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  • Writer's pictureLucy ay Winova

A Guide to Designing Your Dream Home

Designing your dream home sounds like a super fun experience. If you have purchased the property and have big plans to refurbish and make it your own, there are lots of things to consider along the way.

While it sounds fun, it can of course be costly, time-consuming and it is important to consult all the right people to ensure you know what you are doing every step of the way. From architects to planners, from builders to plasterers, you will need to think about getting the right team together for the job.

Most home-build projects take between a year and eighteen months to come to fruition. During that time, you’ll have to make a lot of decisions and speak to a lot of professionals, from designers and engineers to builders and inspectors.

Of course, it’s all worth it because you’ll be rewarded with your ideal home. Nonetheless, it can be a daunting process, which is why I’ve put together a simple guide to the steps you’ll have to take to turn your vision into reality.

1. Set clear goals

Be clear on your vision for your future home and how you want it to look. Things might change along the way but if you are clear on what you want the end property to look like from the start, you will find it easier to stay focused.

Make a plan and ensure you have the means to get the job done.

Match your home to your lifestyle

Think about your lifestyle. When you design your home, it should sit in line with how you live your life, how you spend your time and accommodate your daily routines and future plans.

Jot down notes and ask questions about the list of the rooms and the features that you would like to include. Consider things like:

· What sqm can you achieve in each room?

· How many bedrooms do you need?

· How much natural light do you need each room to get?

· Types of furniture will go in the rooms?

· How much storage do you need?

· Do you require a home office?

· Do you need adequate parking?

· Where will you gather together to eat?

· Is there enough space if you plan to start or grow your family?

2. Develop a design brief

Develop an overall design brief. The brief outlines your vision and your requirements for space and covers key elements for your project such as:

· The number of floors

· The number of bedrooms

· The measurement of the current rooms

· Where the front door will be

· Where all the inside doors will be located

If you’re going to work with an architect, create a brief for them. Make a list of features you want each room to have. The more information you provide, the better equipped they’ll be to help you create your perfect home.

The architect will then be able to advise on whether your plans are possible or not and a good architect will also suggest other creative ideas. They can view a space differently to other people and this can be really helpful.

3. Set your budget

This might be the least fun part of the home design process, but it is an essential one. Set a realistic budget that you can afford. Some owners’ common mistake in designing their house is not keeping in mind the budget and they often run out of money and end up having to cut corners.

You can always start by jotting down and getting costs for everything and then work backwards from there. Some things might be nice to have but are too expensive and could be done further down the line.

Include everything that is necessary and within your budget. Materials and labor should be 75% of the total amount spent. Don’t forget the other costs too like:

· Taxes and fees

· Furniture

· Decorations

· Landscaping

· Architect fees

· Building permit fees

· Inspections

· Plumbing and electric

· Interior designer fee

If you’ll hire an interior designer, the average UK hourly rate of an interior designer is between £30 and £50. This will vary depending on the experience of the designer in question, the size and location of your property, and how many rooms you want to be worked on.

4. Check the Planning Portal

Before you start designing your home, the next step should be to analyze the site and location of the house. This will play a significant part as where the house sits will affect the interior of your home.

Familiarize yourself on the local planning requirements as there may be restrictions on where and how you can construct your house. Getting planning permission for that dream extension or for essential maintenance can be a nightmare. Planning regulation is complex and many people have fallen into the pitfalls that await the ill-informed.

Planning permission - When you do not need it?

Some building projects do not need planning permission. This is known as ‘permitted development rights’.

Building projects that normally have permitted development rights include:

  • industrial premises and warehouses

  • some outdoor signs and advertisements - though there are special rules around adverts

  • demolition - but before you begin you must get approval to demolish from your local planning authority (LPA) through your local council

There are other projects that might not need planning permission - for example, projects that will have no impact on your neighbours or the environment. If you think this could apply to your project, check with your LPA through your local council.

5. Complete the end plan & get going!

Once your plan is final, enjoy the process. Creating a home that you will spend time in creating wonderful memories is something special. Enjoy the ride, the highs and the lows and take each step as it comes.

Keep an eye on spending throughout and keep all parties who are involved in the build and refurbishment up to date with each other. Take lots of photos so you can see how far you’ve come. Each step you will see a transformation and it is always great to look back and reflect on the progress.

Other easy steps to make your home project fun and successful:

  • Identify the source of the best natural lighting in your room and decide where to place the additional artificial lighting.

  • Decide on the colours you want to be painted on the walls of your room - you can opt for wallpapers too.

  • Pick your flooring - You can choose colours which are contrast to your walls. You can also put on a carpet, tiles or solid oak flooring, the possibilities are endless.

  • Position your furniture in your rooms. Don’t hesitate to try different arrangements and combinations and add decorative stuffs without cluttering the space.

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