Designing a new home is exciting and allows you to express your creativity, but all too often, important factors are overlooked during the process and cause logistical or financial problems in the future. During the design process, it’s important to consider how each element flows into another to create an inviting home that is safe, energy-efficient and attractive.
Use the Site to Your Advantage
Many homebuilders fail to consider the building site itself as they decide on a layout for a new home. The result can be a home that lacks energy efficiency, natural light or the beauty it could have had. Before you begin building, consider the layout of the land. In addition to the slope and the property lines, factor in the angle of the sun, winds, any significant landscaping and the surrounding buildings.
Always hire a professional surveyor to calculate the topography. People who skimp on this important step often find they have drainage problems or other issues that could have been avoided if the site had been surveyed properly.
Choose Affordable Features
When considering the architectural features for a home, it is important to factor in long-term costs as well as one-time costs. Perhaps floor-to-ceiling windows or the most expensive hardwood floors fit into the building budget, but will they fit into a maintenance budget a few years down the line?
If large windows aren’t efficient enough, heating or cooling bills could skyrocket. Hardwood floors, skylights and other unique features will require cleaning and other maintenance that could become costly if not worked into a long-term budget.
Create Simplified Designs
Eliminating unnecessary design elements creates a neutral backdrop for the essentials and saves money on building costs. When creating a home design, use simple shapes that are easier to build and beautiful even when standing alone. It’s also helpful to stick to no more than two or three materials in a space.
You can still achieve variation by varying the finished textures. Simple trim, no more than one or two sizes for windows and exposed connections between materials all add interest without adding labor or extra costs.
Spend Money on the Right Upgrades
While a simple design is important, that isn’t to say you shouldn’t spend money on the right upgrades. Most stairs in two-story homes are made of carpet and plywood, but hardwood stairs are stronger. By asking for them during the building process, you prevent having to tear them out later.
Other factors to consider are luxury bath items, which can be difficult to remove and upgrade in the future, fireplaces and any smart home technologies. Proper insulation from the time the home is built is important, as well. It keeps energy costs down and will be difficult to upgrade after the home is built.
Consider Safety Features
When building a home, consider whether small children will be living in it. If so, features such as balconies, large windows and glass showers may be beautiful, but that doesn’t make them safe. Choosing different options or finding a way to make the ones you want safer for your children is an essential part of the design process. The design stage is also when you should consider home security systems and similar safety features.
Considering safety, simplicity and the building site cannot be overlooked during the creation of the blueprint. By keeping the building process and future maintenance or renovations in mind, you ensure you design an affordable home that will be well-loved for years to come.