Our living spaces are a reflection of our personalities and lifestyles—at least, this is what they should be. However, it’s hard to find a home that already fulfils all your wishes as it is. While the renovation is always an option, there is hardly a better way to create your ultimate dream home than by designing it yourself.
Now, you’re probably not a designer, and this might make you wonder whether you can pull this off. The answer is yes, but there are a few things to keep in mind. Designing a home from scratch is a lot of work, and you’re not going to do everything all by yourself. The key to success is thus plenty of planning and effective collaboration. If you’ve already got a plot of land ready to become the site of your dream home, here are a few tips that will help you get there without breaking the bank!
Start with budgeting
Your dream home will become a nightmare if you fail to budget and end up going overboard. Therefore, the first important step will be figuring out how much money you can spend. Look into construction mortgages, research the costs of construction in your area, contact professionals and ask for quotes. Remember that construction fees are far from everything: you will also need to calculate architect fees, permit fees, inspection fees, and a slew of others. Don’t move on before this step as your budget will affect all the subsequent ones.
Hit the right size
Bigger is not always better, and this is especially true for houses. A bigger home is not only more expensive to build; it will also be more expensive to maintain in the long term, not to mention its ecological footprint. You don’t want to become house poor with your dream home so try to find a balance. Do the math to find out the appropriate size for the size of your family. Keep the size of your plot in mind as well.
Consider your needs
The next step is considering what you want your home to include. That is where you can truly tailor everything to your needs. As said, a perfect home is not necessarily one that is big, but one that reflects your and your family’s lifestyle. For instance, if you are a social bunch who have friends and relatives over every weekend, thinking ahead and planning for a spacious living room is the way to go. If you work from home, including a home office in a quiet corner of the house is going to make a big difference. Are you planning to expand your family? An extra room will certainly help out in the future. Create a list of things you need and things that would be nice to have, and you’ll be able to communicate with professionals with ease.
Find a ready-made plan
You can save a lot of time and money if you find a ready-made plan instead of starting from absolute zero. There are countless house plans you can browse, so you will likely find something that fits you. In addition, stock house plans are also customizable most of the time. It will be much cheaper to customize a plan than to hire an architect, so going this route is recommended if your budget is on the tighter side.
Look for inspiration
Once you know the layout of your future home, the fun part of designing can begin. You can start planning the interiors, with or without the help of professional interior designers. The internet provides many resources: there are countless apps where you can look for ideas and create collections and inspiration boards. In some apps, you can create life-like interiors to visualize everything before you purchase any supplies. It’s also a good idea to start acquiring what you can so the construction won’t be delayed in any way when it gets to it, especially if you have special preferences, such as a modern shower cabin or the highest-quality bidets. It’s a good idea to plan the interiors before the construction is all done so that no expensive changes need to be made afterwards.
Work with professionals
Finally, as we said, the key to a successful project is effective collaboration. Whether you decided to pick a house plan or you’re going from scratch, it is time to contact professionals. If you’ve decided to employ architects to draw the plans for you, be sure to communicate your vision. Drawing on paper may not be enough; you can also use home design software. Then, the next key step is finding reliable housebuilders. Don’t settle for the first company, but consult with several before making a decision. Look at reviews and talk to people who have worked with them to get an impression of their quality of service. You don’t want this job to drag on endlessly.
Designing your own home from scratch is certainly a lot more work than going for something pre-made. However, nothing will be more satisfying than occupying a space that is 100% tailored to your preferences. Plan well, and it should work out—good luck!
Alison Pearson is an interior design student. She is a writer and designer, and her ultimate passion is art and architecture. She is also a bibliophile and her favourite book is "The Sound and the Fury" by William Faulkner.