Friday, 24 May 2013

Identify The Design Flaws In Your House

Home design is a very personal subject. What may seem ugly and ridiculous to one person may be the ideal home of another. In terms of esthetics, there is no clear cut dividing line between what is good and what is bad. But beyond looks, a home must be a comfortable place for the family to live. And for this there are some basic principles that are universally applicable. Check your home out against the common home design flaws listed below and see if they apply to you. If so, consider how much they have a negative impact on the way you live and plan to have them corrected when you remodel your home.

1. Not Planning For The Future. When planning a home it is easy to focus on the immediate family needs. But a home is an investment that will be used for many years and the family will change during that time. The family size may increase and people's interests and the space they need will change. If the home you live in now is not as comfortable as it was years ago, it could be that you did not design for the future.

2. Cutting Corners On Materials. Most homes are built on a budget and it is rarely big enough to cover everything the family wants in their home. In these circumstances it can be tempting to try and cut costs by using low grade dry wall, having an overly thin concrete floor or cutting back on the quality of the woodwork. These may save you a few dollars initially which you can use to add some extra design features, but the low material quality will come back to bite you very soon and can take the fun out of living in your home.

3. Unbalanced Storage. Every home needs storage and as time passes and possession accumulate, storage needs tend to grow. Underestimating a family's long term storage needs can lead to a home that is a mess with all kinds of unwanted things lying around. On the other hand providing for too much storage space can waste living area that could be otherwise better utilized.

4. Air Quality. A home that is too open with a large number of big doors and windows or open areas can be a security hazard as unauthorized entry becomes easy. But proper air circulation and ventilation is necessary to make the house a healthy place to live in. Not finding the right balance between esthetics, security consideration and adequate ventilation is a common design flaw that many homes suffer from.

5. Inadequate Natural Light. No amount of artificial lighting can ever replace the bright cheerfulness of natural sunlight. Besides this, sunlight is good for the health and is also a disinfectant that helps to keep places exposed to it germ free. Many homeowners when designing their homes, forget about the importance of natural light and the result is not only a gloomy home but one where the utility costs are very high because of the over use of electricity for lighting.

6. Multi-Use Rooms. There are some parts of the house that serve more than one purpose. A typical example of this is the kitchen. Food is, of course, prepared here. But a normal kitchen is also used to offer neighbors who drop in a cup of coffee, to hold family meetings, for the kids to do their homework, for odd jobs to be done and for all kinds of storage. Not keeping all the uses of a room in mind can lead to major design flaws that limit the comfort and utility of the home.

Take an objective look at your home. What are the design flaws that need to be fixed?

Friday, 10 May 2013

Innovative Space Saving Tips for Small Kitchens

Small, easy to maintain and energy efficient homes are going to be the trend of the future. With proper planning a small home can be as comfortable as a large one and never give the feeling of being cramped. But the most difficult place to maximize the use of space is usually the kitchen because of the type of work that is done there, the appliances that take up so much space and the need to have adequate space for people to move. A small cramped kitchen can be an uncomfortable place to be in; also the food that comes out of it is rarely as good as it should be. Here are a few tips to save space in the kitchen and make it a more comfortable place to spend time in.
  • Remove a Wall. Do you need your kitchen to be cut off from the rest of the home? Removing a wall will open up the kitchen and also allow you to be close to your family and guests while you are working there.
  • Put in a large single bowl sink. A big single bowl sin will appear to be larger than it really is but will take up less space than a double bowl one. And in terms of practicality, is having two small bowls a real advantage over having one big bowl?
  • Use sliding shelves. Blind corner cabinets on the inside corners are accessible from only one door and that too is usually awkwardly placed. Because of the difficulty of putting in and taking out things from here, many people stop using them and lose a lot of space. Using sliding or rotating shelves in these cabinets can make access very easy and open up a lot of previously wasted storage space.
  • What about a shallow depth refrigerator? A normal cabinet depth refrigerator will project about 8 inches in front of your cabinets. This not only occupies floor area, it can cause movement to become restricted. A shallow depth refrigerator that will be flush with the cabinets will make the kitchen seem much more open and could even offer you a few storage options on the opposite wall because of the new openness. Alternatively you can consider recessing a standard refrigerator into the wall stud. This could save you about 4 inches of floor space.
  • Use Roll Outs. Floor level or base cabinets are a pain to use because you have to get on your knees to access things at the back. Cabinets with roll outs allow for easy access to all the storage space in the cabinets.
  • Save counter space. Counter space is a very valuable commodity in a kitchen and anything that can be done to free it up is always a good idea. One way of doing this is by moving the microwave off the counter and mounting it in a wall. This will both free up usable space and also give the kitchen a more open look.
  • A cart instead of a kitchen island. Everyone would like a kitchen island – it is very practical and allows for work to be done in comfort. But if your kitchen is too small for an island, you could consider using a rolling kitchen cart in its place. You can push it to the side when it is not needed and roll it to the center of the kitchen when you need it for working on. It may not fully replace the island, but it is the next best thing.
  • Brighten up the lighting. Dark corners and shadowy areas can make a kitchen that is already small look even more cramped and gloomy. And the better the lighting the easier it is to work in the kitchen. Under cabinet lights and a few well place spotlights can add a touch of lightness and warmth to the kitchen that goes a long way in disguising how small it really is.