7 Smart Design Tips to Make Your Dream Home Achievable
What comes to mind when you imagine your dream home?
Is it a beach house with a gorgeous view of the sea? A spacious country cottage with an edible garden? Or do you see an energy-efficient home with underfloor heating, rainwater harvesting, a solar energy system, the whole nine yards?
Everyone’s idea of a dream home differs. What we look for in a home reflects our personal values and lifestyle choices, and however farfetched the dream seems, there’s always a way to achieve it.
We just have to keep an open mind and focus on the big picture. What are the must-haves versus the nice-to-haves? Making a list of the key features you want in your dream home will not only help with your planning and budgeting, but it will also give you focus and clarity.
So what exactly is smart design? As a concept, smart design focuses on resourcefulness and efficiency with the goal of creating long-term value as opposed to short-term visual aesthetics.
Here are 7 smart design tips to make your dream home more achievable:
1. Prioritise Your Needs
It’s all about priorities. Unless you’ve recently hit the jackpot, you should probably get real about what you absolutely need in your dream home and what you can live without.
It’s always nice to have tons of space and high ceilings, but how does that add value to your life? Don’t forget that more space and higher ceilings also lead to higher maintenance and more energy for heating and lighting.
It’s not so much the amount of space you have but what you do with it that matters. Rather than fixed single-use layouts, muli-purpose designs and open-plan layouts offer flexibility while adding long-term efficiency.
2. Minimise Wasted Space
Despite Ireland’s low population density and large ratio of houses, Irish homes are reportedly the smallest of the EU’s rich countries. According to Finfacts, “Ireland has an average floor space of 81 square metres compared with 115 in Denmark, 124 in Belgium and 107 in the Netherlands. The EU 28 average was 95.”
Bearing this in mind, perhaps the smart approach would be to implement creative space-saving design ideas and furniture.
Rather than take up space with bulky cupboards, opt for wall-mounted organisers and slim profile shelving. To avoid bumping into sharp table corners, go for round or oval tables—they save space and are easier to navigate around. Make sure to incorporate hidden storage wherever possible; that will save floorspace without sacrificing storage capacity.
3. Hire an Experienced and Trustworthy Contractor
Get professional advice from a trustworthy, seasoned expert who knows the ins and outs of the building industry. They’ll know where to get quality materials at the best prices and be able to guide you on design options and decisions best suited for your needs and budget.
4. Incorporate Clever & Innovative Products
Who doesn’t love a truly innovative product? If you could have something that doubles as something else with little added effort, wouldn’t that give you much more value and satisfaction?
As an example, instead of traditional fixed window panes, we now have the incredible option of a window that transforms into a balcony instantly, thanks to the VELUX CABRIO® roof window.
Not only does it let in natural daylight and fresh air, but it also gives you an automatic balcony space to sit and enjoy your coffee while basking in the warm sun. The best part is, you can use it as a traditional roof window on its own or as a balcony—the choice is yours.
5. Design Around the Furniture
It makes sense to design the layout of a space with the furniture in mind.
Mapping out the ideal location of the essential bits of furniture such as the fridge, kitchen island and dining table, living room couches, beds, and desks, will allow the designer to plan the required renovation or construction much more efficiently and resourcefully.
6. Versatile & Efficient Design
By focusing on flexibility and efficiency in your construction or renovation design—both in space and energy consumption—you’re ensuring easy modifications and lower maintenance in the future, paving the way for long-term savings and more bang for your buck.
It might be worth taking inspiration from the tiny homes revolution. As described by SelfBuild Ireland, though compact in size, these mini houses are insulated to near zero energy standards, have LED lighting and double-glazing, and cost virtually nothing to heat. They’re in no sense temporary or ‘shed-like’, being designed to last a lifetime.
They might be unconventional, but tiny homes make sense for people who want more freedom and don’t want to be burdened with massive debts. They’re also a practical solution for a mobile lifestyle and a sustainable future. Find out more about getting a tiny home built in Ireland.
7. Keep an Eye on the 3D Printing Space
3D printing technology—initially meant for product prototyping purposes—has emerged as a game-changer in a growing number of industries. In fact, one might wonder if there’s anything that can’t be 3D-printed? Cars, food, office buildings, houses, furniture, prosthetics, the list is endless.
While 3D-printed houses and furniture are not yet commercially available, it’s interesting to note the impressive developments thus far.
Examples include the Office of the Future by the Dubai Future Foundation in 2016: a fully functioning 2,700-square-foot office building built by a large 3D printer in just 17 days, and more recently in 2020, kamp C became the first company in the world to 3D-print a two-story house in a single block in Westerlo, Belgium.
There’s also rapid adoption of the technology among furniture design firms that is revolutionising the design and manufacturing process. A notable example would be the One Shot stool by Patrick Jouin: a 3D-printed piece that folds up to save space when not in use and elegantly fans out when an extra seat is needed.
It will be interesting to see how the technology shapes the construction and furniture design market for consumers in the near future.
Getting your dream house might be more achievable and affordable than you think. It all boils down to priorities and approaching it the smart way. It’s not what you have, but what you do with it that matters!