5 tips when designing your home: an expert reveals
When you are designing your home, you want to get it right from the start. A real estate expert shares her main considerations when designing your dream home.
I have inspected quite a few properties in my recent search to get my foot on the property ladder. I’ve seen so many different layouts and design features, and a little too often what seems like a complete lack of thought about how easy the space is to use the space. I often found myself muttering behind my face mask: Why isn’t there a pantry or microwave space? Am I not storing food or do I need space on a bench? Of course, mister real estate agent, I could totally press my table against that wall, then learn parkour to maneuver the 10cm space between it and the couch. Who needs natural light or a breeze in the bedroom? This is only where you spend a third of your life …
After this experience, I can understand why people decide to design their own living space. It gives homeowners the flexibility to make sure the space is functional and suitable for the way they choose to live. But it’s something you want to get right out of the conceptualization to avoid costly fixes after the property is built. So what are the main considerations when designing your dream home?
Belinda Botzolis, Senior Property Advisor at Herron Todd White, has worked with a number of clients providing property appraisals based on floor plans, and has seen her fair share of mishaps in the design process. Here are Belinda’s five tips when designing your home.
1. Don’t forget the study
With the landscape of working from home forever changed due to the COVID pandemic and the rise of ‘big resignation‘leading to negotiations on working conditions, many people work from home to some extent – part-time or full-time. Thus, the integration of a designated study space has become important in a new construction or a major renovation. Study nooks are closed because people find a small space near the kitchen just doesn’t allow privacy for a Zoom meeting. A proper designated office / study where someone can work and there is room for two screens is a likely prerequisite for future home buyers.
2. Capture natural light
The most sought after aspect for any property is north to northeast. This aspect means that natural light will likely fill your home for most of the day, making it brighter and brighter.
Facing the windows to the north may be the key. If your home doesn’t face north, it isn’t completely lost, as skylights, clever window locations, and lighter interior colors can give the illusion of bright, light spaces.
You may want to avoid placing large west-facing windows as this westerly summer sun can be unforgiving on a hot Australian summer afternoon. It may also affect your NATHERS rating and being dear to cool.
3. Bring back good-sized rooms
Believe it or not, a three bedroom house can sometimes be worth more than a four bedroom house. The misconception that the more bedrooms a house has, the more it is worth, does not apply to every house. For example, buyers may prefer a three-bedroom house with spacious rooms and possibly a smaller extra office over a house with four very small bedrooms that barely fit a bed and nightstand.
In my experience, modern home designs tend to have smaller bedrooms than in previous decades. It might be worth making compromises, perhaps reducing an oversized living room to allow bedrooms to be slightly larger.
A key tip is to make sure, when measuring a bedroom, that you do not include the built-in cabinet in the floor space. Many builders will give you bedroom measurements that include the built-in element, which means the physical floor space is even smaller than you might expect. When looking at a floor plan, allow 600-800mm wide space for the built-in cabinet (if not already marked on the plan). A decent bedroom should be at least 3.5mx 3.5m (without built-in elements).
4. Avoid dead spaces
I have enjoyed many homes where the living and dining areas are so expansive that furniture placement actually becomes difficult. It is a sign of inefficient design.
The key is to think about the functionality and usability of this space. Ask yourself, can I do what I need in this space if it was a little smaller? If the answer is yes, play around with the length and width of a room and always imagine the placement of the furniture. For example, where exactly will you be sitting to watch TV and where will the TV hang? Also, are you designing the space to make the best use of a window location for natural light?
Bigger isn’t always better, especially if that space can be used differently.
5. Stay classic, not haute couture
The secret to designing a home that is likely to hold its value is not to follow the latest trends too closely. You want to avoid that feeling when you walk into a house and say ‘that was five years ago’, for example, subway tiles being used everywhere.
Keeping a home neutral, classic, and traditional can help retain its value and generally has greater market appeal. If you want to experiment with current colors and textures and trends, consider doing so through artwork, furniture, cushions, rugs, and even light fixtures that are easy to swap out for a whole new look instead. If you are still keen to experiment with bold trends in interior design and architecture, then understand that what you love might not appeal or necessarily resonate with the wider market when it comes time to sell. .
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