Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning means value for money and lets you avoid 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 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.
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 look 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 are close to where you are.
Considering energy-savings, make sure there are openings on more than one side of your living area to let cooling breezes through in summer and minimise use of air-conditioners. In general, 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.
A good kitchen leaves room to move but is of a size to allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure it isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for bench space between the sink and the cooktop, as this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
– Include drawers under bench-tops rather than cupboards -they offer easier access to items.
– Situate 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 great – you can separate your rubbish for recycling straight away.
– For safety, avoid sharp bench-top corners and factor in at least one lockable cupboard for harmful substances.
– The fridge uses more electricity than any other appliance, so choose one with a high energy star rating. Allow a 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 that may be present in public supply. Think about the best place to locate tanks and wastewater systems, and integrate them with the initial 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 rubbish bins, recycling bins, compost bins or worm farms.
Plan a mix of planting and paving, as too much concreting or paving can result in pooling of water and drainage problems. Consider ‘permeable’ paving that allows rain to seep through to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, be careful to situate them so the roots won’t damage walls or footings.

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

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