Some of our expert design tips on lighting, outdoor spaces & more…
Use natural light & warmth as much as possible
Depending on where you live, you can use natural light to improve your home. If you’re living in the Southern hemisphere, it is better if the living areas of your house face towards the North. The extra sun and natural light will
help make these spaces more enjoyable to live in and increase your thermal comfort in winter. But if you live in a hot climate you need to try to avoid the burning summer
sun by using 90 centimetre window & door overhangs which will provide shade during those hot months. They will also allow maximum penetration of sunlight in the winter. If you live in a cool climate, try to have lower window sills in living areas
to allow maximum penetration of sunlight in winter. Finally: whenever possible avoid putting garages or
storage spaces on the side of house that gets the most sun as it will reduce access to sunlight for other areas of the home.
Read our lighting article for more information on using lighting to improve your home.
Balconies, verandahs and decks
Do not put balconies off bedrooms as they rarely used and can cause drafts in cooler weather.
Decks, balconies and porches should never be less than 2 metres wide as they become almost unusable if their width decreases below 2 metres. Try to use shade on a balcony as most of the time spent there will be during daylight hours and can sometimes become too hot.
Painting and the use of colors
Choosing the right colors for your home can be a daunting task. We recommend you try sample pots first and try different colors in both shady and sunny locations as they will look different in each light. You should also wait until the paint dries before making a final judgement as paint tends to be darker after it dries. For more information see the following web pages:
Size does matter!
Try to design all spaces in 60cm increments. Most building materials are made in some multiple of this length.
Your bedrooms should be a minimum of 3 metres by 3 metres as anything smaller than this starts to become uncomfortable and/or unusable. Even kids bedrooms need to be quite large to allow addition of desks, entertainment systems, larger bed etc as the child grows.
Have an open plan or common area centered around the kitchen. The use of separate living, dining and cooking areas
are a design hold-over from a bygone era where well-off homes (i.e. more than a one or two
bedroom cottage) had servants that needed to be keep out of sight.
Privacy and Peace
Having areas in your home that allow for privacy and peace are vital for a hormonious atmosphere. If possible, provide a private/quite area for individuals in the household to pursue
there own interests or activities. This can include spacious bedrooms or separate
studies, rumpus rooms, workshops, sheds, dens, or alcoves.
Home construction tips…
- Remember to build the house with a well insulated roof or concrete roof as this is best for energy efficiency.
- Cost effective methods of construction utilise timber wall frames and simply designed timber trusses on brick piers.Simply designed trussed roofs are the most economical.
- Try our construction cost estimator to help determine an approximate cost.
- A concrete slab on ground with solid/thick walls internally and externally will give you a warmer house in winter and a cooler house in summer.
- Start collecting second-hand doors, windows and kitchen cupboards to reduce construction costs.
- Auctions are a great place to source discounted construction materials and PC items such as basins, tiles, faucets and bathtubs.
- For cost effective timber flooring lay yellow tongue floor sheeting in a stacked bond arrangement.
Sand and polish with 3 coats of polyurethane and a maximum percentage of black tint.
Before you proceed with trying to build or design your own home you may find it beneficial to read the following