Cost-Effective Architectural Design Strategies for Houses and Apartments

BY contributor | Sun Jul 28, 2013

Guest post by Tina Madsen.

One of the challenges of designing a house or an apartment is keeping the cost of building or renovations to a minimum. It doesn’t mean you have to resort to getting sub-par materials because that will just backfire in the form of myriad and costly repairs in the future. In this case, being cost-effective means considering the cost of the materials and labor in designing the structure and layout of the residential space.

Designing Rules

Needless to say, an architect can readily provide professional insight in cost-effective designing. However, even without their advice, one can deduct that in order to minimize construction costs, we need to consider the following:

  • Simplicity – The easiest way to stay within budget is to keep things as simple as possible. Sleek lines and simple moldings will save you the added expense of hiring wood carvers, crafters, extra plaster and molding, and other materials that may be needed to create elaborate panels, balustrades, and so forth.Being simplistic will also your home a modern feel. That should be an added plus for people who wish to achieve that sleek, stylish, and sophisticated look you often see in today’s architectural and interior design books. Lastly, simplicity will let you save money because then there’ll be no need for the additional workers and crafters.
  • Sturdy Bases – Pay more attention on the foundations of the house than its adornments. When you have an estimated cost on the materials and labor for the foundations, then you can evaluate whether or not it will still be cost-efficient for your abode to have more elaborate designs.A sturdy structure will also mean lesser expenses in the future for repairs.
  • Ventilation – Always take into consideration the ventilation of the house. Otherwise, you’ll be spending a lot for AC bills in the future.
  • Location Details – It is also necessary to consider the location when designing the house. In which direction do the sun rise and set? Which direction does the cool breeze come from? These details let you know where are the best places to situate the windows, doors, balconies, and rooms of the house.

There are also types of apartments and homes that are very ideal if we’re talking about cost efficiency.

Studio Type

 The advantage with studio-type apartment is it is very minimalistic. There are hardly any walls and the main rooms (living room, dining area, kitchen, and bedroom) are visible and easily accessible from all the other areas of the house. The way the furniture and appliances are arranged and grouped together is usually the only distinction for each main area. As you can see, there is very little expense needed for the interior works of a studio-type room.

Stacked-Box Houses

Taking pointers from studio-type apartments, a stacked-box house is an example of cost-effective architecture. Just think of it as studio-type rooms of various sizes stacked on top of and beside the other. Some are designed very creatively that there are no definite or uniform floor levels.

The advantage with stacked-box architecture is the rooms are built in squares and rectangles. The interiors are precisely proportioned and have geometric floor areas. These clean, simple lines are easier and faster to build—hence, a shorter building schedule and a reduced labor cost. The materials don’t have to be very expensive as well because the design is very simple and, by principle, makes for a very sturdy building.

More Designing Tips

  • Get rid of unnecessary rooms that you don’t really need. Is a powder room really necessary? Or a changing room by the pool? Maybe you just need to build a public bathroom near the backyard doors for that. The extra floor area would be better off to widen rooms or for closet space.
  • Utilize windows not just for ventilation but also to admit natural light.
  • Staircases have plenty of uses! It can serve as a boundary between the living room and the dining and kitchen area. Beneath it, you can build a space-efficient closet or custom-made work desk complete with cubbyholes, drawers, and shelves. You probably won’t need to have a separate study/working room then.
  • Position your furniture in such a way that you won’t need to build walls just to give distinction to areas that are joined in the same room (ex: a counter to separate the dining area from the kitchen).
  • Be eclectic in your choices of furniture and room accessories. Don’t go overboard and buy truckloads of furnishings though. Remember that more often than not, less is more when it comes to interior design.
  • Build a large pantry to avoid the incessant need to build kitchen cabinets.

Being cost-efficient in designing and building a home will be easier with these tips and other similar strategies.

Tina MadsenTina is a design enthusiast who brings her passion for modern décor and writing to her role as the NowModern.com blogger.  She also specializes in turning small living areas into spacious social hubs with bar stools and counter stools.

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