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The biggest difference between buying an existing house and building your own is the amount of flexibility the latter gives you. When you buy an existing house, you can renovate but there will always be some things you have to compromise on. However, when you’re building a house from scratch, you can ensure that every aspect is exactly how you pictured it. That said; building a house is not easy. Before you put even a single brick down, you must have your plans ready. Here are a few tips to help you design your home.

List your Needs

It is easy to go overboard when designing a home. However, every feature that you add on will increase your costs. This can have disastrous results for your budget. To keep things in check, begin the process of designing your home by listing your needs. Create a list of essential elements and a second list of things you would like if your budget permits. For example, a garden could be a must have while a fountain could be an optional element.


There is no end to the range of home designs available in magazines and online. Do your research and start filing references that you like. If you like, you can categorize your references according to different rooms. Look for references of the overall a scheme of designs such as the type of house plan, interior style etc. as well as details such as tile references, paint finishes etc. Don’t worry about having too many references; you can always filter them later.

Get Professional Help

There are a number of things you can do yourself but designing a house is not one of them. When you design a house, you have to look at not only how it looks but also the electrical wiring, water pipelines, sewage system etc. If any of these aspects go wrong, fixing them can cost much more than the original cost of hiring a designer. Look through a designer’s portfolio to find one whose overall style matches yours. It is also important to get along with your designer and trust their judgement.

Analyze your Site

Visit the site of your proposed home with your designer to analyze its strengths and weaknesses. This will also show you the opportunities you can take advantage of and the site limitations you will have to keep in mind. Pay attention to things like orientation, views, direction of the breeze, soil type, existing power, water, sewage and other service lines and access to the site.

Discuss Concepts

After an initial site visit, your designer can start drawing up initial concept sketches. Do not expect these to be very detailed. Depending on the terms of your contract with the designer, he or she will create multiple concepts for your new home. Discuss these with your designer and each concept’s merits and demerits. For your final concept, you may fuse together different elements from different concepts. For example, you may like the roof style of one concept and the general floor plan of another.

Design Development

This is the most crucial step of designing your home. Once the concept has been finalized, the designer must draw an accurate floor plan. By choosing to draw floor plans online with Metropix your designer can give you an accurate idea of room sizes, furniture layouts, lighting, ventilation etc. your floor plan will also include details such as window and door sizes, the direction in which they open and close, type of construction system and landscaping around the house. To help you visualize your plan, you could also ask your designer to create a 3 dimensional cardboard model of the floor plan. Take this to your site to see how sunlight will interact with your house.

Fine tune the Details

Now that you have the floor plan of your home, you can start looking at details like the external and internal finishes, paint colours etc. Look into the efficiency of your heating and cooling systems as well as ways to make our home more sustainable. This is often the stage where budgets can be exceeded and you may have to make tradeoffs to maintain it. If there are features you don’t want to lose, you could break your project into stages and leave them for later. For example, maybe that fountain you wanted could wait a few years. Make all your design changes before signing off as any changes you make after this can be expensive.

With the design ready, all that’s left for you to do is get the necessary council approval and start building!