You might be surprised to learn that almost 1 in 5 American households have two or more generations living together. Kitchen & Bath Design News magazine reported that approximately 16.5 million U.S. households have two adult generations living together, and another 4.6 million have at least three generations living in the same house, according to a recent survey conducted by John Burns Real Estate Consulting LLC, sponsored by Electrolux. That equates to 18 percent of U.S. homes!

The number of multigenerational households has doubled since 1980, according to the Pew Research Center. The number hit its peak during the Great Recession, when many millennials moved back in with their parents or other family members because of unemployment or low wages. The number is still growing but at a slower pace.

Financially, sharing a home is a great way to save money. It’s also ideal for households with elderly parents or young children so that family members can help care for each other. However, when you think of multiple families living under the same roof, you might picture a constant struggle to get into the bathroom or a fight for the last seat at the dinner table. With a few strategic design choices, many of these problems can be avoided.

1. Double vanities

Double vanityThere’s nothing more frustrating than being on a tight schedule and not being able to get into the bathroom to get ready. By equipping every bathroom possible with a double vanity, you can make the most out of such valuable space.

2. Mirror defoggers

Steam-free bathroom mirrorIt might seem like an unnecessary luxury, but adhering a mirror defogger to the backs of any bathroom mirrors is actually very important in a household with many people. When you have family members taking showers right after one another, you’re left with a steamy mirror that’s sure to upset the person trying to do their hair or makeup for the day. A mirror defogger means your mirrors will stay clear all through the morning “rush hour,” giving your bathroom maximum usage.

3. Barstool seating

Kitchen island with barstoolsSitting down for a family dinner each night is a wonderful way to spend time together and hear about each other’s days. However, when you have two or more families sharing a meal, seating everyone can be challenging to say the least. By purchasing a few barstools to sit at your kitchen island or peninsula, you can optimize the space in the room to fit more people.

4. Finished basement

Basement with kitchenIf you can, one of the best ways to make multigenerational living easier is to finish your basement. If you have too many cooks in the kitchen (literally) or family members can’t agree on what to watch on TV, the basement is the perfect retreat. You can set up another entertainment area with a TV, and you can even put in a kitchenette with another refrigerator and stove downstairs. Giving family members options will ensure that everyone gets what they want.

5. In-floor heating

Father and son playing game on wood floorThe thermostat can be one of the most infuriating items in a home because everyone seems to be comfortable at a different temperature. Instead of dealing with one person turning up the thermostat and another turning it back down over and over again, you can invest in heated floors. If you’re living with a family member that always seems to be cold, in-floor heating is the solution for you. By installing electric underfloor heating in key rooms of the home, you can customize the comfort level of the room, ensuring that each family member feels at home.

By adding these five improvements to your home, you’ll minimize the arguments and maximize the joy of living with your loved ones. If you have other improvements to share, let us know by posting on the WarmlyYours Facebook page, Twitter or Instagram.

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