Moving Into A New Home? Design Tips To Keep In Mind   

Ian Mutuli
Updated on
Ian Mutuli

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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Are you planning to move into a new house in the near future? Whether you are buying a new house, relocating to another apartment or building from scratch, moving into a new house can be an incredibly exciting and equally distressing process. Designing can be a little hectic and that is why you need some new home design ideas to get you started.

Because as fun as designing a place from scratch may be, it does require a lot of effort and commitment on your part. So, what seems like an enjoyable activity at first glance can easily turn into a cumbersome job if you’re not prepared for what lies ahead. 

So, in this article, we shall look at some home decor and design ideas that you can try.

New Home Design Ideas to Keep in Mind

1. Come Up With a Budget 

Buying a house is one of the biggest purchases you’re ever going to make. And it’s not only the total price of the house or the monthly mortgage that you need to take into consideration but also all the associated expenses that come along. After all, it takes more than just a few walls to make a home.

There are repairs, maintenance jobs, electricity, heating, and plumbing to factor in. So, the final price tag might be a lot higher than you initially imagined, which makes financial planning a very important step in the process. 

You’ll need a budget and figure out how much you can spend on all the new hardware like furniture and décor pieces. They will help you to transform your new home into a cozy and welcoming living space.

One way to cut back on these expenses is to mix the old with the new and bring items you already own into your new home. This will require you to hire a moving company to make sure your stuff will arrive safe and sound at the destination and calculate how much you’ll be paying for these services. Fortunately, you can request moving quotes online, so you’ll know exactly what to expect money-wise. 

2. Start With a Deep Clean

Once you have your finances all sorted out, it’s time to move on to the next phase and give every room in the house a good clean. Even new builds require a thorough cleaning before you move on to decorating the space.

Deep clean the house before moving in

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There may be a lot of dirt and debris around the house from construction or house viewings, and you don’t want all that grime to transfer to your furnishings and personal items. Therefore, it’s important to start the design process with a clean slate in every sense of the word. 

The good news is you won’t have to move things around to clean every corner and nook of your home since the space is empty, save for maybe a few boxes with cleaning supplies and equipment you’ll need to bring with you. As a rule of thumb, it’s always recommended to start at the top and work your way down to get every surface in the house spotless

3. Choose Your Color Palette

A big part of making a new place feel more like you is to choose a color palette that reflects your taste. Even if this sounds like a fun task, it can be quite overwhelming, given the sheer number of options at your disposal and the impact this will have on your home’s design. Should you opt for bold colors or play it safe and go for more neutral hues? It’s going to be a tough decision to make. 

beige living room

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While it’s entirely up to you to choose the colors you want to adorn your interiors with, there are a few guidelines to keep in mind while exploring your options. Consulting a color wheel is always a good idea, as it will help you create a scheme that suits your style.

Use the color wheel to create a scheme

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Testing different colors in different lighting is also recommended before committing to a certain palette. Finally, you should think of color in context, meaning you need to make sure the wall paint and the color of your furniture and other décor elements will complement each other and create visually appealing contrasts. 

4. Decide On Each Room’s Layout

When you’re facing a blank canvas, it can be difficult to imagine how it’s going to look once you bring in all your furniture and décor paraphernalia. This gives you the possibility to create a space from scratch but also challenges you to come up with a suitable layout for every room in the house, which can seem rather daunting in the beginning. 

As with every step in the process, proper planning is key. There are many different ways to arrange furniture and decorations, so you need to choose a design that makes sense to you. It’s a matter of combining beauty and function and creating a space that’s both comfortable and visually appealing. 

This implies looking at the space you have available from all angles and positioning the interior design elements in a way that ensures good flow. You don’t want to cramp too many elements together and restrict movement around the house, but you don’t want the space to look stark and lifeless, either. If you don’t know where to start, you can decide on a focal point for every room, like a coffee table, a painting, a bookcase, or a fireplace, and then design the rest of the space around these features. 

Decorating a new home may seem like a daunting project to take on, and it can be quite challenging indeed. But if you approach things strategically and start with a well-thought plan, you’ll be able to ensure a hassle-free process and even have fun while you’re putting everything together. 

5. Mix Old and New

Trends are ever-changing. However, you can combine old and new pieces to create a sense of comfort and assurance. Nostalgia has been a big influence on how people style the interiors of their homes.

Modern traditional interior design

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Social media has been the main platform through which the trends resurge. Some of these trends include brass fittings, creative shapes, and unexpected pops of color.

6. Painted or Wallpaper Ceilings

Consider painting or wallpapering your ceiling if you’d like to creatively add an accent color to your room. This style is more frequently used as interior designers avoid painting only one accent wall in a space and choose to go for a striking appearance on the ceiling.

Ceiling wallpapers brightens up a dull room

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Whether you choose a seaside, minimalist, modern farmhouse, Japanese, Scandinavian, traditional, eclectic, or a style somewhere in between, interior design is a personal choice. Look beyond paint for something unexpected. There are several alternatives provided by manufacturers, such as patterned wallpaper, upholstery fabrics, grass cloth, wood paneling, and stone or brick veneer.

7. Asymmetry

Designers are now embracing mismatched bedrooms, living rooms, and dining furniture. Using items in new, intriguing, and unconventional ways is the main focus of this home décor style.

Try creating asymmetrical balance

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If you have a matched bedroom set, you might want to consider relocating some of the pieces to the dining room, entryway, or guest room. Finally, add a few new or antique pieces here and there to fill in the gaps to produce a collected, well-coordinated aesthetic.

8. Treat the Walls

Maintaining and cleaning flat or matte paints can be a bit challenging. However, they provide a lovely gauzy effect that also conceals wall defects. Baseboards, moldings, doors, and other trim can be painted a similar color to blend in with the space.

semi gloss finish for the walls

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Moreover, you can use a contrasting color, typically an off-white in a room with colored walls, to stand out more. There are endless living room color ideas that you can also try. Paint for the trim can have a distinct shine from that used on the walls. Moldings will be more noticeable with a semi-gloss shine while also adding durability.

9. Add Art and Accessories

Another new home design idea is to add art and other accessories. If space is an issue, adding a few objects would do just fine. However, if the space is large enough, you can never run out of ideas. You can display an entire collection of art and accessories.

wall hangings to improve the interior decor

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In addition, you need to consider your needs. An example is having a tray with remote controls on an ottoman, or throw pillows for extra back support. Also, having a nice woven basket can help while collecting children’s toys.

10. Add Rugs

A living room with hardwood floors looks naked if it lacks a rug. Rugs add literal and visual comfort. You can add a rug by using these three strategies.

a) Layered rugs

You can add smaller rugs on top of a larger ones to create extra visual interest. This also reinforces the layout o the room.

layering rugs to add visual interest and warmth

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b) A room-filling rug

This works best in smaller spaces. Here, install a large rug that covers almost the entire floor while leaving a border. Another alternative is to use wall-to-wall rugs.

area covering almost the entire floor

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c) Seating area rugs

If you have a large room, you can break the seating areas by using different rugs to visually hold each group of furniture in place. Another option is, if you have a large space, you can use a large rug to hold the living area together, while leaving the dining area to be directly on the floor.

separating seating areas by using different rugs

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11. Elevate with Reeded Detail

Reeded detailing is an easy DIY and also looks good. You can use reeding to transform several furnishings. This makes it simple and inexpensive to look high-end and gives the piece new life. Besides that, you can reed old pieces of furniture to give them a different look. Reeding also adds visual interest to any piece of furniture.

Reeded cabinet doors

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12. Modernize Old Furniture

Besides reeding, you can modernize a piece of furniture by covering it in high gloss lacquer. Grasscloth or even faux skin wallpaper can give your console a different look. Another approach to modernizing a piece of furniture is simply to tackle its legs alone.

piece of furniture painted in high gloss lacquer

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13. Add Textured Wallpaper

You can use textured wallpaper instead of using plain one. Textured wallpapers come in a variety of designs and patterns, and they help in creating a specific mood for spaces.

textured wallpaper

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Adding a textured wallpaper is better than textured paint because you can easily replace a wallpaper than patching up a textured wall.

14. Incorporate Handmade Artisan Designs

You can avoid shopping irresponsibly by using a few handmade pieces to design your space. Handmade modern pieces made from natural materials are usually timeless and don’t get out of style. This means that you can use them for interior decor even if you decide to move or change the arrangement of your home.

Handmade crafts are timeless

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Rough forms of handcrafted and rustic objects connected to history and ceremony enable buyers to turn back to a slower and more mindful and slower living.

15. Accent Walls

Accent walls have been used as an interior home design for ages and one of the most popular ways of creating one is by painting. You can also use wall coverings like wallpaper. With an accent wall, you can easily be creative with colors and artistic design.

accent walls enhance creativity

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You can use color combinations that add drama and intrigue to a space, including neutrals in different shades which flow in the rooms, warm tones, and more dramatic color pairings.

16. You Don’t Have to Match the Furniture

This may be an unpopular opinion, but you don’t have to match your furniture. Although it will be easier to get a matching bedroom set instead of having to figure out what nightstands go with your upholstered bed, that may not be your best shot.

Mix and matching outdoor furniture

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You can avoid this interior design trend by using pieces of furniture collected over time. This is because the room will look better and unique.

17. Plan for the Weather

The foyer deals with a lot of the stuff the weather has to offer. It deals with snow, ice, mud, rainwater, and all other weather elements. To prevent all these from entering the home, you need to deal with them upfront.

umbrella stand and coat and hats rack

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You can start by placing a mat outside for people to wipe off dust and other forms of dirt. Another way is to get an umbrella stand that keeps them handy and prevents wet ones from draining water onto the floor.

umbrella rack

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If you do not have a closet in your foyer, you can buy a coat hook or rack for holding the coats and hats. If you get nice pieces, they can also serve double duty by acting as decorative elements.

18. Luxe Living

You can improve the interiors of your modern space by using a different approach, like refinement. This involves creating spaces that feel sophisticated, timeless, and sumptuous. The best thing is that this will depend on your taste. It doesn’t have to be expensive or fancy.

make the interior look sophisticated and timeless

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The luxe look is more about layered lighting, throws in luxurious materials, plush cushioned seating, and collected accents, among others. It is not about shiny and mirrored spaces. You can find this trend in luxurious fabrics like velvet, linen, or silk, clean and lined pieces, and neutral tones.

19. Natural Stone Finishes

Using some natural elements like natural stone incorporates unexpected patterns and tones. Among the most popular stone elements include limestone, granite, and soapstone, among others.

stone coated staircase

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You can incorporate this trend in your home by using natural stone on countertops, flooring, and stone coffee tables. Zellige tiles crafted from clay, with each piece being unique, are also an interesting design idea. They retain variations in color tone, shimmer, and depth, making them among the best for interior designers.

20. Statement Lighting

Most designers and homeowners prefer oversized light fixtures over traditional pendant lights. They come in interesting shapes and act as overhead works of art.

Statement lighting in the dining area

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You can use a single but dramatic pendant light to help define a particular space in homes, like the bathroom, kitchen, living room, or dining area. These lights also catch one’s attention as well as serve as a focal point for a given space.

Ambient lighting is getting popular, and you can add the effect by adding table lamps, candles, and even floor lamps. They will make your space feel warm and cozy.

21. Consider Getting an Interior Designer

Designing is not for everyone. So, if you’re having a little trouble with this idea, you may need to get help. Among other numerous benefits of working with commercial interior designers, they will tell you what you need to buy or how to match colors to achieve a certain look.

22. Apply Border to Painted Walls

Another great idea is to use both wallpapers and paint to improve the interior design of your new home. This, you can do without defaulting to an accent wall.

wallpaper border

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You’ll need to install chic borders to pull off this design. If you want to add character to a monotonous space, try covering a plain painted wall with printed wallpaper.

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Design a New Home

Designing a home needs enough planning as it is not just something you do overnight. So, if you plan to design your new home and you’re still not sure where to start, we have a list to guide you through the various steps.

Step 1: Determine the Budget

Determining the budget may not be fun, but it is the most important as it will affect all the other decisions you make. Custom home design budget can be high. You will have to make tough decisions when deciding which wishlist items to keep and which ones to ignore.

budget according to how much you have

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Expect to spend money on the following;

    • Site work

    • Architect fees

    • Foundation

    • Inspections

    • Interior and exterior finishes

    • Building permit fees

    • HVAC, electric, and plumbing

    • Driveway and deck

    • Framing

Also, you may get an unexpected problem in the process. Therefore, ensure your budget includes some funds for emergencies, as plans tend to backfire.

Step 2: Think About Orientation

You have to decide where to put your house before you even start to design it. It is crucial to choose the proper orientation for your new house.

While planning a house, it’s typical for people to get the room’s placement wrong. For example, if the orientation is incorrect, your home could become excessively hot in the summer and very cold in the winter.

ensure you get as much natural lighting as possible

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So, it would be beneficial if you positioned your family room and bedrooms facing the direction where there will be mild sun penetration in almost all rooms. Also, some sides of the house may be more accessible to more sunlight than other areas. This might highly affect where you position each room.

You may want to consider what you’d like to watch when you look outside through the window.

Step 3: Let Your Home Match Your Lifestyle

When you decide to design your home, you have a chance to create something unique and suitable for your family. Think about the size of the house you want and where your family would congregate.

Check on the amount of storage you want to have, depending on what’s available for storage. If you want additional storage, consider adding that.

List the rooms and major features you’d like your house to have. Some notes you can consider putting down include;

    • How big should the room be

    • Its connection to other rooms

    • Is it important for it to be quite

    • How much natural light would you like to have in it?

    • What type of furniture does the room need

Step 4: Choose Your Style

Although you still don’t have the whole house planned out yet, you need an idea of the style you need. This could mean getting a traditional or a modern design.

Modern houses feature large windows, muted colors, and clean linens, and use concrete or reinforced steel. On the other hand, houses with traditional architecture have tall, and pointed roofs. They also have gables and use materials like wood, brick, stone, or stucco.

You have many other choices besides modern and traditional architectural styles. They include;

    • Cape cod

    • Contemporary

    • Mid-century modern

    • Ranch

    • Cottage

    • Farmhouse

    • Craftsman

    • Country French

    • Colonial

    • Victorian Tudor

Sometimes, you may not even have a name for your preferred style. However, you can take a collection of pictures you like and share them with your architect.

Step 5: Create a Design Brief

Your architect will need a design brief, therefore, be sure to share one with them. Share as much information as you can in your design brief, to enable your architect to be well-equipped to help you build your dream home.

Include the following in your design brief;

a) Budget aNd Time Frame

What’s your budget and time frame? How much money and time are you planning to spend on the project? This will enable your architect to plan accordingly. If you are not sure for how long the project should go on, discuss with your architect to get ideas.

b) Lifestyle

What would you like your new home to include? Describe how you’ll use your new home, and go through your daily routine to write anything relevant. Some questions to ask yourself include;

    • How many people will live there?

    • Do you have pets?

    • Is there anyone in the family with special accessibility requirements?

    • What are your cooling and heating needs?

    • Do you need a garage? For how many vehicles?

    • Are your priorities relaxation or entertainment?

c) Room Requirements

List the rooms you need in your home. Go through the rooms, one at a time, and write the requirements you’d like each to have. Where would you like your bedroom windows to face? And how big should your kitchen be? Ensure you list your needs in order of priority to ensure you get the most important things in case it’s impossible to get everything.

Step 6: Create the Floor Plan

There are two ways through which you can draw floor plans for your builder.

Floor plan

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Method One: Draw by Hand

You can use the old-fashioned way to draw the floor plan of your house. Use a pencil and paper to sketch what you want. Though this may not be precise, your architect will get the idea of what you have in mind.

Method Two: Home Design Software

Using home design software is a more modern way of making house plans. It enables you to outline with precise measurements, with all the doors and windows in the right places.

Home design software also helps you visualize how the rooms will look with furniture inside. This is because you can add 3D furniture models and other elements. However, you may need a guide to choosing the best floor plan software to get you started.

What to Consider When Designing a New Home

a) Avoid Trends

Trends come and go with time, so when designing your new home, you may want to avoid designs that will look old in a few years. Instead, go for what you like.

trends tend to get dated within a short period

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A design that will not look dated in the next five years may be what you need. Ensure you speak to your home builder and go for a classic design that doesn’t date easily.

b) Current and Future Family Needs

One big mistake is to just consider present needs while constructing a home. Although you might currently be a small family with two children, keep the future in mind.

consider your current ad future family needs when designing a home

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How will the home function if the kids are grown and gone? Is it possible that one day your elderly parents may relocate to live with you? Make sure to include design elements that could be modified or useful in the future, not only in the short term, if you intend on remaining in the house for a long time.

c) Open Or Close Floor Plan

Open floor plans are more popular among homeowners than closed ones. In addition to many other advantages, it provides improved air and light circulation throughout the house. Also, it promotes easy traffic flow and provides the house with a much nicer appearance.

open floor plan

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But, you must also consider the size of the property when planning a home. , open areas have a beautiful, luxurious appearance. However, this is not the best option when constructing a home in a small space.

d) Centralized Kitchens

As a common gathering place for the entire family, a centralized kitchen makes day-to-day operations and multitasking much simpler. At any given time, it must be able to meet a variety of requirements. Kids are kept occupied by something as easy as a writing board on one corner of the kitchen island, allowing parents to focus on numerous duties.

centralized kitchens are best for gatherings

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e) Single or Multiple Levels

It is a matter of preference whether your new home has one level or multiple levels. Some people like living on one floor, while others favor the more conventional colonial and cape home designs with bedrooms on the top floor.

would you like your house to have a single level or multiple levels

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A person seeking a fair amount of square footage might only be able to construct a multi-story home on certain quite tiny property locations. The single-level home may be appealing to you if you anticipate retiring and staying in it as you age.

f) Proper Room Size

Consider the room size to ensure you get the right size for your family’s needs, though this will highly depend on the number of rooms and the overall built of the area. Getting the right room size the first time ensures you don’t mess with your plan. This is because, after building, you cannot easily tweak the room sizes.

g) Durability

Another important factor to consider is the durability and quality of the build materials. Whatever you decide to add during the designing process, ensure it is of good quality, as you may not want to replace those items often.

h) Make an Ideal List of Inclusions

What would you like to have in your new home? Make an ideal wish list to ensure you know what your new home will have. Your budget will also affect this choice. For example, if you want a pool, an entertainment area, and a fire pit, but your budget doesn’t allow it, or you don’t have enough space, you will have to choose what you need most and leave the others.

Frequently Asked Questions on New Home Design Ideas

1. How do I design my new house?

To design your new house, you will have to do the following;

    • Conduct a preliminary research

    • Analyze the site

    • Prepare concept designs

    • Development of the design

    • Finalize your design and selection decisions

    • Council approval; involves planning and construction certification

    • Get a professional for blueprints and build

2. What are the best home design trends of 2023?

Among the most popular design ideas of 2023 are natural stone surfaces, bold colors, luxe living, closed floor plans, the 60s and 70s influences, and mixed metal finishes.

3. How can I choose a new home theme?

You can choose a theme depending on your personality. There are various themes you can choose from, and they include;

a) If you are charming, organized, and not dated, contemporary and modern designs are for you. This theme is for people who keep things simple, rigid, and elegant, those who follow trends and love to combine styles.

i) Contemporary-clean straight lines with no curves, open spaces, casual atmosphere, sharp-edged, neutral in trend.

ii) Modern– focuses on minimalism, clean design lines, neutral colors, and environment-friendly materials.

b) Another theme is for the simple who love peace and freedom. They connect to Minimalist and Scandinavian interior design styles. Such people are social, love culture, and family.

i) Minimalist– This is for the simple, clutter-free, and simple. It makes the home feel big and airy.

ii) Scandinavian– In this style, white is the theme color and is enhanced by adding some popping colors. Natural lighting is everything, and furniture is also in natural materials and tones. Blankets and rugs are also essential to keep your space warm and welcoming.

c) If you have a royal personality, traditional and classic themes may be your to-go theme. It is an expensive lifestyle and suitable for big houses like villas.

i) Classic- This is ethnic and classy. It comprises both Greek and Roman interior design. It is never dated and deals with perfect harmony, order, and balance.

ii) Traditional- This is all about keeping old things ‘alive’. It is perfect for those who love symmetry, classic art pieces, and antiques. This theme is also suitable for large spaces like villas.

d) If you have an extrovert, charismatic, and social personality, rustic or industrial may be the best theme for you. Such are for those who love collecting unique things.

i) Rustic- this is for those who love raw, old, unfinished, and industrial pieces. The color pallet is usually warm and neutral shades of brown and grey.

e) People who love nature should opt for Medeterian and Coastal themes. Such people are Methodists, introverts, and artists at the same time. This theme is suitable for small houses.

i) Medeterian- in this theme, you can use the beach, blue, and arch for the interiors

ii) Coastal- in this theme, you need shades of green, cream, blue, and yellow. It gives the home a bright and breezy feel. You can make it more prominent by adding stones, shells, and other natural elements as decor pieces.

4. How do I make a room more elegant?

You can make your room look more elegant by doing the following;

    • Add lighting fixtures

    • Add window treatments

    • Use flowers and plants to decorate

    • Use metallic finishes

    • Try dark paint colors

5. Why is it important to design your house?

Designing your house will give you a sense of accomplishment and contentment. It also helps lift your image in your social circle. Designing your house will as well make you feel comfortable in your new surroundings.

6. How important is house layout?

If you effectively plan your house, you will save a lot of time and money. It provides you with a view of the house and how the floor between spaces will be. You can easily tell how people will move around and how to utilize those spaces even before the house is built. You will be able to conceptualize factors like furniture, windows and doors.

7. Is it possible to design my house without an architect?

You certainly do not need an architect to design your house. However, you can get your customization plans approved to ensure all is well planned. You can also use a builder or home designer to get the results at a lower cost.

8. What is considered a bad layout?

Some examples of poor layouts include adjoining bedrooms, a door-facing staircase, and no views from different rooms. This may bring challenges if you ever plan to sell it because a poor layout will be a turn-off for many customers.

Ian Mutuli

About the author

Ian Mutuli

Founder and Managing Editor of Archute. He is also a graduate architect from The University of Nairobi, Kenya.
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