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10 Home Renovation Pointers

Don't just think fabulous, think functional.

When you're planning a home renovation, an Interior Designer worth their salt should advise you on more than just the fabrics and furnishings, lighting and artwork.  

For your home to run smoothly and efficiently, the less glamorous bits like storage, light sockets and linen cupboards might sound dull, but unless they're carefully planned and allocated in advance, could leave your beautifully crafted spaces looking unsightly and chaotic. 

Don't just think fabulous, think functional. 

1. Plan Ahead
Try to think to how you, your family and your staff will use your house, not just today but in the future. As the children grow, the way you use your home will change, so think about how the space accommodates everyone's individually changing needs. 

Although an open-plan layout enables you to keep an eye on little ones when they're crawling babies or toddlers, as they grow into teenagers you might find they yearn for more privacy and you might want to shut the door on them occasionally too (!) so think about designing your living and dining spaces a little more flexibly, where folding doors or dividers can be incorporated or added later. 

2. The Best Light
Hook up with the creative genius of an expert lighting designer early on so you can work out where those pendant lights, standard lamps, downlighters, uplighters, feature lights and chandeliers should hang, get light sockets positioned in the most convenient of places, before you get all your fixtures and fittings in place.  An expert lighting designer will work with you to plan a bespoke lighting system and source the right accessories to show your home off in the best light.

3. Furniture Plan

Before you plan your radiators and sockets, think about where your furniture will be positioned to ensure maximum functionality and convenience throughout your home.  That way you'll have all the sockets, switches and radiators out of the way but perfectly placed for computers, electrical equipment and devices.

4. Wall Retention
It's easy to become so focused on open-plan living that you end up with too few walls to hang art on or put furniture against, so just make sure when you're tearing walls down that you end up with enough for your artwork and ideal furniture positioning.

5. Window Placement

It's also easy to put windows on every external wall, when the view beyond might not be worth it. Think about the garden, landscape, city or ocean view beyond and avoid windows looking out onto plan side passages or hedgerows.

6. Think Green 
When it comes to heating and lighting systems, opt for Smart technology. Intelligent, efficient systems you control remotely from a computer or smart phone, so you can be anywhere to turn the heating up or down, or ensure lights are on when the house is empty for added security.  Some systems will even adapt and react to usage, so they'll get used to your preferred temperature and adjust accordingly. If you plan ahead and install smart technologies early on, your home will run more energy efficiently.

7. Practical Flooring

Beautiful flooring can lure you in, but try to think practicality and functionality before getting sucked in. Even though wooden timber flooring can look stunning in kitchens, bathrooms, en-suites and cloakrooms, tiles (or wood engineered or laminate flooring) are more practical and fare better than timber when liquids spill, especially around the sink and appliance areas where water splashes.  Also, think about hardwearing floor choices for heavy traffic walkways, like hallways and stairs and the pros and cons of carpeting vs wood flooring upstairs, bedrooms, drawing room, lounge and dining areas.

8. Keep Ventiliated
Where you have large areas of glazing in living spaces, think about including smaller windows for ventilation. You might want to fold back those beautiful bi-fold doors in summer, but during the colder months it might be too chilly to have them open and smaller windows will still allow a little air to still circulate. 

9. Space Savers
Turn underused areas into perfect storage spaces. Those awkward, hard to reach spaces under the stairs for example can be turned into great little luxury spaces or divided up for handy storage eg: drawers or cupboards for hanging coats, bags and boots.

10. Think Laundry

Plan how your laundry room is going to work, to keep it as efficient as possible. Think about how your housekeeper and her team will use the space and what equipment and space they need to work effectively around one another.  You might even want to raise up your washing machine and tumble dryer so they can be accessed at eye level, rather than staff having to bend down to fill/empty.  That gives you more space beneath for drawers and baskets. 

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