After years (and years) of saving, you’ve finally bought your ‘forever home’. Congratulations!
Finding a home you want to spend your life in is the beginning of an amazing experience. You’ve got decades of joy ahead – whether you’re starting a family, raising your brood, entertaining guests, or just enjoying peace and quiet in your private space.
After settling in to the neighbourhood and getting a feel for your new place, you might start thinking about a renovation – after all, renovating is one of the great Aussie pastimes. As you’re exploring the different ways you can put your personal stamp on your home, it’s worthwhile looking into the future to see how well your home will age with you.
TIPS TO FUTURE-PROOF YOUR FOREVER HOME
Flexibility is the name of the game when it comes to making sure you can grow old in your home with comfort and safety. Layouts that allow for rooms to have different uses over the years will make it easier to cater to your changing needs. Can a bedroom become an office? Can the dining room become a playroom, and then back again? Can you create a guest wing or self-contained living space in case you need to cater for elderly relatives or adult children?
Will a wheelchair comfortably fit down your home’s hallway or through doorways? What about your bathroom – does it have a walk-in shower to make it suitable for a person with limited mobility? When renovating, it’s a wise idea to make sure your spaces are accessible, so you can easily adapt to new life circumstances.
Stairs can make it difficult – and frustrating – for people with limited mobility to get around their home. If your home is spread over more than one level, there are some cost-effective and easy changes you can make to ensure you can retain your independence as the years go by. A solid safety rail will offer some added security on the stairs, and a wide staircase will allow for the easy installation of a stair lift, should one ever be needed. Another smart option, and one that more and more people are exploring as they look to renovate, is the installation of a domestic home lift. Domestic lifts can be fully customised to suit your home and décor, operate with any household electrical socket are very energy efficient.
There’s no denying we have arrived at the age of the automated home. Lights, windows, blinds, appliances, locks and air-conditioning can all be controlled remotely by a smart phone or tablet. Technology will continue to advance at a rapid pace, bringing with it innovations we haven’t yet imagined. There’s no way to predict exactly what the future holds, but a home renovation that includes updated wiring, and allows for future wiring changes, is a safe move.
It’s a smart idea to use your renovation as an opportunity to make your home as eco-friendly as possible. As energy costs continue to rise, things like solar panels, insulation, energy-efficient appliances and LED downlights will all pay handsome dividends in the future. Also consider the materials you use in your renovation. Are they long-lasting, or will they have to be replaced and sent to landfill after a number of years? Do they require expensive maintenance? Have they come from sustainable sources? Reclaimed wood and metal, cork and bamboo are excellent building materials that have a relatively small environmental footprint compared with materials like
In addition, you can make the most of what’s known as passive solar design, which simply means designing your house to make the most of the environment. This can include installing windows that face north to catch the sun in the Australian winter, thereby warming the house naturally. Strategic planting around the house will help block sun in summer, keeping rooms cooler and limiting your need for air-conditioning