Remembering the Little Things When Designing Your New Melbourne Home
There is a lot to think about when you are designing and building a custom home. From the number of bedrooms and bathrooms to the overall layout and flow, there are plenty of big decisions to make. While these might be the most fun (and easiest!) elements to focus on, the smaller details matter just as much.
In fact, it is these little touches that will ultimately determine the liveability of your new home. They are the things that you will notice and use every day. They are also things most new homeowners complain about and wish they had given more thought.
Working with an experienced designer or architect should help with planning these details. However, you should not solely rely on this, as different features matter more to different people. As such, it is worth spending some time thinking about the finer elements of your design that will make the place feel more like home.
Here is a selection of the little things we recommend you think about when planning your new home.
Your lighting plan
While this one seems pretty obvious, many homeowners do not fully think through the positioning of their lighting. Often, they fall back on standardised lighting plans or a template approach to the number and placement of their lights. This usually leads to areas being either under- or over-lit.
When creating your lighting plan, it is important to consider what each room will be used for. Some spaces, like the kitchen and the bathroom, will require more light, focused on specific areas. Others, like the dining area and bedrooms, are more suited to lower lighting, dispersed evenly through the space.
Once you know how much light is needed in a space, you can plan how best to meet that requirement. Generally speaking, having multiple light sources is best, as it will allow you to layer the light. In addition to giving you greater control over light levels, this can also make the space feel warmer and more comfortable.
With that in mind, the best lighting plans use a combination of downlights, feature lights, and floor lights. They also take the overall lighting effect into account from the start, even if some components are not chosen until later. This helps make the lighting design feel complete and more considered.
Here are a few other tips to bear in mind when planning your lighting:
Use minimal ceiling lighting: While many homes feature ceilings crowded with downlights, this is unnecessary and limits your options. It also suggests little thought has been given to how each space will be used. Instead, change it up with a combination of pendants, sconces, low wall lighting, lamps, and in-floor lighting.
Avoid lighting trends: While you may think under-lighting your kitchen cabinetry looks great now, such trends tend to come and go. As such, it is best to avoid them and stick to more traditional choices. When done well, these can be just as beautiful and will not age as quickly.
Put everything on a dimmer: Dimmers are great if you want to be able to easily control the level of light in a room. This is particularly important if you use a space for more than one purpose. For example, you can have your dining area nice and bright while your kids do their homework at the table, then turn the lights down for more atmosphere during dinnertime.
Automate where appropriate: Lighting is one of the leading areas for home automation – and for good reason. Whether you use sensors or set up voice control, automating your lighting adds an extra level of control and convenience. However, this will add extra cost, so carefully consider which lights would actually benefit from being automated.
Your power point placement
When it comes to power points, many people adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach. However, this is not always practical.
For example, in living spaces, placing power points so they will be hidden by furniture (e.g. a sideboard or lounge) can look cleaner. This works well for things like lamps, which will be left plugged in and rarely moved. However, if you need to charge your phone or laptop, these sockets will be very difficult to access.
Similarly, in the bathroom, it is quite common for power points to be placed inside a cupboard behind the mirror. However, this makes it hard to use a hair dryer or straightener, as the cupboard needs to be open for it to be plugged in.
With this in mind, you should take some time to consider where you need power points and how you will use them. If a socket is likely to have things permanently plugged into it, planning to hide it with furniture may work. But if you are likely to be plugging things into it regularly, having easier access could be better.
You should also make sure that you have sufficient power points for how the space will be used. For example, the average double bedroom should have a minimum of two double sockets – one on either side of the bed. This allows for two bedside lamps and spare sockets on either side (for charging phones, alarm clocks, etc.).
Your kitchen storage
Traditionally, kitchens are a space dominated by cupboards. Usually, there would be one set of drawers (for cutlery, etc.), but the rest of the storage would be cupboards. However, this is changing.
These days, drawers are seen as the superior storage option, particularly for anything below waist height. This is because the pull-out design of a drawer allows easier access and helps minimise wasted space. As such, many people believe they can help improve the overall functionality and usability of a kitchen.
This is particularly true around the cooktop, where drawers can be used for storing heavier equipment, like saucepans and frypans. These items can then be lifted straight up and placed onto the cooking surface with minimum effort.
All that being said, for anything overhead, a drawer would be completely impractical. Drawers also have a tendency to make more compact spaces look even smaller. So, cupboards definitely still have their place in the kitchen.
With this in mind, you should consider your kitchen’s design and choose the most suitable combination of drawers and cupboards. Whatever you end up going with, you should also make sure all the hinges are soft close. This will help protect your cabinetry from damage – and your sanity from the stress of many slammed doors!
Also, consider how you will manage your kitchen waste and try to build at least part of this into your cabinetry. In Melbourne, you will need to separate this into multiple categories (recyclables, green waste, general waste, etc.), so it is best to design your system accordingly.
Your landscaping maintenance
Landscaping can really help bring your new home design to life. But keeping your landscaping alive can take a lot of work. This is where a good irrigation system can make a massive difference.
However, like most things mentioned in this article, an irrigation system needs to be planned ahead of time. Putting your irrigation system in before your lawns are laid and plants are planted will minimise the need to dig things up. As such, it is much easier to install it before you have completed your landscaping.
Complementing this, you should also plan to have taps located around your outdoor area. This will make any hand watering you need to do much easier
Need help working through the little details?
As one of Melbourne’s leading custom home designers, we at Carmel Homes know that the details matter. We have significant experience helping homeowners plan their dream home and understand the little decisions that make a difference. For more information about this or to discuss your new home design, contact us to set up your free design consultation.