Thursday September 8th, 2016 14:59 Home Design Tips for Sustainable and Relaxed Living

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.
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’ 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 look cost effectively.
Living area
It’s definitely best when the 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 because 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 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.
A good kitchen has room to move but is compact enough that allow easy reach between various activities.
– Make sure the kitchen isn’t a thoroughfare.
– Allow for generous bench space between the sink and the cooktop, because this is the most convenient area for food preparation.
– Install drawers under bench-tops rather than cupboards -drawers give better access to items.
– Place 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 great – you can 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 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 think about the best place for recycling bins, rubbish bins, worm farms or compost bins.
Use a mix of planting and paving, as too much concreting or paving can lead to pooling of water and drainage problems. Consider ‘permeable’ paving that allows rain to filter down to the soil underneath.
When planting trees, be careful to situate them so in the future, 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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