When it comes to designing our homes we have to keep in mind different factors that help us make our decisions. Our cultures, personal tastes and lifestyles have a huge influence on shaping our homes, However, as most of us would agree, it is our budgets that mostly affect our decisions and choices. If you live in a studio apartment or one with two or three bedrooms, here are some general cost saving tips to keep in mind:
* Avoid having spaces with many corners. Such spaces will require additional furnishing, and decoration and you will end up spending more money. Home owners often find an empty corner quite frustrating as they have to deal with it by adding small pieces of furniture or art work that they really don’t need.
* Avoid having spaces with irregular shapes, or funny angles as such spaces cost homeowners more as they find themselves customizing pieces of furniture to fit into the space they have.
* Use the multiples of 60cm (2 inches). Few people may know that in the industry of furniture, tiles, carpets and panels, factories use the multiples or parts of the 60cm module. So for example we usually find tiles in the market in the size of 60x60cm or 30x30cm. Having tiles 55x55cm is not common and if space is planned to have such dimension it means more money has to be invested to cut down the bigger size to required size or customizing such tiles.
* When it comes to wall panels (wood, gypsum board) it’s usually 2.4x1.2m. So having a measurement of 2.85x1.35m, for example, means there is big wastage in material which is translated to wastage in money.
* Use low maintenance cost material. It is always advisable to use the material that lives longer and requires less maintenance. Going hi tech is not always smart, some low tech material or elements will help in keeping the maintenance cost lower.
Designing a villa
When designing for villa, keep in mind these points, in addition to the ones already stated above.
* Plan for your needs and don’t overdo it: Many villa owners believe that bigger is better, so a big bedroom of 60 sq m is better than a 30 sqm bedroom, which is completely wrong. Villas are best planned not on the basis of size but on the basis of function, circulation and furnishing requirements.
* Minimize the use of corridors to the maximum: Corridors help in leading a person from one space to another. The longer and more corridors we have, the more money we invest in a circulation space.
* Work on the furniture layout not the walls layout: When designing your villa, work on the furniture layout provided by the architect or interior designer and not on dimension plans. Many options for furniture movement and position inside the space will help in making better decisions.
* Spend more time in planning rather than spending hours in changing layouts: Many villa owners waste money in changes once the contractor is working on site. This means variation orders to the contractor and extra cost. Having more time in planning and designing is much better than having changes during work on site as changes at the planning stage is much easier and entails less money being spent.
Planning your budget
This varies a lot from people to people. Some are willing to pay Dh200,000 for studio decorations, while others may be satisfied with spending just Dh2,000. So there is no ideal budget and it’s entirely a personal decision depending on your own financial capabilities and personal taste.
When homeowners decide their budget, it is important they stick to it, although it’s not the case most of the time. However, considering the following might help:
* Before deciding on the budget, go check out the different choices available for material and furniture. This will help in giving you wider spectrum of choices and prices and based on that you can plan your budget and have more specific choices and options.
* Prioritize your options and choices. For example, list down all the choices you have for wall paper — have a sheet of paper handy with a price column, and the degree of likeness column and differentiate between the options until you have your final selection.
* Even if you are 100 per cent sure of the item you have selected, be it a piece of furniture or the curtain, have an alternative piece shortlisted. There might be unforeseen circumstances that might lead you to change your choice.
* Have a contingency plan. There can always be a situation when you have to go a bit above budget.
* Don’t change your selection if you find something different that you suddenly like. The market is big and there will always be new things coming up. So if a decision is made on an item , stick to it even if you find a better option. Remember there will be always something nicer and better that will be constantly appealing, it’s important that you make up your mind.
— This article was contributed by Lamar Interiors, Dubai