A pragmatist’s guide to future proofing your home

15 Aug 2019

If you’ve found a home you plan to stay in for quite some time, it’s a smart idea to make sure it not only meets the needs of today but also the changes that may be on the horizon. While we may not be able to look into a crystal ball that’ll reveal everything that’s in store for us, it’s pretty safe to say that how we live in our houses now is likely to be quite different from how we’ll be living in them in five, ten or twenty years to come.

Not only is smart technology drastically changing the way we live, work and play in our homes, social, economic and age-related changes can greatly impact the way we use our personal spaces and what we need from them to support those transitions. Children stay at home longer than they used to while they study or launch a career, aging parents are staying longer in their own homes or opting to move in with other family members and more members of the family are now working from home at least part of the time.

All of these things mean there are often more people in a house at any one time than in generations past, all with different needs, abilities and belongings to store.

The need for flexibility

When preparing your home for the challenges you know about (and the ones you don’t), the most important thing we can demand of our homes is flexibility. We need floor plans that will make it easier for us to lean into the changes that we know will be inevitable (like aging), as well as the unknowns - those tricky challenges that have yet to present themselves (such as an unexpected expansion of your family unit or a disability brought on by age or unforeseen circumstances). Try these tips to ensure your home will be agile enough to tackle future changes.

Everything in its place

Decluttering is important when a home is shared by a big family, but unless you’re a strict minimalist, you’ll always need plenty of storage.

When building a new home or planning any kind of renovation, always over-specify your storage and look for innovative ways to include more. Can you add shelves or cupboards into the roof, floor or wall cavities? Can you fit extra storage under beds and in the tops of wardrobes? Could the negative space within your staircase be outfitted with drawers?

Do you have a home full of wonderful Resene paint and colour? Send us some snaps by emailing [email protected].

kitchen ideas, kitchen inspiration, kitchen storage ideas, kitchen design, kitchen organiser

Opting for more drawers over cupboards in storage spaces like kitchens will keep cabinets tidy when there are a growing number of mouths to feed and can make things easier to get to for people who rely on mobility aids.

If you have the space, a mudroom can be a lifesaver when it comes to keeping clutter to a minimum. Once the preserve of large farmhouses, even urban homes can benefit from somewhere to keep frequently used coats, shoes, umbrellas, keys, hats, bags and scarves. When space is tight, a nicely painted cupboard in a porch or laundry can achieve the same result, as can adding some wooden hooks or pegs painted an eye-catching colour to the walls to keep school bags and other hangable clutter up off the floor.

entryway ideas, entryway inspiration, interior design, interior ideas, storage ideas, blue entrance

A stand-alone coat rack, like this house-shaped one painted Resene Hammerhead, is perfect for keeping things organised in an entry where you’re missing a closet. The walls are in Resene Bunting, the floor is in Resene Sea Fog, the umbrella stand, stool and pendant lamp are in Resene Jalapeno and the wall boxes are in Resene Hammerhead, Resene Breathless, Resene Sea Fog and Resene Jalapeno.

In multi-storey homes, the staircase landing area is increasingly being converted to practical family space. Where once this might have been kept as a gallery area used only to display art and plants, clever homeowners are making more productive use of these landings as office spaces, play areas or even reading nooks.

Flexible outdoor spaces are increasingly important as houses get fuller. Just as you would indoors, creative design and painting ideas can help define outdoor ‘rooms’ for entertaining, playing or cooking. If the option is available, you could even add a roof or shelter to your decking to forge an all-weather extension to your interior space.

Cooking up a practical kitchen

Kitchens can be tricky when the house gets crowded. It’s the room everybody needs, the social centre of the home, and most homes tend to only have one. The key to creating a kitchen that works well starts with good planning.

kitchen inspiration, kitchen ideas, kitchen design, kitchen layout ideas, neutral kitchen

Practical kitchen design allows for smoother workflow by ensuring the things you need for each task are exactly where you need them to be.

Sophie Beets, Marketing Manager for Blum, says a practical kitchen needs three things: good workflow, so what you need for any task is right where you need it, high-quality motion, meaning items like your cupboards and drawers open and close with ease and without conflicting with one another and enough storage. She recommends designing and planning your kitchen with five key zones in mind - preparation, cooking, washing up, provision storage and dinnerware storage. This will help make it not only efficient to use, but also keep mess at a minimum and easily allow more than one person to use the space at once.

kitchen inspiration, kitchen ideas, kitchen design, kitchen layout idea, kitchen plan, kitchen zones

The five kitchen zones of a pragmatic kitchen: preparation, cooking, washing up, provision storage and dinnerware storage.

Plan for autumn in spring

Another important feature to consider when it comes to future proofing your home is a shift in accessibility as you age. While your family members may not need them now, it’s much more manageable to make adjustments to your home that facilitate the use of mobility aids while you’re still fully mobile if you plan on keeping your home well into your later years. Waiting to make these types of renovations later on - especially under unexpected circumstances - can be stressful and expensive.

Lifemark is an organisation that provides advice on safe and usable home design, offering a star-rating on new builds to score how well they will meet the needs of inhabitants over their lifetimes. But General Manager Geoff Penrose says there are also plenty of simple things you can adapt in an existing home to make it safer and more usable without the need for a massive renovation.

“The ABCs of home design is: A for access; can I get in to the home? B for bathroom; can I use the bathroom? And C is for circulation; once I’m in, can I move around?

“If your ability to move changes or if your vision becomes impaired, these things become more important. The earlier you start thinking about them, the better. That way you can do them in stages rather than having to make big alterations quickly if something changes in your circumstances.”

“It’s not a matter of making wholesale expensive changes when you don’t need them right now,” says Geoff. “It’s about being aware that you might need them - or that future buyers of your property may need them - and making small, incremental changes as you can.”

Key things to think about:

  • Are the pathways into your home clear, slip resistant and well-lit? Help avoid slips, trips and falls with Resene Non-Skid Deck & Path, available in a range of colours to suit your home.
  • Would attaching a handrail make it safer and easier to get around?
  • Are your doorways wide enough to accommodate mobility aids? Lifemark recommends a minimum width of 860mm.
  • Would your door handles and taps still be reachable if you weren’t standing? Lever handles are among the easiest to use from every angle.
  • Toilets, showers and baths that are up against walls allow for handrails to be added when needed. If you’re renovating, consider reinforcing these walls so rails can be added later if they’re needed.
  • In a bathroom, it’s worth noting that most wheelchairs require a 1.5m turning radius. Those using a walker need a similarly sized area too.
  • Go for the largest sink you can fit and afford. It makes a huge difference to the ease and speed of clean-up, particularly for oven pans or entertaining.
  • Choose handle-free doors for a sleek, uncluttered look. Most open using a push mechanism, making them more accessible for people of all abilities.
  • Where possible, opt for more drawers over more cupboards. They’re easier to access and manoeuvre around.

did you know...

Resene can help solve the problem of inaccessible light switches? Apply Resene SmartTouch conductive coating, connect into the switch plate and apply the Resene topcoat of your choice. To turn the lights on and off, just tap the wall. Ideal for hallways, open-plan living spaces, garages and bedrooms, Resene SmartTouch embraces a future where there’ll be no more stumbling around in the dark seeking out a switch. Since the basecoat coating can cover large swatches of the wall, it means people of all heights, ages and abilities are in full control. Now available at Resene ColorShops and selected resellers. View the Resene SmartTouch video, www.resene.com/smarttouch.

special thanks to Blum New Zealand and Lifemark
styling Vanessa Nouwens​
images Bryce Carleton, Blum New Zealand

Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Breathless

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Hammerhead

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.

Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Breathless

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×
Square square colour information icon
Square square colour information icon

Resene Hammerhead

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

register h icon  look book

Create your own mood boards of your favourite colours, photographs and information from habitat by resene.

Login or Register to get started!

×

the look

If you're stuck on what
colour to use or need colour
advice, try out the Resene
Ask a Colour Expert service.