstances is to make adjustments so that your home can take the many shapes and forms that you might need for yourself and any current or future family members you may have living with you.
For instance, if you’re planning to raise children, you’ll likely want to consider the amount of space you’ll need for a nursery and then a full bedroom when your child is grown. If you plan on retiring in your current home, you might want to plan for a first-floor bedroom or a house that’s all on ground level.
The first and most vital question to consider is whether you’re currently in your final home or a starter home. This will impact the decisions you make because of how you’ll use the home long-term and any return on investment (ROI) that your decisions might result in should you choose to sell your home down the road.
Plan ahead! Think about your future goals and aspirations for homeownership. Putting together a rough timeline may be useful so that you’re able to anticipate what you might encounter in the coming years.
Then create a budget that breaks down any anticipated expenses that might come your way, including saving for unexpected events. Consider any interior or exterior changes to accommodate the different stages of life you’ll likely experience, such as having a baby or retiring.
For an in-depth look at what the different stages of life may have in store for your home, here’s your go-to preparation guide.
Home, Sweet Home
Buying your first home is an exciting time.
Jeffery Weldler, home design expert and marketing director at Vant Wall Panels, suggests taking the time to plan ahead.
Decide on the overall style and theme of your home. Choosing a central theme will make decor decisions and purchases much easier, Weldler advises.
If you have a significant other, be open and willing to discuss style preferences and agree on common ground, such as selecting paint colors or choosing new drapes. In addition, prepare to discuss how to combine decor if you’re moving in together for the first time and plan on bringing personal items from each person.
For those who may have more wiggle room in their finances, think about turning an unused space into your favorite place, such as a “man cave” or “she shed.” This space could be an extra, unused room in the home or a small shed behind your home that you convert into a personal space.
“The space allows for each to have a getaway decorated their own way,” Weldler advises.
This space in your home can morph for future use as a nursery or an in-law suite if needed, so consider making temporary adjustments that can be easily changed later.Use this time to set the tone for the years to come. Make deliberate decisions to design your home with the next few years mind. This will save on time and finances, should renovations be necessary in the future.
Should you choose to have a child, consider the following points when repurposing your space.
Jennifer Taylor, mother of two and the founder and editor of the pregnancy and early parenting site MomTricks.com, suggests beginning preparation as soon as you know you or your partner is pregnant. This will result in a more efficient timeline for any home construction or interior redesign.
Knowing the cost of raising a child can provide realistic financial expectations, so Taylor suggests maintaining an updated budget sheet the moment you start preparing for the new baby.
She further explains the possible interior and exterior changes that you might need to make to your home, including preparing a room for the baby’s nursery. This may entail moving furniture or other items to another space to make room for the crib, storage space and changing tables as well as any and all other necessities that come with bringing home a new baby.
“You don’t necessarily need to have a dedicated nursery room, especially if space is at a premium in your home,” Taylor adds. “For example, I had a home office that I decided to convert into a nursery/office, and since I work from home, that meant I could work while baby slept behind me.”
Baby-proofing will likely change quite a few interior aspects of your home, such as having a secure baby gate on staircases, securing cupboards and drawers, removing loose or dangling cables, and covering up any electric outlets in reach of small children.
Furniture made of glass and metal, including anything breakable or with sharp edges, should be removed. If buying new furniture isn’t financially feasible, wrap the edges with bubble wrap or plastic guards.
Consider taking this time to plan ahead for your baby’s early years of childhood. Should you choose to have one child or many, start thinking about the amount of space in your home and how each person in the home will use that space.
While any kids you may have are growing up, you’ll likely need to budget carefully and be flexible and adaptable about how you use the space in your home.
According to The Land of Nod, the first step is transitioning your child from a crib to a toddler bed. Toddler beds are typically lower to the ground and use the standard crib mattress that’s already in your child’s crib. This allows a seamless transition and a safer alternative to a twin bed.
If you’re looking to save money, consider purchasing a crib that converts into a toddler bed. Usually this piece of furniture comes with a toddler rail kit that installs by removing one side of the crib rail and replacing it with a low safety rail.
Repurposing furniture is one way to save money when your child is no longer a newborn and is instead transitioning into the toddler stage. For example, repurpose your freestanding changing table into a toy storage area. Use the low shelving and bins to house their favorite books, toys and games.
As your child grows older and becomes more independent, consider installing furniture with lower shelves and drawers where they can access clothing, toys and any other items they’re capable of using by themselves. In addition, consider other ways to decorate your child’s room so that it’s fun and functional.
Bins and baskets are an easy way to teach your growing child about cleaning and organization. Create a simple system in which various items are designated to specific bins so that your child can learn to sort and stay organized.
Having an empty nest is much like having a first home again.
This can be a rejuvenating time in the life of an individual or a couple, where rooms become repurposed for leisure and the spaces morph back into a more personalized form that reflects your own taste.
The famous “man cave” and “she shed” might even make a grand reappearance!
However, if you enjoy entertaining overnight guests, consider converting any unused rooms into a “glamorous guest retreat,” suggests Jeffery Weldler.
He also suggests creating a meditation room – a special spot to practice yoga or any other calming exercises.
“An unused, extra bedroom is the perfect spot to recharge and energize yourself mentally and physically,” he adds. “Clean out the clutter and leave only a small table, an oversized throw pillow or yoga mat, a sound system for relaxation music, light curtains, essential oils, and hints of nature such as plants.”
If you enjoy collecting or sharing fine wines, you might also consider a wine bar and a space that allows for socialization with your friends and family if you like to entertain.
Whatever direction you choose to take with your extra space, take this time to plan ahead, too. If you’re thinking about retiring in your current home, consider the adaptability of your home and any changes you might need to make in preparation for growing older.
If you plan on retiring in your home, consider using your home mortgage as a tool for retirement saving. There are a few ways you could do this.
You could pay off your mortgage early, giving you more money for other expenses, or you could use your home equity for your retirement fund through a cash-out refinance or reverse mortgage.
During this stage of life, your mortgage bill could possibly be your biggest monthly bill. A reverse mortgage or a cash-out refinance could help you add to what might be a limited retirement income.
The money you save on your mortgage could benefit you in the long run. The extra income you may receive could possibly go toward a few home renovations that you might need if you plan on aging in your current home.
According to a 2015 study by the United States Census Bureau, from 2025 to 2050, the older population is projected to almost double to 1.6 billion people globally. Approximately 50 million Americans will be 65 years or older, and nearly 50% will acquire some health challenge that will affect their functional mobility.
In light of this, consider any home renovations you might need to make to accommodate the physical limitations that come with aging while staying in your home, particularly with regard to your kitchen and bathroom.
Kitchen equipment should be adjusted to arm’s reach. This means moving lofty cabinets down to a more realistic height and raising the height of any equipment installed near the ground, such as dishwashers, so that you don’t need to reach or bend too far.
Additionally, consider installing a barrier-free bath and shower system, where the shower floor and main floor are all one. Shower seating is also advisable for maximum comfort and safety.
Even if you’re reading this and far from retirement, the best way to prepare for retirement is to start saving right away and create a plan for any debt you might have. Think about your plans for housing, whether that includes aging in your own home or finding another home to live in.
Start Planning Today
As you can see, adaptability is key. Start planning for the different uses the spaces in your home may need to fulfill and begin to budget for any anticipated expenses down the way.
What types of interior or exterior changes have you made to accommodate various stages of life? Let us know in the comments below!
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