Full House: 3 Steps to Better Multi-Generational Living

a row of housesLiving with two kids and a spouse may seem like a full house already, but having parents and some siblings under the same roof? It can be a nerve-racking experience. But surprisingly, multi-generational living has been a rising trend lately. Many people are choosing this living arrangement for its benefits: money savings, closer family ties, lots of babysitters available, and a chance to give back to parents.

If you’re thinking about embracing multi-generational living as well, here’s how you can tackle its challenges and make it work for you:

Maintain an open line of communication.

Most people in this living arrangement just assume that parents or siblings know already the boundaries of personal space in terms of respecting privacy, only to realise later that it’s not the case. Understand that the concept of privacy and boundaries is relative. They differ from one family to another. It’s important to lay down expectations and house rules, if you may. The rules should include house chores, bills to pay, visitors, etc.

As family dynamics are always changing, you need to talk regularly to navigate those shifts better. Keep communication lines open. Have a family dinner every weekend or talk one-on-one with your ageing parent.

Assess your space.

It’s not enough to draw the line in terms of privacy with just a talk. Your space should reflect this, too. Open-plan layouts are common in most homes because of its benefits, but they also have some drawbacks. Noise is one issue. Visual distractions are another. These add to the stress of multi-generational living arrangement.

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If you’re taking in your aging parents, they need some peace and quiet. Consider adding dividers for each of the rooms or dedicate a space just for them, like granny flat kits. Remember, increasing privacy is the goal.

Prioritise comfort and practicality.

The interiors of your home should increase comfort for all family members. Living rooms, which are shared areas, should suit the needs of both kids and the elderly. You might want to add rocking chairs and covers for throw pillows to prevent staining from kids’ snacks. Of course, in more personal spaces, such as bedrooms, keep the interiors as generation-specific as possible to accommodate certain needs.

Multi-generational living is a rising trend today because of its benefits. But it comes with challenges as well. Follow these tips to make this living arrangement work for you.