4 Top Tips for Home Design
With so much to think about when designing a new home, it’s no surprise self builders can get overwhelmed. It’s easy to overlook key elements that could make a significant impact on the finished property. Below I highlight 4 things to remember when designing your home.
1. Budget beyond the construction work
Your design will be dictated considerably by your finances. While most people realise that they need to factor in the cost of the building work, it’s easy to forget about the other aspects that need to be accounted for on top of this.
Quite a lot of money has to be spent on things that seem minor on their own, but collectively can tot up to thousands of pounds.
Don’t forget to budget for:
- finance and insurance costs
- professional and local authority fees
- site surveys
- access from the highway
- service connections
The price of some elements can be fairly accurately predicted – such as planning fees and sewer connection charges – others have to be estimated.
Learn more: What can you Build for your Budget?
You’ll also need a contingency on top.
2. Reduce noise
Soundscape is often overlooked in house plans. Unwanted noise is a common problem, not least because of all the gadgets we now have for our entertainment.
It’s important for the fabric of your home to be robust, well-sealed and as solid as possible.
The layout of the house also plays a key role in reducing disturbance. Children are noisy, so look into how to distance their bedrooms from others. You can try, for example, bathrooms or built-in wardrobes in-between the rooms.
Sound travels more easily to rooms below, which means a second floor or attic space is not always a good place for the loudest family members.
With open-plan living becoming commonplace, don’t forget to factor in a snug or living room isolated from the main areas of activity. This will provide an oasis of calm for quieter activities such as reading or homework.
Explore the house plans: Paul & Belinda Wilson designed a lounge separate from the kitchen-dining-living room
3. Storage solutions
A major gripe from owners of new homes is often the lack of storage space. In the early stages of a design it’s easy to underestimate how many possessions you own or are going to acquire in the future.
This is one reason why most garages are rarely filled with cars. Instead you are likely to find bikes, gym equipment, unwanted Christmas presents and other debris.
Lots of storage space can be incorporated at little extra cost or loss of floor area, but you’ll need to plan this at the beginning of the design process.
Built-in storage can extend the full height of rooms and also work to become a design feature, making it more efficient than free-standing chests of drawers and wardrobes.
Read more: Storage Design Ideas for your Home Interior
Another thing to consider is a pantry, for separate kitchen storage – sturdy shelves allow easy access to kitchenware and produce that might otherwise be awkwardly crammed into standard cupboards.
4. Home maintenance
Sooner or later every element of the construction of a house will need maintenance. Predicting your home’s upkeep should influence how materials and fittings are integrated into the design.
Roof tiles and bricks will last for many decades without attention, but other materials require work more frequently. For instance, plastic fascias and barge boards are popular, but have to be redecorated regularly atop a tall ladder.
An open roof over a stairwell with skylights and a centrepiece chandelier looks dramatic; however, it also presents a challenge for whoever has to change the light bulbs or clean the glass.
Self-cleaning glazing and cables that allow the light fitting to be hooked across to the landing will solve these problems but redecoration may require scaffolding and is therefore a specialist job.
Unblocking gutters is another difficult chore, especially for high level valleys between pitched roofs. A lot of effort can be spared by putting roof windows in the attic, which will allow you to reach out safely with a rake.