Five things to think about before you design your own house | WindowArt

The decision to design your own house is incredibly exciting – this is your opportunity to create your dream home! Of course, trying to design your own house isn’t as easy as it sounds. Balancing your idea of what your dream home should look like with your family’s needs, local building restrictions and, most importantly, your budget, can be a bit of a juggling act.

Before you plunge in and start to design your own house, check out these five pointers.

1. Collect design references and brainstorm ideas.

Before you start to design your own house, gather any ideas and designs that catch your eye. Home design magazines, architecture websites and Pinterest are all great sources for finding great home design ideas. It’s also a good idea to visit a few show houses in the area to get an idea of how existing home designs fit into the neighbourhood and surrounding environment.

When you see a house, room or design concept that you like, try to pinpoint what exactly you like about it. For example, if you love a particular dining room, try to be specific about why you like it. Is it the high ceiling? The big dining room table? Or is it the glass stacking doors that lend the space an open, airy feel? Is it the boldly patterned wallpaper? If you can pinpoint which specific elements you like, it’s easier to incorporate them into your own home in a way that fits in with the rest of your design, your personal style and your budget.

Collect as many visual references as you can, in the form of sketches, photos, magazine clippings and digital images. Have a few good brainstorming sessions about how you want your house to look and feel. Remember, brainstorming is all about considering all possible options, so don’t let costs or constraints curb your imagination at this point; scribble down whatever you come up with. You can discard any impractical or ludicrously expensive ideas later on.

2. Consider the features of your particular plot or property.

If you’ve decided to design your own house, you probably already own the property or plot you plan to build it on. The features of your plot – such as the slope, view, size, location and positioning – will greatly influence what kind of house you will be able to build. Take all of these features into account before drawing up any plans. Importantly, make sure that your home design takes advantage of the best views and is positioned to make the most of the area’s sunshine.

3. Make the most of natural light.

The importance of designing a home that makes the most of the available natural light cannot be stressed enough. No matter how chic or opulent your home, it’s no good if the interior is dark, gloomy and cold. Position the most important rooms on the sun-facing side of the house and include large windows and glass sliding or stacking doors to welcome in as much light as possible.

Remember, you don’t have to keep glass to a minimum for fear of feeling as though you ‘live in a fishbowl’. Applying frosted window vinyl to windows and glass doors provides privacy in the home without sacrificing natural light. For more information on the uses and benefits of frosted window vinyl, download our free guide, The Best-Dressed Windows, here.

4. Check local building regulations and zoning laws.

Always thoroughly check the local building regulations and zoning laws before starting to design you own house. Building regulations can include things like the required setback line, the maximum building height and the maximum percentage of your plot that can be covered. Make sure you’re aware of all the rules before you start planning – it’ll save you having to adjust and redesign later on.

5. Think ahead.

You need to design your own house in a way that will serve your needs for years to come. In order to do this, have a long, hard think about what the future might bring. Are you planning on having any more children? Are you planning on changing your work habits to include a home office? Do you expect to have your elderly parents living with you in the future? Your current lifestyle might not be your lifestyle ten years from now, so design rooms that can easily be repurposed. For instance, design children’s bedrooms that can later be used as offices or art studios. Multipurpose rooms are also big selling points.

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