When designing a dream home, it is seldom with an unlimited budget. Cost and durability are two factors that virtually always play an important role in the design of a home. In this regard there are a few facts to keep in mind.
The first is that ‘cheap’ does not necessarily mean the alternative with the lowest upfront cost. In the long run one has to take into account the durability of the product and its maintenance cost over many years.
Secondly: cheap does not have to mean inferior. There are many products on the market that look beautiful and expensive, yet they are remarkably affordable.
Take the roof of a house, for example. One can replicate the rich texture of slate or the rustic appearance of cedar with artificial products such as asphalt shingles. Apart from lower cost, another benefit of this option is that maintenance costs in the long run will be lower. An interesting option is to go for different shades of the same colour to create a more interesting-looking roof.
When it comes to the kitchen remember that units with melamine formaldehyde and VOCs are susceptible to moisture damage and heat. Solid wood cabinets not only look beautiful, but they are more durable and provide for better air quality in the home.
Kitchen surfaces should above all be durable and resistant to cuts from knives, from heat and moisture. Also ensure the kitchen is properly ventilated to prevent costly rot and mould. When you are re-furbishing your home making sure you keep in budget is essential. Shabby Chic have some lovely pieces of furniture, at a great price.
Saving power and water
While energy efficient washing machines and dishwashers might cost slightly more initially, the electricity savings they produce in the long run should more than justify the higher upfront expense. Another important point is not to install freezers and fridges too close to appliances that generate heat, e.g. stoves.
In the bathroom go for dual flush toilets. They use up to 75% less water per flush and can cut the household water usage by thousands of litres of water per year. Low flow showerheads will similarly reduce water usage from about 14 litres per minute to around 6 litres per minute – with a significant cost saving over time.
As far as carpets are concerned, remember that high traffic areas need a different approach than areas with little footfall. Cheaper products are a bad choice for a busy passage as wear will quickly become apparent. Rather opt for natural material, such as wool, which should last a very long time – especially if one puts a pad under it so it doesn’t wear out from the bottom.
Carpet tiles made from nylon are also a good choice for a busy area. These tiles are virtually indestructible and it is very easy to keep them clean. They are therefore also a great choice for children’s rooms or if you have pets in the house.
Furniture is another area where cheap does not necessarily mean saving money. Natural materials are always a good choice. Good quality solid wooden furniture, such as the kind of furniture one sees at Furniture Village, may initially cost a little bit more but will last a lifetime. A leather lounge suite will outlast most synthetic alternatives if cared for properly – and it’s very easy to keep clean.