Homes & Design Photo Credit: Jamie Banfield Design and Pooya Nabei

It’s All Relative: 5 Designer Tips for Your Family Home

Interior Designer Jamie Banfield shares his family-friendly tips and tricks.

Jamie Banfield is no stranger to functionality—he strives to create spaces that are as practical as they are beautiful—so we caught up with the interior designer to get the inside scoop on how to design a family-friendly home. Whether you’re a young family with active toddlers or a grown family with busy teens, it’s important to create a home that complements your lifestyle.

Closeup of kitchen room design
Clean and functional: Everything in this kitchen has a designated place.

Invest in your future. A home occupied by a growing family is bound to suffer from scratches and spills, so it’s important to find products that are as durable as they are stylish. Banfield suggests quartz countertops for the kitchen (they have a natural stone look, but are difficult to scratch) and commercial-grade fabrics that are more resistant to everyday wear and tear. Finishes and colours can also disguise imperfections. Countertops with flecks of gold and brown hide dirt and dust, and wire-brush coatings will make it more difficult to spot scratches on floors and cabinets. “Medium tones and textures can hide the living of everyday with family,” says Banfield.

Banfield_TechSpace
This office is the perfect example of how to segment space — and it’s tech-friendly.

Consider practicality before aesthetic. “An organized home creates a good mindset for everyone involved,” says Banfield, and it’s essential to think of how each space will be used. If you’re moving into a new space (or if you’re simply in the mood to reorganize), try putting things away as you use them to better understand their function: “Preplanning for usage and organization is key,” says Banfield. “It’s a more practical home when everything has a spot to go away.”

Area rugs are a great way to separate rooms in an open-concept home.
Area rugs are a great way to separate rooms in an open-concept home.

Each space should have a purpose. Determine what the space will be used for and design accordingly. This may be difficult with an open-concept floor plan, but Banfield has some simple solutions to create segmentation. He suggests separating dining and living rooms with area rugs or creating tech-designated spaces with USB-equipped outlets, but you can also experiment with colour and lighting. “Certain colours will relax you and certain colours will make you more energetic,” he says, “Pick a colour for what you want to happen.” Lighting can similarly be used to create different moods; dim lights are perfect for a cozy reading corner while bright fixtures will provide ample light for working in the kitchen.

A magnetic wall keeps clutter off the fridge, but still allows personality to shine through.
A magnetic wall keeps clutter off the fridge, but still allows personality to shine through.

Embrace your family’s personality. Find examples of what you like and don’t be afraid to bring it to a designer’s attention. Banfield thinks it’s great when clients bring products to him, and he thinks social media (especially Pinterest) makes finding pieces you love that much easier. Personality can also be injected into a space by showcasing children’s artwork: hang them in beautiful frames or create a space (like a custom magnetic panel on the side of your fridge) specifically designed to showcase them.

Banfield_Bathroom
Ensuites (complete with ultra-luxe showers) provide the perfect end-of-day escape.

Design a kid-free zone. Parents should have a designated room, and “the master suite is a personal space that can’t really be changed out,” says Banfield. A lot of homeowner’s are starting to invest money in their closets and bathrooms to create small retreats from their sometimes-hectic lifestyles. “There are ways to bring in elements to detox or add life to people,” he says, suggesting steam showers and tubs with aroma and chromotherapy technology as products designed with luxury and relaxation in mind.

Interested in more designer tips? See Banfield on the main stage at both the Edmonton Fall Home Show (Oct 23-25) and the Vancouver Home and Design Show (Oct 22-25), where he’ll be discussing kitchen and bathroom style.

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