How to design a home that suits you
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24th February 2017

Maples Homes approach of involving the buyer in the housebuilding and home design process is such a lovely opportunity. By buying off plan as a first time buyer, or a buyer with a young family, having the chance to mould and shape your home to really suit your life is quite a luxury – something that the larger house builders wouldn’t dream of offering. Bar actually taking on a self-build (which is a huge undertaking and not for the faint hearted) or buying an old house and knocking it into shape (which can be expensive) you really don’t find opportunities like this to put your stamp on your home from day 1….so it’s within your reach to create your perfect home – to be a creator of house envy.

But, how can you capitalise on it? How do you make the most of the options available to you? Having a blank canvas is one thing, but how do you ensure you are setting your home up for your future?

The layout of your home is so important in relation to how you feel within it.It creates the feel of the house, be it social, cosy, practical, functional.

Here are a few tips that might help when you’re considering your options, from Professional Organiser, Kate Ibbotson (A Tidy Mind), who helps clients to create homes they love :-

1. Visualise what you want

Clarify what you want to achieve and think about why this really matters, then visualise it. Really try to imagine the end result in your ideal world. How does the house flow, what does this look like? Use interior magazines and of course Pinterest for inspiration and visualise the outcome – imagine what your ideal home will look like and what impression it will make. Whether the overriding feel is calm, dramatic or colourful will affect the choices you make.

2. Create an authentic home

It’s important your home reflects your real life and needs rather than fantasy ones. For example, if you have kids, you need plenty of storage and need to consider how the layout functions. Do you want to be able to see the kids whilst you cook dinner? Do you need a playroom that can be shut away?
If you have pets do they need a separate space considering? If you entertain regularly then the dining area may be the focal point of the home but if you don’t, you might want to repurpose the space.

3. Work with your natural habits

If you come home and immediately want to kick off your shoes and dump your coat, create homes for these things right by the door with an entrance hall that suits these habits. If you regularly cook and like lots of work surface space it’s important to focus on that need and prioritise it for you to be happy in your home.

4. Choose furniture wisely

When I visit the homes of clients for the first time, they often describe the house when they first moved in, when it was an empty blank canvas. The intention they had for this home hasn’t worked out quite as they planned. The empty house may have been impersonal but it had a feeling of space, light and potential. In contrast, their home may now feel dark, heavy and out of control. Often it is due to rooms being crammed with furniture which is too large in number or size. When kitting out your home really pay attention to the dimensions of the room and if you’re trying to create calm, resist trying to shoe-horn furniture in that just doesn’t suit – even if you have existing stuff you’d like to use – there are plenty of second hand selling sites these days – much better to sell on and start again if you can, rather than trying to fit a square peg in a round hole – it only leads to stress!

5. Be smart about storage

When it comes to storage try to get some smart storage built into your home. When it comes to buying additional storage don’t fall into the trap of buying storage before you have a clear plan about exactly what will go in it – so many people do this backwards and end up with systems not fit for purpose. Also, try to incorporate storage into furniture such as ottomans, beds, sofas and coffee tables making them dual use pieces. Instead of bulking out the floor level of a room, use the height as much as possible, such as in the case of vertical storage e.g. shelves built around doors, floor to ceiling shelving, wall storage or even adding a mezzanine level. Storage units can even be suspended from the ceiling so that they don’t take up any floor or wall space.

6. The finer details

When the big stuff has been dealt with you can have fun with the little things. Wall mounted racks for your cookery books and herbs within arm’s reach in the kitchen; hooks and shoe storage in the hall; an on wall filing system for your post. All of these things can make a difference to the feel of your home, as if you make it easy for yourself you are so much more likely to return things to their proper place and avoid possessions hanging around ‘homeless’ – a common cause of a cluttered feel.
Clever choices such as chairs which fit underneath a dining room table, desks which fold out and doors which slide open can also make a huge difference in terms of the creation of space.

Putting thought into layout furniture, dressings, storage and organisational systems as well as decluttering excess belongings is essential. Not only will it make any move far easier, but it will save you time, money and stress once you’re all moved in as well as enhance your overall living experience.

There’s nothing quite like creating a home – have some fun with it and really make it your own!

This article was provided to Maple Homes by Professional Organiser, Kate Ibbotson (A Tidy Mind) You can also follow her on twitter at and Instagram

By Kate Ibbotson in Homes

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