Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

Building your dream home? Renovating? Good planning ensures value for money and avoids costly rebuilds through change of mind, or missing out on energy-saving devices and designs.
Consider writing a wish list of everything you want your house 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.
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. This way when you feel like a change you can update the style cost effectively.
Living area
The best living space flows from inside to outside, so design the outdoor living area as an extension of the lounge and kitchen -this doubles your living area and makes family life easier 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 flow throught in summer and therefore reduce the use of air-conditioners. Generally place glass facing north to bring light into the house for most of the day, and consider placing windows higher up to release hot air as it rises. Ensure windows are double-glazed with good seals to keep in winter warmth.
A good kitchen gives room to move but is compact enough that allow easy reach between different activities.
– Make sure the kitchen isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for bench space between the sink and the cooktop, as this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
– Have drawers of differing depth under bench height rather than cupboards -they offer better 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 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 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 an air 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 that may be present in public supply. Think about the best location for tanks and wastewater systems, and integrate them with the 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 rubbish bins, recycling bins, compost bins or worm farms.
Use a mix of paving and planting, as too much concreting or paving can lead to pooling of water and drainage problems. Consider ‘permeable’ paving that allows rain to seep down to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, be careful to situate them so in the future, their 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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