Design and layout of a new house or renovation is critical to achieving a well functioning, aesthetically pleasing home. Model homes and builder sales centres are chalked full of state of the art features and technology that are bound to entice a potential new home buyer. The vast selection of styles and designs available is truly remarkable and sifting through the possible options is both an exciting and arduous task. A designer will help you navigate your way through the process and is a great investment to ensure the final product is just what you want.

Square footage is not necessarily an accurate gauge of the actual useable space in a home. Today’s design trends tend to lean towards less square footage but more efficient use of available space. Spaciousness can also be a matter of perception. High ceilings and large windows can create the illusion of roominess without adding square footage.

When it comes to functional design, what works for one family may not work for another. Families with children will require something different than empty nesters. If you work from your home you may want to consider locating your work space in a quieter area of your home. If you have frequent out of town visitors a designated guest area may be something you would like to incorporate into your design.

As a family grows and changes, so does the way they use the space in their home. A flexible layout will allow for future changes or modifications when for example, children reach the age where they move out of the family home. Another important design element is the traffic flow within your home. Consider the ease with which you can get groceries from the car to the kitchen, the location of a dedicated entrance to the home where your family can remove boots and jackets to avoid clutter and dirt from being tracked through the home or a rear door where the family dog can be let out.

The popular open concept design is a more efficient use of available space and usually integrates the kitchen, dining and living areas into a single “great room”, creating an environment where there is more interaction between family members. Gone are the days where the kitchen, dining and living rooms were separate spaces. Although very popular, the open concept design is not without its challenges. Wall area is at a premium so hanging art and placement of furniture must be well thought out. Different living spaces can be defined through the use of ceiling bulkheads, placement of furniture or flooring variations. Creative use of lighting can also help define space without taking away from the overall sense of open space.

Another design element that creates a bright spacious feeling is by maximizing the amount of natural light in your home. More energy efficient doors and windows have made natural light a viable design feature in today’s homes.

To eliminate clutter and keep your home tidy storage areas are essential. Closets in bedrooms and at entrances are commonly incorporated into every home. Built in entertainment units, mudroom and laundry room cabinets all keep clutter behind closed doors. Basement or garage shelving is also useful in keeping a home neat and tidy.

All of these design elements are applicable to both new home construction and renovation. Many renovations projects are undertaken to not only modernize a home but to increase its functionality and complement and enhance your lifestyle.

A well thought out design is essential and will pay dividends and create a home you can enjoy for many years to come.

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