What are Public and Private Areas in a Multigenerational Home?

Public areas in a multigenerational home


Public and private areas in a multigenerational home are key considerations to the family dynamics.  Peace in a multigenerational home comes from a successful mix of public and private areas. The wrong mix creates stress and conflict.

What are the public and private areas? Public areas are the family room, kitchen, dining room, back yard and places that are open for any member of the family to be without barriers. There can be some restrictions like small children by the stove and the like. But the concept of free access is significant to the public areas.

Private areas are the rooms that an individual controls. Bedrooms are generally the most important private space. These can be shared but an area within the bedroom can be designated an individual personal space.

private areas in a multigenerational home

Other private areas could be an office, den, craft room, study, play room and a bonus room with a particular function. Private areas can also be for a subgroup of the multigenerational family. Examples can be a children multimedia family room, a reading room, couple night room. And that adds the element of time. A room can be public most of the time but private for a function or time frame.

As you can see, privacy is one of the most important features to consider when looking at a property to become a multigenerational home.  Bonus rooms can serve public and private functions. They add great flexibility to a property. A bonus room may be used for many different functions. Frequently, a bonus room becomes a multipurpose room or a family room. Sometimes, a bonus room is made specific, such as being turned into a home office, den, family room, home gym, home theater, playroom, or a craft and hobby center.

A bonus room is a room which can be used as a multi-purpose area. The multi-purpose room can be changed as the family needs it to. It could alter its usefulness from kids play area, to book club meeting room, to project lay out area, to holiday scene, to guest chamber, music room, Friday night poker room, craft room, family together space and almost any special needs the family can think of.

bonus room multi-purpose

Each generation needs its own type of privacy. Privacy can be for individuals or couples. Couples need privacy for many reasons. Couples require privacy for personal conversations, intimate times, romance, difficult conversations that should not be overheard and many other reasons. It is important to give the children privacy for their friend conversations, distress, school work, solo play time like video games and other childish reasons. Privacy is empowering to young people and its importance should not be minimized.

The degree of privacy is determined by each family. The house needs to be designed to give each multigenerational family the flexibility to achieve the public and privacy space requirements.

How to get privacy

Layout of the home is critical. If there is a three generational family, the prerequisite for two master suites and sufficient other bedrooms will be the first step in creating effective private space. Public space many times is related to how much open space the home has. An example of poor public space is if only half the family eats in one area and the rest of the family is spread out into other areas. This may not meet the goal of a family to have meals together. Matching the family’s wants and needs with the house layout is crucial to the public-private dynamic.

Soundproofing is another way to create privacy. Common situations are the older generations who may be hard of hearing generally turn their television volume up. And on the other hand young people also enjoy listening to movies and music louder which can create some hardship. Improving soundproofing can be achieved by insulation, sound board, doors, or acoustical wall covering which will help absorb sound.

multigenerational home

Rules can help with the public-private issues. Family rules help with bathroom disputes and can create an atmosphere of privacy. Rules about how to enter a private area can empower or diminish the effectiveness of a private area. Rules like to knock first and wait for reply before entering a private room would help with establishing privacy. No rules about individual space can actually take away privacy from a house that has great private spaces.  Household rules can correct some of the deficiencies of a property.

Security locks can reinforce privacy areas. Bedroom doors that lock make a statement. Also rooms without a lock don’t feel as private. Security adds a level of privacy. Degrees of private areas can be absolute or semi-private.

Peace in a multigenerational home comes from a successful mix of public and private areas. Understanding public-private issues before buying will make the search for a multigenerational home more profitable if you have a clear wants and needs list. Coffee Real Estate agents will listen to your concerns and help locate that just right property to make into a peaceful home.