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You might have seen the problem, or even fallen victim to it yourself. You plan out your home for your growing family, and only a few years down the road your plans seem to be outdated; your carefully chosen furniture is yesterday’s news and your bathrooms are in sore need or a remodel. What in the world happened?

What happened was thinking short term instead of long term. It’s a common problem that many homeowners unwittingly run into, but the good news is that it’s easy to fix. If your house seems to be screaming for an update, here are a few things you can do to make it timeless.

Choose the right colors

If you have a bedroom that could easily become an office, or an office that you might want to turn into a nursery, one of the biggest considerations is how to make that transition without putting a dent in your budget. To that end, choose paint that will make the change easy. For instance, don’t go with pink or blue for a nursery, but rather a more moderate shade, such as a light gray or cranberry. These colors can work for kids just as easily as they can work for a modern, sleek adult office.

Go with easy-to-change decorations

If you have ever seen a well-done mural on a child’s wall, you might have been mightily impressed with the fairies, trains, bears, clouds and other lovely scenes created by hand on what was once a blank canvas of white paint. But how long will it be before that princess or prince outgrows it? Rather than paint murals, choose decals and removable stickers that can be changed out as the child grows and their interests grow with them.

removable wall decals for bedrooms

Photo: Xanovsky

Choose classic from the start

If you have small kids, it might be tempting to create a space just for them, such as a bathroom with lower sinks and kid-friendly features. But those kids grow up (much faster than you would like!), and that means the room needs to grow with them.

Instead of making it cute, make it transitional — choose a nice footstool to help little ones reach the sink or toilet, and plan out your shower or bath so that entering it is easy, no matter how short or tall those kids are.

Look for double-use furniture

Why use a nightstand beside the bed when you could use an attractive three-drawer chest? It’s just about the same height, offers a great deal of space for the things you need nearby and has three drawers to fill with clothes.

Instead of a chaise lounge, why not choose a loveseat that offers a full-size ottoman, thus turning the space into an impromptu bed? And speaking of beds, how about a couch that folds out into a nice queen-size bed for guests? Double uses for furniture make your space work — well, double-time!

Storage is paramount

No matter how lovely your home is, clutter everywhere will soon make it seem messy. Tame the clutter with adequate storage. You might think you have enough closet space right  now, but what if you have kids?

What if someone crashes in your guest room for a few weeks and needs that closet space you have been using for storage? Plan your storage options carefully to ensure that you can have plenty of space when it counts. And keep to the old rule of thumb: If you haven’t used it in six months, do you really need to keep it?

Offer many lighting options

What if you choose to turn that den into a sewing room? Suddenly that overhead light on a dimmer switch just isn’t enough. You need spot lighting that is crisp, clear and bright. By planning several different lighting options into your home from the start, you can easily go from overheads to track lighting to task lighting all without rewiring.

All of these small considerations from the start can help you avoid big headaches later. So take your time right now in choosing the proper colors, furniture and lighting that works well for your space, with an eye toward how it will look a decade from now.

 

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Shannon Dauphin Lee

Shannon Dauphin Lee is a journalist and occasional novelist with a serious weakness for real estate. When she's not writing, she and her husband are taking road trips to explore covered bridges, little wineries and quaint bed-and-breakfast inns in their beloved Pennsylvania.