Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

Are you building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning results in value for money and lets you avoid costly rebuilds because of a change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
Write a wish list of everything you want your house to have, and include ideas such as ‘light and airy’ in addition to specifics. After all, it’s more important how your home functions and makes you feel rather than how many square metres it is.
Light, neutral colours are recommended for permanent finishes like bench-tops and tiles, and the use of bolder accent colours for feature items like walls or decorative objects. By doing this, when you feel like a change you can update your style cost effectively.
Living area
The best living space flows from inside to outside, so design your outdoor living area as an extension of the lounge and kitchen -this doubles your living area and eases family life as children are much happier playing outside when they can see indoors where you are.
Considering energy-savings, make sure there are openings on more than one side of your living area to let breezes through in summer and therefore reduce the use of air-conditioners. Generally place glass facing north to capture light for most of the day, and consider high windows to release hot air as it rises. Make sure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
Kitchen
A good kitchen leaves room to move but is compact enough to allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure the kitchen isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for bench space between the sink and the cooktop, because this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
– Include drawers under bench height rather than cupboards -they provide far easier access to items.
– Locate dishwashers close to sinks for easy loading. This also means plumbing is in one space and therefore saves money.
– Multi-bin sorters under sinks are great – you are able to separate rubbish for recycling straight away.
– For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and have a minimum of one lockable cupboard for harmful substances.
– The fridge uses the most electricity of all appliances, so choose one with a high energy star rating. Be sure to allow a gap around the fridge of at least 50mm for good ventilation.

5-Star Green Designing
Installing rainwater tanks means you family can use pure water free from the many contaminants and additives present in public supply. Think about the best place to locate tanks and wastewater systems, and integrate them with the initial design to avoid having them look like an ‘add-on’ later on.
Incorporate space for an outdoor washing line and also think about the best place for recycling bins, rubbish bins, worm farms or compost bins.
Plan a mix of planting and paving, as too much concreting or paving can mean pooling of water and drainage problems. Consider ‘permeable’ paving that allows rain to seep down to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, take care to place them so the roots won’t cause damage to walls or footings.

If you want to see some great home designs, visit Bush and Beach.


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