If you’re looking to tip the scales in favour of more time with your loved ones, the good news is this: a few very minor changes around the home could help.
Here are five top family-centric styling tips from Catherine Heraghty, Sydney mum and director of boutique interiors company, The Stables.
1. Choose the right furniture
The most common spaces for families to hang out are the living and dining rooms. You want to make sure you select furniture that is conducive to family time.
Whether you’re watching movies together or using the floor space to play with your children, Catherine recommends choosing a sofa that’s the right size and shape for your living room needs.
“If you have younger children and spend a lot of time on the floor with them, I would suggest a modular sofa so you can configure the shape,” she says.
“Perhaps forgo a coffee table and invest in a great area rug.”
A lovely roomy dining table will create a communal zone for family members to gravitate towards for mealtimes, homework and playtime activities, such as colouring-in and crafts.
As for the dining room, you want to have a table that is big enough to seat everyone comfortably to make dinner time an enjoyable family ritual.
“Choose between a round or rectangle shape table depending on your preference and consider the footprint of the space where the dining table will be,” recommends Catherine.
2. Transform your bedroom into a sanctuary
One of the easiest ways to spend more quality time with your partner is by making your bedroom a couples’ sanctuary.
Work out which activities help you and your partner relax together, then create zones fit-for-purpose.
Catherine says creating an inviting and calm bedroom is all about understanding your priorities.
“Aside from a comfortable bed, how else would you like to relax with your partner?” she asks.
“Perhaps you’d like a TV in the room so you can enjoy your favourite Netflix series, or you could create a reading nook by window so you can have a cup of coffee in the morning or a glass of wine together in the evening.”
3. Storage is king
Having the proper storage in your home can help you replace cleaning time with more family time. It can be as simple as having a storage cupboard near the front door.
With a little flair, storage can become a visual feature like with this under-stair storage bench.
“Creating a small nook or cupboard near your main entry to hide away shoes, coats and school bags is a great hack,” Catherine enthuses.
“It becomes a habit for everyone to put their stuff away as they enter the home, saving you precious cleaning time… or from tripping over school shoes that get sprawled all over the living room floor!”
4. Style = comfort
To help make your spaces inviting and comfortable, Catherine advises using soft furnishings like cushions, throws and floor cushions liberally.
Applying an aesthetic theme in your home is also recommended — this is where intuitive styling comes in.
Trust your gut when it comes to styling with artwork, knick-knacks and decorative pieces.
“Using a consistent colour palette throughout the home and adding styling pieces that align, such as artwork or ceramics, can help people feel more at ease,” says Catherine.
5. Trust in tech
When it comes to clever home hacks that help create more family time, technology is your best friend.
There are many savvy time-saving devices for the home, from robot vacuum cleaners to smart home apps.
Or maybe you just want to get the kids off the internet so you can enjoy a family dinner? There’s a clever technology hack for that too! Optus customers get access to Living Network tools such as Optus Pause, it allows you to pause your home connectivity across your devices and internet, all from the handy My Optus app.
Life’s too short to spend half of it on your phone! Picture: Jane Dempster
Technology is great and all, but there is nothing like completely switching off to enjoy the family moments that matter.
So, hit pause and focus on the things that really matter!