Top 5 Design Tips: Turning a House into a Home

When it comes to the look and feel of your home, detail is everything. Whether you go for a DIY home or a designer home, those final touches will be your home's crowning glory. And although a designer home is ready for you to move into straight away, there's still scope for you to add your personal input in terms of interior design, furnishings and the general arrangement of your possessions.

Certainly, if you're going for a custom build then it's never too early to start considering those last details that really make a home. Arranging your furniture and choosing colour schemes may seem like minor touches that can be left until you're ready to move in, but it's generally best to take a holistic approach when you come to design your own home. This means that you should have the final appearance of your property in mind from day one, and that every decision you make along the way should be about achieving that vision right down to the last floral arrangement and wall hanging.

1.      PLAN AHEAD

Once you've seized the opportunity to create your own bespoke home you should take full advantage by really considering how you want it to be. Brainstorm ideas; go on a 'vision quest' by closing your eyes and imagining yourself walking into your dream home. What does it look like? Where is the light coming from? Does it feel calm and relaxing or vibrant and alive? 

Make a note of all the details you're picturing as they occur to you. Draw sketches and collect pictures and photographs that inspire you. Although the first steps in creating your custom build are practical decisions in terms of room placement and so on, these will inevitably impact upon your interior design ideas, which is why it's best to keep these in mind from the beginning.

2.      USE MIRRORS

Mirrors are not just for bathrooms and bedrooms. Sure, they're functional and can be used for checking your appearance, but they're also an incredibly versatile aesthetic feature in their own right. Mirrors effortlessly create the appearance of depth and space, as well as other less obvious but equally pleasing optical illusions. Distorting or fish-eye mirrors can add a touch of the surreal to a nook or alcove. Line up freestanding mirrors, wall mirrors or mirrored tiles with furniture to create interesting lines of reflection.

3.      CONSIDER WINDOW DRESSING

You'll have established the size, positioning and style of your windows in the first stages of your custom build. But how those windows are dressed is equally important, in terms of both function and aesthetics. Curtains are the default choice, but there are many reasons why shutters are better. They can block out light completely when needed, but can be fully opened to let it into the room in full effect as well. They lend themselves equally to a minimalist aesthetic, or can be brightly painted for a livelier, funky feel.

4.   LIGHTING AND CEILING DETAILS

As well as considering natural light, you should think about the sources of interior lighting. Do you want this to be a feature, in the form of stylish lamps, chandeliers or eye-catching light shades? Alternatively, do you want the room lighting to be unobtrusive and the sources hidden away? Light switches as well as fittings can be a distinguishing characteristic of a room, so give these some thought. Finally, the ceiling itself is often the last part of a room you think about designing, but mouldings, cornices and even patterns on the surface can help make your room more distinctive as well as altering your spatial perception.

5.      WORKING THE PERIMETER

Sometimes the biggest effect comes from what is around the edges of a room. Doors for instance are a detail we don't always give a lot of thought to. They are however quite literally the way into a room and are often the first thing we see, so it's worth getting the door you want.

Wall radiators are another practical feature with an aesthetic dimension. You can go slim or chunky, traditional or modern, or you could get rid of them altogether in favour of underfloor heating. Lastly, we often hear that books make a room, but if you're not a great reader then your DVD, CD or record collection can also line up attractively on shelves. Position prints and paintings carefully to take advantage of negative space as well.

FINAL THOUGHTS

Designing your own home is about creating a space that suits your own personality. The most important thing is creating a space that you're going to be comfortable living in, rather than a piece of art that you'd be happier viewing from a distance.

Thankfully, a custom build gives you control over every decision. 

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