After all the effort that goes into a building project, the resulting home had better end up being a place you enjoy living in. Luckily, there are plenty of ways to inject fun. Daisy Jeffery lists the top 10.
There’s no greater way of injecting a little fun into your home than including a games room. If you’re self building, you have the opportunity to really go to town here, but adding a dedicated games room is still just as possible if you’re renovating an existing property.
The ideal location for this type of room would be off a family area such as a kitchen diner or an informal living space, creating a natural progression of rooms — whereas locating a games room near a quiet home office or library is not a good idea. Loft or basement conversions, or even studio spaces above garages, make perfect places to host games rooms, too.
When planning this room, carpets are best avoided in the event of any spilt drinks, and soundproofing the walls will help minimise noise levels. Then, organise the space according to what you intend to include. Pool tables will be best placed in the centre, and poker tables or arcade games in a corner.
Comfy seating should then be arranged where you can best view the goings on, or perhaps in front of a flat screen TV to play video games on.
Nothing says James Bond quite like a secret hidden door leading to a private room. Incorporating such a door into your design scheme is the perfect way to add a fun feature that will keep you and your guests entertained for years to come.
If you are planning on including a secret door, you’ll need to decide what type of door you’re after: do you want a trap door or a door/passageway hidden by a static object, such as a bookcase, staircase, or even a Narnia-style ‘faux wardrobe’?
Secondly, think about what room this door will be hiding and how practical this will be. A secret door leading to a hidden playroom, office, bedroom or media room are all sensible choices, but using a trap door to walk down to a kitchen with the complications of carrying (balancing) food up the stairs to the dining table is a recipe for disaster.
Finally, how will the door be operated? Depending on the style of door, this could either be opened manually or electronically operated — as this hatch door leading down to a basement room on a London home demonstrates.
When planning your family home, it’s just as important to dedicate space for a children’s playroom as it is to save space for a quiet sanctuary for the adults to retreat to.
The space you have available will obviously have an impact on creating such a room. If you are limited on space, sectioning off an area within an open plan kitchen diner will allow you to keep a close eye on the kids while preparing dinner. Clever storage here will be key, and built-in cupboards and drawers can make for great places to store toys which can then be shut away from view when you’re entertaining guests.
Should you have an additional room, planning in a separate playroom will offer the children a dedicated space to have fun without allowing the mess of toys to cause tripping hazards around the rest of the house. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box when designing this space: toy boxes, bean bags, homework desks, Scalextric race tracks, TVs and games consoles are also ideas — so too is a climbing wall (above) as Matt White from MATT Architecture opted for when designing his own fun family home.
Room for Wine
Making the top five of any homeowner’s wishlist, a dedicated wine room or home bar is a sure-fire way of bringing the party to your pad.
Whether you are a wine connoisseur, or just enjoy the odd tipple, installing a wine cellar – or in the case of the project below from Sorrells, a wine room – in your home is a great way of making room for your collection — or starting one. If you’re short on space, expert wine storage company Spiral Cellars can build or retrofit a custom wine cellar accessed via a trap door in the floor, complete with spiral staircase, holding up to 1,870 bottles.
Another popular option is the home bar, which could be as humble as a built-in cupboard housing shelves of spirits, glasses and a wine fridge, or as opulent as a mirrored glass bar in a party room, complete with bar stools, distillers on racks, and your own drinks menu of household favourites — just keep a lock on the door for the kids.
At the higher end of the budget bracket, the indoor swimming pool complex is unquestionably a fun addition for any home. It’s certainly a statement feature, and is a great way to enjoy weekends with the children, not to mention the health benefits swimming brings. If you want to go all out, why not add a sauna or steam room for the full spa-like experience in the comfort of your own home.
If you’re planning to include a pool in your home, do make sure you check with your local authority from the outset to see whether you will require planning permission or whether it will fall under Permitted Development (if the pool is indoors), and seek specialist advice with regards to room ventilation and how you will heat the pool.
If a swimming pool is out of your price range, then a hot tub or jacuzzi could be the solution. These can be bought at a more reasonable price, and you have the option of built-in or freestanding, with many bathroom suppliers now offering a range of models, too.
If you prefer to enjoy your exercise on dry land, however, a home gym is the perfect way to have fun working out at home. Whether you designate a room in the house for this, or utilise the space above a detached garage or annexe, or even convert the garage, there are plenty of options.
The media room is fast making its way into many homes. For those who are major movie buffs, a home cinema is the ultimate luxury.
Staggered seating is ideal, and consulting a home cinema expert in order to gauge the best positioning of the seating, screen, surround-sound system and projector, etc., and who can also undertake the installation, is the best means of achieving such a room. This can make a cinema room an expensive option, however.
If you’re limited by space or budget, a media room is still easy to achieve with simple design and space planning. Position plush seating around a large screen, allow for DVD storage, and install surround-sound speakers to get the best audio experience. Dimmable lighting will complete the look.
If frequenting the local spa is your favourite way to unwind, you can bring an element of this into your own home — and it doesn’t have to break the bank.
True, you could specify sunken baths, a walk-in steam room, sauna and a jetted rainfall shower with mood lighting, but creating a spa experience can also just as easily be achieved via other means. Freestanding baths, streamlined basins, heated towel rails, large showerheads and a handful of candles are more accessible options, and fittings are available from a variety of manufacturers with ranges to suit all budgets and room sizes.
When it comes to travelling from floor to floor, or even different rooms, your home doesn’t have to conform to the boring staircase. More architects are designing in slides as a way of moving around the home, and this example by Des Ewing Architects shows how this unique design idea can work in a family home. Cleverly built behind a wall of kitchen units, the slide is hidden from view and provides easy access to the hub of the home from the first floor.
If you prefer stairs over slides, however, opting for a more interesting format such as spiral staircases can be a good option — not to mention make a real focal point.
Don’t Forget the Outdoors…
While us Brits may not benefit from good weather year-round, there’s nothing to say the great outdoors can’t still be enjoyed with the help of large overhangs and verandas — promoting indoor/outdoor living while staying dry no matter the weather.
Fire pits and built-in barbecues are another great way of enhancing your landscaping scheme. Think summer parties with friends or winter nights cosying up around the fire roasting marshmallows with the family. And don’t forget the seating — hammocks, hanging chairs, outdoor dining, tables and even treehouses; there are plenty of options to choose from.
One final element to consider when planning your garden is the use of garden ‘pods’. If you fancy a home office with a twist, or a games room with a view, these pods are a great way of creating rooms outside, and come in particularly handy if you are short of room in the house.