Here are the latest design trends to help you get the best bang for your buck
Now more than ever, our homes truly are our castle, our office, our sanctuary, our gym, and our place for rest and fun.
That's according to Sophie Seeger, interior designer and tutor at The Interior Design Institute Australia, who believes that, as a result of the pandemic, Aussies have revisited what is important to them in the home.
More time spent at home, coupled with changes to how we're spending that time, has influenced what's "on trend" in interior design.
If you're thinking about renovating to get the most from your home or doing it with a view to selling, there are certain strategies that will help you maximise your return on investment.
Find your niche
"People are moving away from open plan living as families who spend more time at home desire their own personal spaces," Sophie says.
"This might be a nook to curl up with a book, a niche for listening to music, space to video-call friends and family in private, or a yoga, workout or meditation area."
However, she does not believe it will spell the end of the open plan and says communal areas are equally important.
"You still want to be able to connect around the dining table, or at a kitchen island while cooking, so consider how you can keep those spaces nice and open."
According to Leigh McDonald, Renovation Consultant from Refresh Renovations, installing part walls or nib walls is a great way define areas without blocking communal space or light.
"Opting for something that is not permanent like doors or screens is a great, cost-effective way to create new partitions within a space," he says.
Instead of building new walls, Leigh says quite often partitions can be created with furniture. For example, using a large bookcases or an indoor plant wall to define new spaces.
Bring the outdoors in
Sophie says a new value has been placed on instilling balance and calm in the home as we spend more time there.
"An abundance of natural light is a great foundation for bringing a sense of tranquillity into the home and this will be in higher demand moving forward. There's a range of benefits to increased natural light including improved mood and concentration, as well as making a space seem bigger."
If you are renovating your house, Sophie advises investing in adding windows, increasing the size of existing ones or even adding a skylight.
Leigh adds that skylights can cost anywhere from $900 to $9,000, which is why it's important to understand the scale, size, design and engineering before beginning installation.
"Before adding a more expensive skylight, consider plumbing flashings on the roof, painting the trims of more basic models or simply adding a large pendant-style light to fill voids," he says.
Investing in bifold doors is great option to create openness, but it is important to be mindful of fly screens as they can be costly. Leigh adds that installing decking at the same finished floor heights can help create a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors.
Spaces with scope
Rooms in our homes have long been labelled with inflexible titles, however, homeowners are now seeing new potential in every space.
Sophie recommends identifying multi-use areas and keeping them free of clutter so they can be easily converted for each use. This could include the living room doubling as a meditation zone, spare bedrooms being used for office space, or the garage as the ultimate home gym.
Leigh says planning ahead is key before you begin renovating to ensure your home is more functional once complete.
"Most decisions should be made before renovations begin. Reactive decisions part-way through often come at a cost because you end up rushing to adhere to timelines," he says.
When planning new areas or zones, Leigh's hot tip is to consider the number and placement of power point numbers in relation to things like TVs, gaming consoles, study desks, and lamps for reading zones.
"I always ask for more in the early stages with clients to understand how they will use each space. They may not realise the importance of additional power points at the time, but they appreciate it later," he says.
With more people working from home, Leigh believes connectivity is becoming more important.
"Free-to-air TV viewing is dropping off and more families are watching TV via streaming services, resulting in a need for better connectivity and stronger Wi-Fi throughout the home. Bearing this in mind when renovating will help appeal to future buyers.
"More people want connectivity in the garage, back shed, or even the outdoor area for the TV on a Friday night to watch sport. People are also asking for unlimited plans to stream and have that home theatre experience," he concludes.
Not only will these additions make your spaces more functional, but it's what future buyers are looking for, too.
The opinions expressed in this article are the opinions of the author(s) and not necessarily those of Resimac.