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4 forward-thinking design ideas for flexible living

As the modern workplace grows more flexible with telecommuting and co-working spaces, the contemporary home is being similarly redefined. A flexible living space can accommodate young children in one stage of your life and transform into a studio space or multi-generational home in another.

Here’s how to create a modern, fluid and dynamic home to suit a changing lifestyle – and add value for buyers should you decide to move on.

Bologna - Embrace the flexible living trend with our design tips, from tiny homes to co-living.

1. Give yourself flexible living options with an open-plan design

Open concept floor plans give you a transitional blank slate with an airy, sociable aesthetic that adapts well to flexible living. Carve out provisional areas to suit your household’s current and future needs with room dividers, sliding glass doors and folding windows that can be placed in the space or put aside at will. If you prefer a more traditional floor plan, think about designing a layout that allows for upward or outward expansion in the future, to accommodate a growing family or the need for an extra workspace away from your living areas. Plan for reduced mobility in old age with a master bedroom on the ground floor or reinforced stairs that can accommodate a lift.

2. Use elements of the tiny home trend

Contemporary homeowners are increasingly interested in flexible living solutions that are equal parts eco-friendly, adaptable and smart. Tiny houses tick all the boxes, offering the comforts of modern high-tech living in a small, mobile and easily liquidated package – in short, maximum flexibility. There's no room for extraneous clutter in a tiny home, and you can apply this same principle to a larger property with a minimalist design aesthetic. Customise your interiors with versatile pieces like an elongated media console that could double as a bench, or a hideaway dining table that rolls into the wall for storage when you wish to open up the space.

3. Integrate smarter gadgets

A flexible home must be well-connected to suit its multitude of purposes. Build wireless systems into your household to access entertainment from any room. Whether you’re playing music for guests in the living room or streaming films in bed, you can do so with the touch of a button using connected apps. Smart lighting can save money and make your home more efficient. For example, systems like Philips Hue allow you to control each room individually with lighting levels and colours to create a changeable ambience.

4. Encourage communal living

A flexible living solution works for growing families with young children, multi-generational homes with ageing parents and mature students under one roof, or even groups of adult friends. Communal living is a concept that’s growing in popularity, offering a modern spin on the traditional ‘granny flat’. A prime example is the Two Pavilion House designed by David Toussaint and Kirsty Volz in Brisbane, Australia. With two pavilions divided by an internal courtyard, it can serve as a single-family home with accompanying office, rental income opportunity, or space for multiple generations.

By building flexibility into your home’s design, you’re not only future-proofing it, but also opening the doors to a more personalised, unique living experience tailored to the needs of modern life.

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