If you’re building or renovating, budget is likely top of your mind. However, you don’t want to overlook those little touches that could add value to your property or improve your life down the track.
If you’re building a home from scratch, you have the opportunity to create a property that meets your needs and showcases the best in modern design and technology.
Here are a few suggestions for cost-effective additions to build into your home.
1. Power points aplenty
After speaking to Tim Turrini-Rochford, the Pacific Design Lab Director at Clipsal and Schneider Electric, it’s evident Australian homes never seem to have enough power points!
“Our lives are becoming more and more electrified. Right now, I’m looking in my kitchen and I’ve got a million different gadgets out (but) I don’t have enough plugs for them. Think about putting in sockets with four plug points instead of two,” Tim says.
“A popular product, commonly installed in kitchens and bedrooms, is a double power point with double USB. This product allows you to charge your devices without taking up valuable power point space. You can also get A+C USB chargers in line with evolving technology to support homeowners in future-proofing their home electrical needs.
“Also, think about where you can place them. Not all power points need to be down near the floor.”
2. Smart lighting
Tim suggests installing a Bluetooth connected light switch that enables you to operate your lighting from an app.
From there, you can then control the timing (turning lights on and off) and dimming from a smart device. For example, you may choose to have multiway switching and dimming control from your bedside and doorway, to control the ambiance in your bedroom.
There is also the manual option of installing a dimmer dial and a motion sensor to similar – although not quite as handy – effect.
3. An adaptable light switch
It’s not all about functionality – you need to take style into account too. Who knew you could change the style of your light switch without the aid of an electrician? Enter the Iconic range from Clipsal.
“With a regular lighting system, you’ve got your normal switch and power point,” Tim explains. “You would need an electrician to come in if you ever wanted to replace that. With Iconic, an electrician installs the grid in the wall and then the homeowner or person renting the home could take the front plate, or skin, off and replace it with something that is suited to the style they want.”
Smart lighting and an easily adaptable look? Score.
4. LED downlights
The last thing you want to realise after completing your build is that you didn’t give yourself enough light. You also don’t want to retrospectively try to add downlights to your home.
From the wiring to the cutting holes in your roof, it’s not a quick fix!
Ensure you plan ahead when it comes to lighting and, if you want downlights, make the call before your build is finished.
It Is also worth considering where you may need multiway switching and dimming control. That is, the ability to turn on and off lights at the top and bottom of staircases or at each end of a hallway. These decisions are easily implemented during the building process so consider how your electrical choices can make your life easier.
5. Under-floor heating
Heating and cooling is a key consideration of every new build.
First, think architecturally about how you can best take advantage of the elements, such as having north-facing windows and cross ventilation. You may also want to consider your building materials.
Then, start with your artificial heating and cooling methods. The main thing that is relatively inexpensive when building – but will cost an arm and a leg should you want it down the line – is under-floor heating. If you want it in your home, it pays to plan ahead.
6. A great ceiling fan
A ceiling fan is much cheaper to install and far more energy efficient than air-conditioning. Even if you still want air-con, many will recommend also having a ceiling fan to aid in air flow and allow you to cut back your air-con dependency. So, don’t discount fans in your build.
The main gripe many have with ceiling fans is that they’re not the most stylish features. Tim assures us this isn’t always the case.
“The matte black Zen Fan is, to me, one of the nicest and most visually pleasing products we have,” he says. “Every detail is done perfectly. It uses a DC motor so it runs really quietly, we tested it to maximise the air flow and the style is really pure and timeless.”
7. A security system
Finally, this is another item that will require plenty of wiring to set up. Therefore, it’s not the type of thing you want to do retroactively.
While most systems nowadays aren’t too demanding to add on after a build is complete, consider if this is something you would want and add it to your build. Extra security can only be a good thing.
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