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Top 5 Things to Keep in Mind When Designing Your Home


The idea of designing and building your ideal home is a dream come true for thousands of Kiwis each year. As with anything of this significance, care needs to be taken to ensure a well thought out, functional house plan. This article explains some of the main things to consider when designing a home.

Given these challenging times, we are spending more and more time in our homes and as a result, has more New Zealanders looking at their homes with a more critical eye in terms of overall design comfort and practicality.

The most important thing to remember is that spending extra time at the beginning of your new home build will prevent you from having any regrets once the house is done.


The right land (site) for your home

One of the things that will significantly influence your home design is the land it’s built on. Your site will play a big part in the style, the floor plan and the functionality of your home. For instance, if you have a small site you may need to consider a two-storey home. Or perhaps your land is really hilly and needs a split-level house design.

When thinking about the design of your home, consider the land. It’s pretty simple – the flatter your site is, the more economical and easier it will be to build on.

A tip: if you don’t want to spend a fortune or ideally want to have more of your budget towards the actual house itself, try to avoid land with slopes and rocky areas. You’d do well to select house designs (floorplans) that are more suited to your site and go from there.

The style of house

The style of home you’d like is often the best place to start, the style of house you want will ultimately dictate the site required among other things. The style of the home will connect with so many of the choices you make throughout the design and home building journey. This is the part of the design where you can get inspired and create a home that is uniquely you.

  • Is your style preference a Modern Kiwi home design, a Coastal, a Traditional, an Industrial or even Hamptons style home?
  • Are you looking for a home with serious curb appeal, to stand out from your neighbours or something subtler?

These are all questions that you need to ask yourself and get clarification on, early in the home building journey.

Consider the orientation of home

In design terms, house orientation is when the home is designed to harness the natural elements and make the most of seasonal variations. A well-oriented house uses its Northern side to capture as much daylight as possible during the cooler months. A common mistake home buyers and new home builders make is to face the most commonly used areas in the wrong direction.

If you don’t have a block of land and are looking to buy or build, it is highly recommended to consider the site placement. A properly orientated block allows for a more solar efficient design. If you already own land you should consider custom designing your home and plan your design around the solar orientation for optimum efficiency.

A tip: You can get the best of both worlds (a cooler home in summer and a warmer home in winter) by simply orientating your bedrooms and living areas to face north. If you are unsure of what is best for your location, you can work with your home builder to determine the best orientation for your home.

Essentially, the importance of room alignment will depend on what part of New Zealand you are in.

Your current and future family needs

A home should be built to last, and as such, your design should not only cater to your current family and lifestyle but also for the lifestyle and family you aim to achieve down the track. A good home design will match both the aesthetic and the functional needs of your lifestyle and family. 

Things to consider and perhaps ask yourself when designing your home for your lifestyle include;

  • Do you have kids? – if so, consider the layout for safety and practicality now and as they grow. Does your home design include adequate outdoor space or play areas.
  • Are you looking to start a family in the future? Consider the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, as well as the proximity of the bedrooms to each other and the rest of the house.
  • Do you love to entertain? – for this, perhaps a well-designed living/dining area, or indoor/outdoor entertainment area may be of importance to you.
  • Do you need/want any particular “bonus” rooms? – these are very subjective and will depend on you family. A growing trend among home buyers is the inclusion of a butler’s pantry, a home office/study and laundry rooms.
  • What is your ideal kitchen style/design?–as one of the busiest and most used rooms of a home, your kitchen design needs to be functional and timeless. Things to consider when designing your kitchen includes – bench space, adequate storage, the cabinetry, and over all layout and spatial flow. The kitchen is also what will likely “sell” the house should you choose to do that down the track.

Your floorplan

Open plan living is usually the idea most people opt for when they are designing their houses. The reason being, it creates the illusion of a wider space. However, this also may not be what you personally want and need for your lifestyle. So, the floorplan you choose needs to consider your particular lifestyle and family needs.

The modern trend for designing living spaces in a home is to have a good compromise between the large open plan spaces you might want (like the kitchen/dining/living) and the more cozy spaces you would want for a degree of privacy.

What makes a good floorplan;

  • It caters to your priorities and lifestyle. If entertaining is important, make sure there’s a good flow from the kitchen to an outside space and living room. If you work from home, make sure your office gets ideal light and is perhaps in a quiet location. When you do laundry, is it easily accessible to get from the bedrooms to the laundry room?
  • It is versatile and flexible. Make sure to account for life and family changes as the years go by. For example, in the future an office may need to be turned into a child’s bedroom or guest room(whether for your family’s needs or a future buyer’s).
  • It considers the ideal room layout. Most people will like if the kitchen opens to the dining or living rooms so whoever is cooking can still interact with guests or keep an eye on the kids playing. Having the bedrooms further away from entertaining spaces for increased comfort and privacy. Ideally, the bathrooms shouldn’t face common living and entertainment spaces.
  • It is designed to comfortably meet the requirements of the family. Whenever designing any room or hallway, think about how many people will be in that space at one time. Do they have room to move around? Is there room for furniture to accommodate all the planned activities? Is there sufficient air and light coming in?

Once you better understand the various elements to consider when designing your home you will be in a much better position to choose a house plan that works for you and your family. More importantly though, be sure to know what is achievable within your budget and work with your home builder to meet your design requirements and your budget. Master builders like Stonewood Homes will offer an extensive range of house plan with multiple options to suit a broad range of lifestyles, family types and budgets.

Your home is probably going to be the single biggest investment you ever make. So, take your time, make sensible decisions, and design a realistic, functional family home.

Have questions? Get in touch, our New Home Consultants are ready to help find the perfect home for you and your lifestyle.

We look forward to seeing you soon!

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