A home that builds families
Is your home suited to bring your family together?
In a country where family ties are highly valued, the home is usually the place where everyone gathers. To create a space that bonds your family, you have to be aware of the elements that should go into your home’s design. Your house should help keep loved ones together, not drive them apart.
As defined by the classic book “Tomorrow’s House”, a family room is a large area in your home where your family can relax and socialize with each other. It is different from the living room in many ways.
The living room is a place where you entertain visitors. The family room, meanwhile, is one where your loved ones can simply hang out together.
In terms of design, the former is often formal as you wish to show your best to your guests. The latter is meant to be more comfortable and flexible, and is often located in the private side of the house.
Here, children can play while parents work. The whole family can all sleep together here to watch a late night show or a movie. It is meant to be a place where your loved ones can be themselves and do their daily activities together.
How Pinoys compromise
In the Philippines, family rooms are rarely present because the sala often caters to all our activities. As we Filipinos are known for being hospitable, we often treat guests like family. Whereas separate living and family rooms remain ideal, we often learn to compromise due to budget or space restrictions.
Generally speaking, many parts of the house can bring the family together. The kitchen, living room, and dining room can serve as social spaces if they encourage communication.
No matter which area you choose, your family can benefit if there is a neutral space where everyone can hang out and relax.
Ties in the kitchen
Food naturally draws people together. The kitchen can make the most of this idea.
A kitchen island, coupled with bar stools, allows those who prepare the food and those who eat it to interact.
Cabinets help too as they conceal tools and prevent the area from feeling small and cluttered. This is important especially for families with kids. Knives and other dangerous items should be out of sight and reach of the little ones at all times.
The dining room is another place in the house where people come together. The room often becomes the sole place for interaction during busy days.
Eating together is a special moment that bonds loved ones. To encourage this, it would be best to remove TVs and other distractions in the dining room.
The dining table plays an important role in family interaction. A rectangular table often suits many homes and is ideal if you often receive visitors.
Square and round tables, meanwhile, allow for more intimate meals as they lessen the space between diners.
Lastly, an oval-shaped dining table combines the benefits of all of these. This kind of table is great for making narrow rooms appear wider and for increasing seat space.
If a separate family room cannot be provided in your home, the living room is the ideal place to bring people together. Enough seating should be provided to cater to all family members and a few guests.
If the room cannot accommodate long sofas, try adding some pouffes or large throw pillows on the floor. These can help family and guests to relax.
The living room should be able to cater to both kids and adults. Adding soft materials such as pillows, table runners and fabrics help make the space feel more welcoming.
Glass tables should be relocated to prevent accidents especially with children. The TV is best placed here to keep everyone entertained and draw everyone out of their rooms.
Bookshelves, magazine stands, and other interesting items can also serve the same purpose if preferred.
Heart of a home
No matter how small your house might be, it becomes a home when it successfully shelters and keeps people together.
For the holidays, a few changes in the layout can help encourage loved ones to bond. The important goal of a house is to keep its residents happy.
Beyond the décor and design, allow your home to reflect the ties that bind your family this season and beyond.
The author is a licensed architect who studied abroad and currently works for DSFN Architects. She grew up in a house with a family room that brings family, guests, and pets together during the holidays.
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