Are you building a house but overwhelmed by the choice on offer? Design blogs and Pinterest are valuable sources of information but after you’ve gotten a few ideas, step out and visit some display villages and open houses. It’s great to see ideas like décor and finishes in action so visit a mix of established homes and display homes that are for sale. By getting a feel for a variety of spaces, you can begin to compare different design concepts (or lack thereof), different fixtures and use of colors.

sky lights Image by Pixabay

A primary aspect to look out for blocks orientation, so aim to visit homes that have a house facing a similar direction to what you intend to build – this can play a large role in the use of natural light. Take note of light wells, skylights and other things that have been built in to suit the specific orientation. On this note, investigate how these homes regulate their thermal mass. Air-conditioning and artificial heating may be on your wish list, but you can improve passive solar design beyond the minimum standards at the design stage so you rely less on electricity to regulate temperatures. Whether it is keeping a home warm in a cold, snowy winter or allowing for adequate fresh air circulation in summer, you want to be able to get into the bed of an evening without blasting the ducted or split systems.

handy space Image by Pixabay

Another thing to take note of is storage options including utility rooms such as broom closets, wet rooms, wardrobes, laundries, and even butler’s pantries. Your new home may not necessarily have all of these features, but knowing what they can offer and seeing them in the flesh is a good way to begin assessing your needs in a new home. A busy, outdoor family, for example, may benefit from a wet room with access to the front or rear outdoor area to ensure that dirt and sporting equipment need not be carted through the house. Another handy space to think about is called a command center. Unless you don’t mind having a hall or entry table that becomes a little bit of a dumping ground, having a space dedicated to miscellaneous items that accrue during the week is very useful. Ideally find a set time each week where random paperwork and odd bits and pieces will be sorted through, addressed, or disposed of.

Established small homesImage by Pixabay

While display homes can lack in the décor department, you can still get a sense of paint and room configuration from even the most minimalist or generic designs. Established homes, however, is where you really see diversity in styling. Take note whether certain rooms stand alone or if they all blend with the rest of the home. Neither is right or wrong, but knowing your preference will save you money when it comes to styling your own space. Perhaps color accents are used throughout the house or even certain fixtures like door handles or types of shelving. Happy designing!