Designing and building your very own home is a fun and exciting process. It allows you to create according to your imagination and turn your dream home into reality. The design process is one of them most important factors when building a new home and occurs well before any bricks and mortar take shape on the ground.
Figuring out how to make sure you have thought of everything from building materials, appliances and furnishings through to the size and placement of rooms, windows and doors can be a tricky process without the right advice. Thinking about building a new house this year and want to make sure you’ve got all the best design features covered? First take a look at our top 6 design ideas for your new build, then tick off the basics with our design checklist below.
Top 6 Design Ideas When Building New
The design process for building your new house is going to be different for everyone. We all have different needs, desires and budgets. Need some inspiration on what to add and what to avoid when designing that dream home? Take a look below for our best 6 design ideas to incorporate into your design process.
1. Contemporary Design Features
Contemporary design is a sure way to make your new home have a timeless feel to it, this design concept has become popular over the last decade or so particularly with first time home builders. Contemporary design in its basic form usually means the home is made up of simple, clean, smooth surfaces without clutter or intricacies. It’s sophisticated and comfortable, giving a lived in but fresh feel.
The concept is based around blending your fixtures and fittings, furnishings and decorations seamlessly for a neat, clean look. Common elements that make up most contemporary design will include subtle lighting, neutral colours, textures and metallic accents.
Neutral colours are a key ingredient in contemporary design. Walls are generally painted in neutral shades such as cream, light brown, light grey, taupe or white. Sometimes modern bright feature walls are used to add interest.
Furniture usually sticks to the neutral colour scheme although it is a good idea to add colour in some of your furnishings and accessories. Throws, pillows and artwork can quickly liven up the room along with random feature pieces of bright furniture. Remember to keep the look neat and uncluttered to keep the sophisticated feel. Avoid boxy looking furniture and large pieces that don’t fit the room.
Adding metal accents in the finishing’s enhances contemporary design. Using stainless steel appliances in your bathroom and kitchen is an easy and inexpensive way. Or think about stainless steel benchtops, tap wear and even light switches.
Using copper accent pieces is also a great way to add metallics, think tap wear, chairs, door handles as they are on trend and easy to find. Choose these pieces carefully to complement the room while keeping the look simple and clean.
Textures And Wood Tones
Adding in textures is another great way to personalise your new contemporary home. Using fabrics such as linen, wool and silk will ensure you get the desired contemporary feel. These materials can be found in furniture pieces, rugs and pillows. Try to keep bold single colour fabrics or geometric patterns on a limited scale. Big, bold and elaborate patterns can look too busy and take away from the design.
When adding wood elements into your design, choose either very dark or very light tones. There are many types of woods with different stains and finishes available. These can be incorporated into many things from your flooring, walls and doors, to shelving, furniture, even accessories and frames. Keep the tones the same in each room to enhance the simple, effortless look.
Lighting is important in contemporary design, it is used to highlight some spaces and create mood lighting in others. Choosing the correct fixtures in each room is very important. Look at pendant lighting, floor lamps and recessed lights. There are many types to choose from, so go for options that match the ambiance of each room.
2. New House Design For A Growing Family
When you are planning for a family (or have one already) it is important to incorporate your changing needs into the design of your new home. How many children do you plan to have? Do you want a separate playroom? Do they need their own bathroom? And other considerations such as connectivity, heating, lighting and even internet requirements for devices need to be considered.
Ensuring the home accommodates the whole family and their needs both in the present and in the future is the goal when designing for families. Here are a few ideas you can use to keep your family life harmonious.
Think Big On The Backyard
Having a decent size garden area for children to play in and enjoy is always a good idea. It’s good to have outdoor space for basic sports such as kicking a ball around and other family activities. This may include semi-educational areas such as a vege garden for the kids or a spa pool for Mum and Dad.
Don’t Forget Quiet Time
Having some quiet spaces built into your home away from the hustle and bustle of the general living is particularly important with young children. A closed off area such as a study or office doubles as a good homework area and workspace, as well as a space just for general quiet time. Whereas a dedicated playroom is useful for allowing children to make noise and get messy in a way that doesn’t disturb the rest of the household.
Storage Storage Storage!
Children mean you’ll need lots of additional storage space. You need space for games, books and toys as well as clothing and shoes. Incorporating storage into most rooms is essential. You may need to think outside the box on this one – under stairs, in the roof, recessed into walls etc are all great places to start.
The Kitchen Is The Heart Of The Home
Incorporating a user (and child) friendly kitchen into your new house design is a must. Pay particular attention to movement in this area, you need to allow for multiple people to move around easily with good access to popular common areas like the fridge, cups and glasses and snack cupboard! Open plan kitchen dining is also the best option so you can keep an eye on the kids while they are (supposed to be) eating.
Everything Must Be Easy-Clean!
Perhaps the number one mistake that many parents make when building a new home is forgetting that children will make a mess wherever they go. Always look at easy to clean finishing elements such as tiles, vinyl flooring and wood. These are much easier to clean than carpets particularly in high traffic places like the dining area. Counter tops and cupboards should be easily wipe-able and stain resistant – this goes for walls too! Bathrooms should be well designed to avoid built-up water damage and with excellent ventilation.
3. How To Choose The Right Tiles For Your Home
Tiles are one of the most common finishing materials found in some way shape or form in most homes across New Zealand. They are used for flooring, splashbacks in the kitchen and bathrooms, as fire hearths and in some areas as a feature inlay.
Gone are the days where your choice of tiles was restricted to one size and basic colours – these days the selection of colours, designs and sizes is huge. With so many to pick from it can be tricky knowing exactly what to look for, so we asked Heather Cayford from Naturally Tiles her advice, see what she had to say below.
3 Rules To Live By When Choosing Tiles
Many people in the market for tiles today, whether building new or renovating, are becoming more astute and knowledgeable about the product and their options. No longer are they accepting the mediocre, they are looking for individual looks relevant to their lifestyle and vision. There are however a few rules that still need to be adhered to for a successful venture into choosing the right tiles – there are a few common mistakes that are still often made.
1. Always Consider Your Space Before Picking The Size Of Tile
The catch phrase “big is better” does not always apply to tiles. Today there is a definite preference for larger tile formats and for large living spaces they are a great option. However, they can be a challenge to make work in bathrooms and smaller areas.
For example trying to make a 600 x 600 work in a 900 square shower space will leave a half cut tile and thus loose impact of using large format. Optically this makes the space look smaller as the eye sees just one and a half tiles.
The rule of thumb is if you can’t get three full tiles across the floor space the tile is too big, and five full tiles is optimum. This applies to wall and other areas as well.
2. Take Care With The Finish Of The Tile
Look for a finish that is appropriate to usage of the space. Non slip or grip tiles should only be used externally unless required for commercial or disability requirements. There is a misconception that non-slip is to be used in domestic wet areas but anyone who has done this will know what a nightmare they are to clean. A natural or matt finish in wet areas is preferable.
That brings us to the two finish options for tiles which are usually natural/matt and polished. Some prefer the opulent look of the polished porcelain and are prepared to accommodate the potential slip factor. It does pay to note the production of polished porcelains has improved immensely over recent years so the polished tile surfaces are not as slippery as old so don’t necessarily rule it out purely based on the ‘slip’ reason.
However, the polished finish in wet areas can be high maintenance mirroring every water mark. While easy to wipe and remove, if this marking annoys you perhaps the matt option may be the one for you – the choice is yours you are the one cleaning it every day!
As a quick side note; it does pays to check with your supplier that the tiles have been sealed at factory production, otherwise there will be ongoing maintenance issues (not to mention increased cleaning difficulties).
3. Choose Your Tiler Carefully
Choose your tiler carefully just as you would your builder. Get a recommendation off your tile supplier and also ask to see some work previously done. It is crucial to get a quality tiler as even the most expensive tiles can look rubbish if not laid correctly.
Unfortunately there are some cowboy tilers out there and it’s not as easy to lay the new high quality porcelains, a tiler needs to have high quality gear and skills to match.
Thanks Heather – some really great tips to remember when looking for tiles!
4. Indoor Outdoor Flow – 8 Top Tips
Indoor outdoor flow is a great way to improve your home’s potential. When you live in a place like New Zealand with a favourable climate, creating a good outdoor indoor flow can be a very important aspect of new home design. Read on for our 8 top tips on improving the indoor/outdoor flow as well as your property overall.
1. Add A Deck
One of the easiest ways of starting the indoor/outdoor process is by adding a deck. A deck or patio area seamlessly joins home and garden. They’re great for barbeques, entertainment or just to enjoy a summer breeze. You can also look at changing room layouts and bringing your eating and living areas closer to the windows or sliding doors.
2. Enlarge Windows
The illusion of no walls is a perfect way to blur the boundaries between outdoors and indoors. Large windows and sliding doors that open up to the garden create a wonderful transition without too much of an effort. Plus they let in loads of extra light and natural warmth from the sun if positioned well.
3. Consider Colours
Colour is very important when linking indoors and outdoors. Add green in various shades as well as other natural colours into your décor as an easy way to bring the outdoors in and create a connection to the outdoors. You can also look at adding botanical prints into wallpaper, cushions, or other furniture and accessories.
4. Bring The Outside In – Literally!
Live plants added to the mix in your interior décor are also very effective – literally bringing the outdoors in. Think plants that specifically link up to those in your garden, having the same or similar plants indoors that you have outside joins your spaces up well.
5. Find Fun Furniture
The furniture you choose also goes a long way towards improving your indoor outdoor flow. Using indoor furniture outdoors and vice versa brings the two spaces together. Woven furniture such as wicker is sun proof and moisture proof. It will keep both indoor and outdoor spaces looking modern with minimal maintenance needed.
6. Choose Versatile Flooring
Choosing versatile flooring that can be used for interior and exterior spaces such as wooden flooring or tiles can seamlessly integrate the interior and exterior spaces. Choose a colour and style to match and enhance your indoors and improve the look of your property.
7. Get Some Heat Going
Providing an outdoor fireplace or heating creates a wonderful welcoming exterior entertainment and living area. The warmth is inviting and creates a central area for entertaining offering a much larger space. Integrating the ability to cook outdoors is also a great idea.
8. Light It Up
Great lighting is not just for indoor use anymore. Outdoor lighting improves security, the mood of your exterior spaces making it an integral part of new home design. Using lighting correctly, you can change your exterior landscape into something magical. Using shadows and reflections, you can draw attention to aspects of your garden and deck.
5. New House? – 3 Ways To Improve Energy Efficiency
Building new is the best (and easiest) time to incorporate energy efficiency into the home. One popular aspect of energy efficiency is the ongoing cost savings but it’s family and environmental health that really drives this process.
There are many ways to keep energy consumption low in your new home, some of this technology used to be very expensive, but prices have dropped as it improves and becomes more common. This means today you can build a better energy efficient home for less.
1. Make The Most Of The Sun
The positioning or orientation of the home when it is built is a big factor in making the most of the natural sunlight and warmth. When designing your home remember to factor in maximising north facing windows, reducing exposure to cold southerly winds, trapping the heat of the afternoon sun and making the most of early morning sun in areas such as the kitchen and living area.
Technology utilising the sun’s energy such as solar panels are also worth considering depending on the situation. While some have a high cost initially, they are not as expensive as they used to be and the technology has improved.
2. Go Big On Insulation
Keeping your home warm and toasty without a big energy bill relies heavily on good insulation. If you insulate correctly then your house stays cooler in summer and warmer in winter. So, there’s less need for air-conditioning and lower overall heating costs. Make sure that your home is insulated from the foundations to the roof – including walls, floors, and ceilings.
Most insulation carries an official ‘R’ rating this indicates how effective the insulation is and also provides a standard by which insulation is measured for the Building Code regulations. Feel free to think of this as a bottom line and go for better quality where possible. If your home is well insulated, you won’t lose as much heat.
3. Double Your Glazing
Make sure your windows are double glazed (or triple) for better heat retention – think of it as insulating your windows. Placing larger windows on the side that gets the most sun for free heating and light is also best. Make sure the frames have a thermal break and use thermal curtains during winter to reduce heat loss.
A more comfortable and drier home can be helped with windows and skylights that open to let in a breeze. Positioning these correctly so that your whole home has fresh air flow is important. Installing home ventilation systems is also a great way to ensure a drier healthier home and is much easier to incorporate during the design phase.
6. Top 4 Tips To Building A Pet Friendly Home
Incorporating pet friendly aspects into your new home design is important step to creating a space where everyone can co-exist in harmony. Being a nation full of pet owners, research shows that over half of all New Zealand homes have at least one cat or dog.
Considering that more than half of homeowners or renters own a pet, you can really benefit from these valuable tips. They’ll make your home pet friendly and safe – all without having to sacrifice your style and comfort.
1. Choose The Right Flooring
Whether you have cats or dogs or something else it’s always good to go for hard-surface flooring. Try to avoid very porous materials like marble and other natural stones because they can be easily stained though. Vinyl is always good and easily replaceable; tiles work too – if avoiding carpeting altogether is out of the question, then think about low pile rather than the regular type. It’s much easier to clean in case of an accident and won’t have as much odour.
2. Carry Out A Hypothetical All-Fours Inspection
Try putting yourself in your pets ‘shoes’ and get a general sense of possible hazards when designing your home. Take note of any dangerous areas that your pet could access from jumping or climbing. Think about the placement of stairs, doors, windows and entrances as well as areas that might be a no-pet zone and how you can provide dividers to separate these areas.
3. Think About Access To Food
Consider the efficient separation of areas where food is stored and prepared. Get rid of any potential “ladders” that your pets can use to reach medications or human foods. Some foods can be dangerous because of a choking hazard, or even be poisonous to our pets.
4. Make Cleaning Easier
Any pet owner will know that cleaning up after your pet is a big part of having our fury friends around the home. Designing a new home is the perfect opportunity to incorporate design features that will make this job easier over the long term.
House Design Checklist
As you work through the design process it is important to keep the following in mind.
- Build To The Section. Consider all the physical and atmospheric attributes of your section, always build to suit the section not the other way around. For example; its landform, soil type, size and orientation. These things will all have some effect on the final design.
- Consider The Environment. Design and build in an economic way by re-using and recycling materials. This be more environmentally friendly and also save you money on landfill fees and building costs.
- Orientation. Position the design plan to get the most amount of sunlight in your main living area. Make sure you know of any potential shadows that could be caused by large buildings or trees.
- Outdoor Living. Consider having a waterproof shade for outdoor living.
- Make the Most of the space. Study the site before building the house so you can use the full potential of the section – you can make space for parking or outdoor entertainment.
- Future Proof. Think about any possible future lifestyle changes that could influence your design.
- Legal Requirements. Get in touch with the local council to find out what building guidelines and requirements they have.
Once you’ve come up with a general idea of what you want, then you can decide on how you want the home designed. Just like with most other things, it’s always best that you hire a professional to do this. Although designing or architectural services come with a cost, it means you can utilise their experience, knowledge and creativity. This all helps to make sure you get the best value on your investment.
Build Your Home With Build7
If you’re currently looking to design and build your own home in Christchurch one of the most important decisions you can make is choosing the right building company. Build7 are experienced Canterbury builders who can help you with your new build from start to finish. We offer a free design service and we’re there right from the very first blueprint, to the final part of construction and handover.
At Build7, we have the skills that can make the process of building your new home smooth and hassle free. We’re effective when communicating with our clients, so you constantly get updates about the building process. We can also give you advice on the trickier things such as taxes and insurance. Are you currently finding it difficult to take your ideas and turn them into blueprints? Then let our experienced team of designers help you with your new build, at Build7 we offer free design services with our house and land packages or take a look at our house plans for some inspiration. We can help you simplify the process of building your dream home!
Whether it’s a contemporary design you have in mind, space for the whole family, pet friendly plans or energy efficiency – we’re the Christchurch builders that can bring your new dream home to life. We’ll incorporate family-friendly features so you can enjoy time with your children, while still being able to maintain a home to be proud of – check out our house and land listings here for some inspiration. We can put your ideas together with our expertise, and create a home with perfect indoor outdoor flow, achieve a modern energy efficient home for less and build you the very best pet friendly home – its all up to you!
If you’re in the process of searching for an experienced, trustworthy building company, Build7 Christchurch can help. We have a knowledgeable team that can give you advice on your unique needs. We can help you build your new home in Christchurch the way you’ve always wanted.