Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning results in value for money and avoids costly rebuilds through change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
It makes sense to write a wish list of everything you’d like your home to have, and include ideas such as ‘light and airy’ as well as specifics. 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 using bolder accent colours for feature items like walls or decorative objects. This way when you feel like a change you can update your look cost effectively.
Living area
The best living space flows from inside to outside, so have 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 are close to where you are.
Considering energy-savings, ensure that there are openings on more than one side of your living area to allow cooling breezes flow throught in summer and therefore reduce the use of air-conditioners. In general, place glass facing north to bring light into the house for most of the day, and consider high windows to release hot air as it rises. Ensure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
Kitchen
A good kitchen gives room to move but is of a size to allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure the kitchen isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for generous bench space between the sink and the cooktop, as this is the most convenient area to prepare food.
– Include drawers of differing depth under bench height rather than cupboards -drawers give better access to items.
– Locate dishwashers near sinks to allow easy loading. This also means plumbing is in one space and therefore saves money.
– Multi-bin sorters under sinks are a great idea – you’re able to separate your rubbish for recycling straight away.
– For safety, have rounded bench-top corners and have at least one cupboard that can be locked for harmful substances.
– The fridge uses more electricity than any other appliance, so choose one with a high energy star rating. Allow an air gap around the fridge of at least 50mm for good ventilation.

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

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


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