By Erin Loftin

Photo: Valet Custom Cabinets & Closets

Welcoming your extended family for the holidays can be a game of ‘musical rooms’ as everyone shifts their belongings and suitcases from room to room and additional air mattresses are scattered about to accommodate guests. Sharing your personal space with friends and family is usually enjoyable for a limited time period, but if you’re one of the many families in the bay area who is considering adding one or more of your extended family members to your household on a full-time basis, the crowded holiday home may become more than a seasonal blessing.

As multi-generational families are becoming more and more common, the concern of how to give aging parents their independence within a single family home or how to turn what was once a home office into a guest room for extended family visits has been a trending remodeling theme. Do you really need to add another bedroom on to your perfect family home or can you use the space that’s already there? The answer really depends on how you plan on using your space and what your specific family needs are.

murphy bed2

Photo: Kerrie Kelly Design Lab

While additional family members are staying in your home this holiday season, you might start thinking about how you’d ideally like to use your home and especially the spaces where your family tends to gather. This is a perfect time to start planning your remodel; most of us don’t want to have our homes under construction during the holidays, so use this time to begin thinking about the changes you’d like to make, rather than rushing to get everything done before guests arrive. Make lists of ‘must haves’ and ‘would likes’, browse design ideas, and observe what currently works and what doesn’t work for you and your family.

If you realize the amount of space you have is sufficient, but you’d like to accommodate more guests and keep a home office, you can work with a design professional to space plan one of the rooms in your home to accommodate both; sometimes adding a murphy bed centered between bookshelves or cabinets is a perfect solution; it folds up to allow a functional office space when you’re working and easily pulls down from the wall and transforms the room into a relaxed bedroom. If a built in murphy bed isn’t an option, then consider a comfy and stylish sofa bed or futon; even home offices need additional seating from time to time!

If keeping aging parents close by after the holidays is a necessity, consider working with a design professional to assess the needs of the additional family members; do they need their own bathroom? Do they need a bedroom on the first floor of a two-story house? Often times, a designer can offer solutions to re-configure your living space and provide the change you’re looking for. If you have a formal living room that doesn’t get used because you spend all of your time in the kitchen and family room, would this be an area you’d consider re-designing to gain another bedroom? Sharing your space doesn’t have to be stressful; enjoy the holidays with your family and start planning fun ways to enjoy your home with the ones you love. Sometimes a creative use of your existing space may be all that your expanding family needs!

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