Whether you’re designing an entire property from scratch, planning its fixtures and fittings or finalising the interior décor of each room, it’s vital to have a clear concept and approach in mind from the off. In this article, we discuss Design Concepts and Tips for the Property Industry.
This will help the final product to be attractive, cohesive and practical – ensuring that the building’s potential value is clearly realised and that every space is well-organised and user-friendly as well as beautiful.
However, making a start on a design is easier said than done. Each property has endless potential – and this can feel intimidating to a new designer, as there may be very little upon which to base one’s initial thoughts.
A good way to begin is to take stock of the fundamental requirements of the building you are designing, and to examine the practical aspects of the existing space or structure, then work from there.
In this article, bloggers at Property Solvers will explore a number of basic approaches to building design to help you get started with almost any upcoming project.
Table of Contents
The Basics of Building Design
When putting together a property plan, designers must take a number of factors into account. The following should be used as a guide to creating a well-planned building:
Surrounding Landscape and Access
Before a property can be designed, its surroundings must be closely researched. The position of a house in relation to the nearest roads must be carefully considered, as well as the location of its driveway and front door, gardens and other features.
It is also vital to take into account the accessibility of certain services such as water and electricity, and to think about how larger vehicles and equipment may get to the site if this is required.
The achievable square footage of a planned building should be carefully calculated, as well as its potential maximum height (which may be dictated by the local planning authorities).
This will have a direct knock-on effect on the overall floor plan, which will in turn dictate the maximum size of each room and the way in which spaces may be laid out.
The next step is to consider the individual elements required to make the resulting building a success. These may be divided into “Essential” and “Desired” categories if necessary. Practicality and comfort should be considered in equal measure.
Typically, designers of a domestic property should determine a required number of bedrooms, bathrooms, “reception rooms” (i.e. living room or dining room), kitchens and utility rooms, as well as hallways, corridors, staircases and landings connecting those spaces.
Garages are another common feature in some neighbourhoods.
There may be additional space required depending on the intended purpose of the property. Certain future residents may require a workshop or studio, a home office, a music room, a library, a gym or other facilities.
By taking the above factors into account, an architect or designer can then begin to plan a property’s layout. In domestic properties, there are conventions that usually see bedrooms located upstairs and reception rooms and kitchens downstairs, but this is not always the case.
A number of layouts and floor plans may be considered before the top contenders are chosen, but there will usually be some room for adjustment.
It is important to take accessibility into account at this stage – individuals with reduced mobility will require larger passageways and areas of space between furnishings, so bigger rooms are advisable.
Usage Flow and Circulation
In order to finalise a layout, the designer will need to determine the most practical and intuitive way to facilitate movement between rooms.
This will be calculated depending on the needs and requirements of any potential residents of the property, and the order in which they will expect to access each space and its related amenities.
For example, upon walking through the front door of a property, one will usually find a hallway or entrance space.
This space tends to feature either a single door into a reception room – through which a kitchen is accessible – or a number of doors leading off into a reception room and a kitchen, and possibly perhaps a dining room and downstairs bathroom if the property has these features.
The same entrance space usually features a staircase leading up to the next floor in multi-storey properties. However, these usual conventions do not always apply.
No matter how simple the intended functions and planned spaces of a property, it is good practice to draw up flowcharts and other practical plans to represent the most practical approaches to circulation and usage.
Both horizontal and vertical flow and circulation should be considered when designing a property.
Individual Room Layouts
Once the basic floor plan has been established, the next step is to consider individual room layouts.
These should take into account features such as en suite bathrooms and built-in wardrobes (for bedrooms) as well as storage spaces like closets and cupboards.
Room divisions should be carefully planned out. For example, what would be the benefit of an open-plan arrangement versus an entirely divided ground floor plan?
The positions of staircases, chimneys and other structural elements will have a definite impact on how certain rooms will be arranged, so this must be taken into account along with the above factors.
If there are particular practical requirements for a space, now is the time to start considering these. Designers should think in detail about power outlets, window locations, door positioning (and inwards/outwards opening) and other key elements that support a room’s day to day use.
While the above elements should always be factored into a new build or renovation plan, some of the aspects mentioned may also form a part of a building’s fundamental interior design approaches.
Of course, there are more things to consider when it comes to the finalised design of each room.
Below, we will discuss additional matters that should be considered when moving on to the finishing and decor of a property.
Before choosing the aesthetics of any item of furniture or type of fitting, you must first discern its ideal size and shape by measuring the available floor or wall space or ceiling height.
This is not a simple matter of deciding what will “fit”, but also how much circulation space must remain and how the room may be arranged in order to facilitate the most practical and comfortable usage possible.
A designer must also consider how the item will look and function in relation to other features in the same space.
Unity and Cohesiveness of Design
This concept is usually presented in the form of an “aesthetic” or “theme”. Simply put, this is an element of design that focuses on how all of the different features “fit” together, complementing each other through material, texture, colour, shape and other aspects.
While this is often a matter of individual taste, there are a number of conventions that it is usually best to follow in order to come up with arrangements that are acceptable to the majority of onlookers.
Contrast and Complement
When choosing multiple design elements for the same space, it’s important to consider how they will all “work” as a collection.
A clear colour scheme, usually of two or three key hues, is usually implemented in order to achieve this. However, shape, material and texture should all be considered at this point.
It is then up to the designer to choose the points at which these elements should complement one another (falling neatly into the same perceived field of design) or provide a contrasting aspect (standing out against the other elements in a calculated manner).
Ideally, each space should have a “focal point”. This will help with the feeling of flow as well as the arrangement of a room’s layout. Some focal points can be pre-determined. For example, a typical living room may see all furniture pointed towards a fireplace or television.
In other spaces, however, the designer may have greater agency over the focal point. They may choose to manufacture one – for example, by including a particularly impressive artwork or piece of furniture – or to fashion one from existing features, such as a large window.
Symmetry, Asymmetry and Radiation
The finer points of design include the application of symmetry and asymmetry. This can make a room feel comfortably balanced, or may purposely guide attention to a certain area – depending on how it is utilised.
In some circumstances, features may be positioned to “radiate” out from a central point. This may again serve to direct the eye or the flow of a space.
Of course, depending on taste and practical application, there are endless possibilities when it comes to the choice of colour, texture, shape and functionality of the features within each space. Fashion dictates these aspects to a certain extent – but individual taste plays a huge role too.
In the end, the final look of your property is up to you. The above tips simply provide a summation of the key aspects of property design – whether you’re planning to create a building from the ground up or simply to improve its practical or aesthetic improvement.
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