All the major rooms in the house have been looked at in our Building the Home of Your Dreams series, so it is time to tie things together with closets, hallways, laundry room and, if appropriate a den/office. No home is complete without these considerations, and though it may seem unimportant to take the time to plan them, they need careful attention as the major rooms did. For example, a home with too narrow hallways or inadequate storage will soon stop being a dream come true. Here are suggestions for making these extras a vital and useful part of your planning:
Closets: Depending on the number, ages, and sex of those living in the home will greatly influence how many and the size of the closets that will be needed. An older couple will not need the number of closets a family of four girls will need. Closets can be built-in bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and sometimes near outside entrance doors for coats, boots, hats, etc. Make sure the closets are age-appropriate when putting up hanging rods. A young child cannot reach too high, and if he or she is to help keep their bedroom tidy, they must be able to hang up their clothes. Shoes, hats, purses, and other types of accessories can be kept in a closet. Strategic shelving both over the hanging bar and under it, as well as along the end wall, is helpful. Some people put stacking drawers in their closets as well as shelves. Walk-in closets are wonderful when budgets permit. Be sure to put a light in any size closet to make finding items easier.
Hallways: Hallways connect the home and create the travel pattern people will take moving from one area to another. It is important that hallways are convenient to a smooth flow of traffic. Also, make sure when planning hallways to consider their width. If the occupants are elderly or will be in a few years, it is wise to have hallways wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair. Too, in the future, if the house is sold, it will have better selling power with wide hallways. Hallways are often used to display pictures so plan for this as well.
Laundry room: Few homes today are without a laundry room. Sometimes a budget can only tolerate a small area for this, but careful planning will make the most out of even a small space.
Washers and dryers come in different sizes and can be stacked if necessary, for small spaces. Be sure to include some shelving in your laundry room to hold washing products. It is helpful if there can be enough shelves to organize other cleaning products as well as a closet for such items as a vacuum cleaner, broom, and mop.
Den/office: While an extra room to be used as a den or office isn’t necessary, it is great to have when the budget allows. In today’s world of computers, it is helpful to have an area set apart where a door can be closed to shut out the extra noise, and a space just for computer and laptop use is available. Too, if a lot of time will be spent doing computer work, it is essential to have the correct type of chair to help prevent back strain. Now you can buy stand-up computer desks with an attached treadmill to further guard against health problems associated with sitting long hours at a desk. Windows for natural light, when possible, and proper inside lighting to guard against eye strain are also a must.
You will be wise to take your time in planning and designing closets, hallways, laundry room, and den/office. Not enough storage, too narrow and not well placed hallways, cramped laundry room, and unattractive, unfunctional den/office can, in time, turn a dream home into a nightmare.