Living in a Small Apartment or Townhouse with Young Children
Living in a small apartment or townhouse can be difficult enough without children but unexpected arrivals can happen and you need to work around this somehow.
With the property market gearing up towards a slump as the value of properties is slowly heading towards a decline, selling your apartment or townhouse may not be the best thing you can do at this moment. But when life presents you with an unexpected arrival or two, it can be hard to continue living with young children in a small property. We offer a few helpful tips that you might find beneficial in arranging your life and your property around a new arrival.
Knowing that your family is about to increase and there isn't much you can do about it, these kid-friendly ideas will make life a little easier for everyone.
1. Making Space
For the first few months, a new baby will spend more time in your bedroom than anywhere else, and this will give you time to arrange your living spaces to accommodate a sleeping area once the baby needs his or her own room. Even if you keep the baby in your bedroom for a year or two, this arrangement will allow you time to plan to move to a larger home or, if this is not possible, to turn a small home office into a bedroom.
It will take a while before your little one needs a room of their own, and even if you have more than one new arrival, there are beds that can be designed to fit into small spaces. With clever planning and the right furniture, even a small room can serve as a bedroom for a young child until you can afford to sell up and move on.
2. Being Practical
When you are living in a townhouse or apartment with a baby or young child, you are going to have to make some alterations to make the living space child-friendly.
If you are planning a family soon but don't expect to be moving out of your current home, shop for furniture that will enhance your living spaces but will also be child-friendly. Solid furniture with curved edges is preferable to sharp corners. A solid base will provide a sturdy support when your child starts to toddle around.
Steer clear of unforgiving or breakable materials such as marble or granite tops or glass tables. Also, make sure that any tables cannot easily be tipped over.
• Child-friendly precautions
When a baby starts crawling or learning to walk, you will look around and realise how many dangerous situations there are. We won't go into this in detail in this article and you will find plenty of online resources that will explain what needs to be done and how to go about doing it. Rather than leave this until the last minute, try to have the apartment child-friendly before they start moving around.
When furnishing your apartment or townhouse choose family-friendly furniture and try to steer clear of white or very light colours unless it comes with washable slipcovers or stain-resistant fabric.
Pleather and leather furniture is durable and child-friendly and can be wiped down if it gets grubby. DO conditioner leather furniture regularly so that it doesn't dry out and this will protect against stains or spills.
Slipcovered furniture is child-friendly and can be popped into the washing machine when it needs cleaning. DO check that the fabric is washable before you buy.
Large rugs or edged carpets will protect flooring and provide a soft landing for toddlers and a comfortable place to play.
• Sensible furniture
Don't waste your money on upholstered furniture that might get soiled or stained or furniture with sharp edges or hard-to-clean surfaces. If you already have upholstered furniture in light colours, look at getting slipcovers to protect this. Young children are messy and having light-coloured furniture begs for little grubby fingers to come along. The same applies to painted furniture. If you apply a sealer or topcoat on painted furniture, it will make it far easier to wipe down and keep clean.
There is plenty of dual-purpose furniture out there but if you find it difficult to find what you like, there is always the option of making it yourself. Storage ottomans are the best buy all-round and can be used for seating, tables and provide storage.
• Plenty of storage
It might not be necessary for the beginning, but sooner or later you will need storage and plenty of it. Young children need activities to excite them and help them learn and that means educational toys and games they can play. If you don't want your living spaces to explode with 'kids' stuff' make sure there are cupboards or cabinets so that everything can be put away out of sight when not in use.
Child-friendly storage is vitally important. Children are known for getting everywhere and as they grow, they become more curious and daring. Avoid drawers that can be used as a ladder, doors that are easy to open, and shelves that are too low.
Another reason for making sure there is plenty of storage is to keep clutter away from tiny hands. As part of child-proofing, it will be recommended that small accessories and decor be moved out of the way. Having a place to store things means they won't be damaged, and you can put them back on display when your child gets a little older.
Open shelves are a safety hazard for children so if you have them, make sure they are too high for a young child to climb or grab items.