Some design tips on lighting, outdoor spaces & more...
Painting and the use of colours
When you are deciding what colours to use inside and outside your home buy some sample pots first and try different colours in both shady locations and sunny locations. They will look different in each light. Also wait until the paint dries before making a final judgement. Paint tends to be darker after it dries. For more information see the following web pages:
- Picking colours for your home
- Colour wheel selection tool
- Taubmans Paint Your Own Room online tool
- Wattyl's Virtual Painter
- Crockers Paint calculator
- Resene: Colour chart
- Haymes: Online colour centre
Maximise your use of natural light & warmth
Living in the Southern hemisphere it is better if the living areas of your house face towards the North. The extra light will make these spaces more enjoyable to live in and increase your thermal comfort in winter. But to avoid the burning summer sun you should have 90 centimetre window & door overhangs which will provide shade during those hot months and allow maximum penetration of sunlight in the winter. You should also have lower window sills in living areas to allow maximum penetration of sunlight in winter. Finally: whenever possible avoid putting garages or storage spaces on the North side of houses as it will reduce access to sunlight for other areas of the home.
Read our lighting article for more information.
Another related article you may find useful is:
• How to make your home warm and cosy in winter & cool in summer
Balconies, decks & verandahs
Do not put balconies off bedrooms. Balconies off bedrooms are rarely used.
Decks, balconies and porches should never be less than 2 metres wide. They become almost unusable as their width decreases below 2 metres.
Size (and space) matters!
Try to design all spaces in 60cm increments. Most building materials are made in some multiple of this length.
Bedrooms should be a minimum of 3 metres by 3 metres - anything less starts to become uncomfortable and/or unusable.
Have an open plan (common space) area centred around the kitchen. Separate living, dining and cooking areas are a design hold-over from a bygone era where affluent people (i.e. those who lived in more than a one or two bedroom shack) had servants they wished to keep out of sight.
Australia has a wonderful climate and it makes sense to create a spacious outdoor area accessible from a common (open plan) area.
If you can, provide a private/quite area for individuals in the household where they can pursue there own activities and interests. This can include spacious bedrooms or separate studies, dens, alcoves, rumpus rooms, workshops, etc.
Related article: Choosing A Fence For your Home
Home construction tips...
- Use our construction cost estimator to help determine an approximate cost.
- A concrete slab on ground with solid/thick walls internally and externally will give you a warmer house in winter and a cooler house in summer.
- Build the house with a well insulated roof or concrete roof. This is best for energy efficiency.
- Cost effective methods of construction utilise timber wall frames and simply designed timber trusses on brick piers.
- Simply designed trussed roofs are the most economical.
- Start collecting second-hand doors, windows and kitchen cupboards to reduce construction costs.
- Auctions are a great place to source discounted construction materials and PC items such as basins, tubs, tiles, and taps.
- For cost effective timber flooring lay yellow tongue floor sheeting in a stacked bond arrangement. Sand and polish with 3 coats of polyurethane and a maximum percentage of black tint.