Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning ensures value for money and avoids 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 home to have, and include ideas such as ‘light and airy’ in addition to specifics. It’s more important how your home functions and makes you feel rather than how many square metres it is.
Designers recommend light, neutral colours for permanent finishes like tiles and bench-tops, with 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 the outdoor living area as an extension of your 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 allow 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. Ensure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
Kitchen
A good kitchen offers room to move but is of a size to allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure it isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for generous bench space between the sink and the cooktop, because this is the most convenient area to prepare food.
– Install drawers under bench height rather than cupboards -drawers offer far easier access to items.
– Situate dishwashers near sinks to allow ease of loading. This also means plumbing is in one space and therefore saves money.
– Multi-bin sorters under sinks are a good idea – you’re able to separate rubbish for recycling straight away.
– For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and factor in 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. Be sure to allow an air gap around the fridge of at least 50mm for good ventilation.

5-Star Green Designing
Installing rainwater tanks allows your family to use pure water free from the many contaminants and additives present in public supply. Think about 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.
Incorporate space for an outdoor washing line and also plan for the best place for recycling bins, rubbish bins, compost bins or worm farms.
Use 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, be careful to situate them so 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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