Top Tips For Home Design

There’s a lot to think about when you’re designing a new home, so it’s no surprise that self-builders often get overwhelmed by all the things they have to know and decide. It’s easy to overlook some of the key elements that could make a real difference to the finished property. Here are some of the most important things to remember when you’re designing and building your own home

Before you decide to shop house plans, make sure you’ve done your homework, so the design and build process can go as smoothly as possible. 

Budget Beyond The Construction Work

The design of your new home will have to be dictated by your finances. While most people realise that they need to factor in the cost of the building work, it can be easy to forget about the other aspects of a house build that need to be accounted for on top of the construction itself. 

You will have to spend quite a lot of money on things that might seem minor on their own but collectively can soon add up to a lot of money. 

Don’t forget to budget for things including:

  • Landscaping
  • Finance and insurance costs
  • Professional and local authority fees
  • Site surveys
  • Access from the highway
  • Service connections

The price of some of these elements can be predicted in advance fairly accurately, like planning fees and sewer connection charges, but others will have to be estimated. Leave room in your budget for some surprises and unexpected costs. 

Reduce Noise

The soundscape is something that is often overlooked when planning a house. Unwanted noise is a common problem, especially because of all the gadgets all homes have as standard now for their entertainment. The fabric of your home needs to be robust, well-sealed, and as solid as possible.

The layout of your home will also play a key part in reducing noise and disturbance. Children are noisy, so if you have kids, look into how best to distance their bedrooms from other parts of the house. For example, you could out bathrooms or built-in wardrobes in between bedrooms to reduce noise between them. Sound can travel most easily to rooms below, so a second floor or an attic space might not be the best choice for a room for the noisiest member of the family. 

Open-plan living is becoming much more commonplace, but you shouldn’t forget to factor in a snug or a living room that is away from the main areas of activity in the house. This gives you somewhere calm for quieter activities like reading or homework. 

Storage Solutions

One of the most common gripes from people who own new-build homes if the lack of storage space. In the early stages of a house design, it’s all too easy to underestimate how many possessions you own or are going to acquire in the future. 

This is the big reasons why most garages are usually not filled with cars. Instead, you’re far more likely to find things like bikes, gym equipment, Christmas decorations and other clutter piled high in there instead. 

You can incorporate a lot of storage space into your home at not much extra cost or a loss of floor space, but you will need to plan this in at the beginning of the design process. 

Built-in storage can extend to the full height of rooms and also work as a design feature, which will make it more efficient than things like free standing wardrobes or chests of drawers. 

Another thing that you should consider is a pantry, to give you more storage in the kitchen. Fit it with sturdy shelves to allow you to have easy access to kitchenware and produce that might otherwise be awkwardly crammed into the standard kitchen cupboards. 

Home Maintenance

Sooner or later every element of the construction of a new house will need some kind of maintenance. If you can predict your home’s upkeep, this should influence how you integrate different materials and fittings into your design. 

Roof tiles and bricks will last for several decades without needing much attention, but other materials will need more frequent work. For instance, things like plastic fascias and barge boards are very popular, but to keep them looking good and in good repair, they need to redecorated regularly, using a tall ladder. 

An open roof over a stairwell with skylights or a centrepiece chandelier looks striking, but it will also be a challenge for the person who has to change the light bulbs or clean the glass. Self-cleaning glazing and cables that will allow the light fitting to be hooked across to the landing will solve these issues, but if you need to redecorate, you might be scaffolding, which is a specialist job.  

Another difficult chore is unblocking gutters, especially any high-level valleys between pitched roofs. You can spare yourself a lot of effort by putting roof windows in the attic, so you can safely reach out to the guttering with a rake. 

Future-Proofing The Home

If you’re planning in your self-build home for many years to come, then the layout needs to have some flexibility built into it so it can evolve with you and your family as it changes. 

It’s a good idea to plan for increases in the size of your family, whether that’s having more children, adult children returning home from college with their boyfriend or girlfriend in tow, or older relatives needing to move in. 

Think about putting in some planning approval for an extension that can be constructed at a later date. You could also put in the foundations and some capped-off drainage connections that are ready to be used when you finish the extension later on. 

You could make a loft with a clear space suitable for conversion, perhaps with a structural opening in place for a future staircase. 

Future-proof in case family members become infirm or disabled. Discrete features make a big difference, like doors that are wider than standard to allow space for wheelchairs. You could leave space to fit a lift at a later date. 


Speak Your Mind