Designing your dream home is a fun and exciting process. However, it also comes with its challenges. If you’ve never designed a home before, it can be difficult to know where to start.
If you need a helping hand getting started, here’s a step-by-step guide to designing your ideal home.
Photo by Elif Kinikoglu Interiors
Step 1: Create Your Wish List
First, you’ll need to develop a wish list of everything you’d like to include in your new home.
As the design process progresses, it’s easy to become overwhelmed if you’re not clear on what you want from the get-go. Developing a wish list allows you to visualise elements of the home and help you better define what you really want.
To get you started, it may help to divide your ideas into three categories: Functionality, Style, and Other.
Under Functionality, include things like your ideal number of bedrooms, bathrooms, living areas, and garage space, as well as other features like the number of storeys, a study or home office, an outdoor alfresco zone, or butler’s pantry to the kitchen.
In the Style category, list any features which would add to the aesthetic properties of the home. Start by defining your ideal style of the home (e.g. contemporary, coastal, cape cod, mid-century modern, French country, colonial, Victorian, craftsman, etc.). Once you’ve settled on the overall style of the home, have a think about the type of fittings, fixtures, and finishes you’d most like.
For the Other category, include any additional features that you’d like to include. This could include things like the energy efficiency or eco-rating of the home, the use of sustainable building materials, or various custom-designed features.
Step 2: Determine Your Budget
Next, you’ll need to find out how much money you have to work with.
For most of us, the budget will determine what’s possible in your new home so it’s important to get a good understanding of what you can realistically afford from the beginning.
Get in touch with your bank or mortgage lender to find out what your borrowing capacity is and work out what repayments you’ll comfortably be able to afford. Your bank or lender should also be able to walk you through how construction loans work, as they’re a little different from a regular home mortgage.
It’s a good approach to also include a contingency budget if you can to avoid finding yourself in a situation where you don’t have enough money to fund the rest of the build after construction has started.
Step 3: Speak to the Experts
Now it’s time to seek input from the people who know what it’s really going to take to create your home.
Source an architect or building designer and give them an overview of your budget and what you have in mind. They should be able to provide an indication of whether your grand plans will be possible within your budget. They may also be able to develop a basic design concept for you to show a builder.
A builder will be able to provide a more accurate cost of construction for your design. If you’re working to a tight budget, it’s worthwhile shopping around for a custom home builder that can give you an idea of the cost of construction early in the design process to inform your planning.
Step 4: Refine Your Ideas
Now you have a good understanding of what’s going to be possible within your budget, it’s time to refine your ideas and develop the final design for your home.
If you’re buying a home off-the-plan, you’ll be restricted to the existing home design. In contrast, most custom home builders will be able to accommodate almost any request.
After working with your architect or designer with input from your builder to develop the final plans, your plans will need to be reviewed by the local government authority to obtain planning permission. If any changes are required, your architect or designer should help you make these.
Once your designs are approved, you’re all set to start the construction of your ideal new home!