22 tips for a cheaper home

by Monday , March 16 2015 15:10

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Building a home today is almost like the old story of the sage and cat. Once a holy man who was meditating in his ashram was relentlessly disturbed by a cat; he tied up the cat before doing his puja and this soon became a routine. After the sage died, this practice continued and a cat was tied up, every time there was a puja in the ashram!

Wealthy people do quite a lot of things when building their homes and others are ready to splurge by copying the same things, most often taking loans. Expenditure goes beyond their control and they are left with nothing but huge debts. Useless rules are set, and everyone foolishly believes that this is the norm.

Experts feel that you can build your dream home and still ensure that it stays within a budget, if you have the will power to take some bold decisions. Say goodbye to unnecessary and exorbitant costs without compromising on the beauty element with these tips from Veedu, a Vanitha supplement.

Do you want a dusty recessed ceiling?

A recessed or holed ceiling for installing LED lighting can help to keep the heat low, make the room appear more spacious and also for cushioning sounds. Since this is an expensive addition, if there are other methods to achieve these benefits, then it is better to do away with it. The lighting can be given a diffused effect by hiding it behind interior accessories or behind cupboards. The cove lights used in recessed ceilings gather a lot of dust. The hanging lighting used in bedrooms can be a nuisance while sleeping. In certain cases when there is a beam running along a ceiling, the aesthetics may be affected. A recessed ceiling can help here, but otherwise it is just too costly.

Cornices are old-fashioned?

Cornices are added to the ceiling just as a design element, and it is not useful in any manner. The cutworks or decorations on the cornice will get dusty with time. Avoiding cornices will help to save on the costs, and again cornices look too retro in contemporary and modern homes.

Maintenance of double heights is a bother

Having rooms with a double – height ceiling is a fashion nowadays. But nobody thinks about whether there is any benefit to this element. A double height ceiling is usually given for a better elevation and for reducing the heat inside the home. If the ventilation is adequate, then there is no point in a double height for cooling the room. It is difficult to clean and maintain higher rooms, especially the corner areas and the air outlets.

Show kitchens are just for show?

Apart from an actual working kitchen, homes today come with a Show Kitchen and a separate work area too. It is as if there are unspoken rules that there has to be at least 2 kitchens in a house. A kitchen is converted into some sort of a Kitchen complex that can include the show kitchen where no work happens, a working kitchen, a pantry, a store room and work area too. The cabinets, flooring, furniture etc, all just add up to the expenses. What‘s important is to just keep the one kitchen that you have neat and tidy. If there is a small work area adjacent to this, then it will be sufficient. If there aren’t many family members, then a show kitchen is not of any use actually.

Wooden flooring is beautiful, but...

It is a popular trend to give wooden flooring in some parts of the room or as a whole. This is mainly just for the beauty quotient and is extremely expensive too. It can be a huge hassle to keep out the moisture from wooden flooring and maintenance is not easy. It is better to go for less costly flooring alternatives that are easy to maintain.

Pavement Tiles are a status symbol!

Once the house is completed, it is almost a must among Malayalees to go for expensive pavement tiles throughout the front yard. We just think of the beauty element and not about the harm that this does to the environment or to the ground water levels. Weeds or the rowdy grass can be kept away too with the tiles. How easy! These tiles will never let water seep back into the earth and in a way is responsible for all the heat generated. The rain water that falls on paved tiles just flow away and this leads to water scarcity. Think of how much money you can save if you decide to not go for pavement tiles.

Are Teak doors & windows safer?

If all the windows and doors or at least the main door of a house are not of Teak wood, then Malayalees loses sleep! When the design of the home is modern style, then there are instances when owners end up painting the Teak doors white to go with the design theme. Then why not go for a cheaper option of wood? There are wrong notions that Teak wood doors are more secure and stronger. For an intruder, a door is just a door and if it has to be broken down then it will be! So it is wiser to go for less costly wood.

More number of rooms is just a burden!

For an average family, a living space of 800 sq ft is more than enough. If the members are more or depending on usage, some modifications can be done to this figure. Making homes unnecessarily huge in size with more number of rooms than what the family requires is just increasing costs. For a family of 3, two bedrooms will do. If there is a chance for an extra member or for regular guests, then another room can be included. It is smarter to build or design a multi-purpose room that can be used for various needs in a versatile manner.

Pattern works can burn a hole in the pocket!

It is very common to give design works with a wood finish on the ceiling or to the walls. But too much of a good thing can be bad. If there are any flaws that need to be covered up on the ceiling then this can be opted for. Otherwise this is just another unnecessary design element that can very well be avoided.

Glass is expensive and heat attracting too

Glass is another quintessential element especially in contemporary homes. Glass doors, glass partitions, glass around the courtyard, glass above the pergola, glass replacing windows and so on. Toughened glass is indeed an expensive addition, but it is certainly not suitable for our kind of climate. Unlike in foreign countries, in our country glass will only increase the heat inside a home. If you can’t do away with glass, and it is mandatory, then the direction of the sun’s rays has to be taken into account before adding this.

Sunshade on all four sides?

Our climate is one where there is ample rain and sunlight. It is important to protect the windows from both these elements. But having long sunshades all around the house is an utter waste of bricks, mortar, cement, tiles and paint. It is enough to have sunshades just over the windows and this can be done using iron frames or roofing sheets. This is a cheaper alternative and can be designed to suit the theme of the house.

Dark paints to brighten homes?

Building a home is like a celebration for many and what is a celebration without colours! When you have the idea for having different rooms in different colour themes, it is ideal to keep in mind the cost factor. Darker shades of paint are more expensive than lighter ones. Even without splashing about every possible colour, you can make your home pretty and there is nothing like the dramatic effect of white. And again you can play with colour combinations when you choose the furnishing for that brightening effect.

Even without a putty finish...

Numerous coats of paint and on top of that a putty finish is common place these days for new homes. For different paint workers, the number of paint coats differs and there is no universal rule that they follow for this. Apart from the fact that this can be terribly expensive, there is no benefit whatsoever. In most cases, a putty finish is not needed at all.

Are light fittings to waste electricity?

Plenty of light fittings for a single room, like warm lights, cool lights, chandelier, spot lights etc. What is the point of having all of it in a single room, except for power bills that will no doubt sky-rocket and energy wastage? Most of the fittings remain unused. Before making the room decorative with umpteen numbers of light fittings, it is a good idea to reflect on the future.

Walls or a Fort!

Large compound walls with elaborate patterns are another extravagant element when constructing a home. When walls go up in height, the house are hidden from view, the circulation of wind is affected, the heat within the house shoots up, expenses go overboard and not to forget the secrecy factor. When budgets need to be considered, then opt for less costly Jally works or GM Pipes for building walls. Why, even empty plastic bottles can be used as fillers for walls.

Heavy curtain for the theatre effect!

Curtains are another item that calls for huge expenses. Outer curtain, inner curtain, and to top it ornate hangings or tinsel like decorations, that all together can give the effect of being in a cinema theatre. These are very hard to clean and maintain. Simple curtains are the best for homes. There are many ready-made curtains in various patterns available in shops today. Go for lighter materials that can be easily washed and dried too.

Not going as per plan can be pricey

As the works on the house progresses, many are waylaid by friends or relatives with countless suggestions or modifications. When the plan is tampered with, costs can go super high. The renovation or demolishing is an added expense and home budgets are crossed.

Making exteriors matter...

The innate need behind every home owner is to make all those who see his home go Wow! For this drama, he will go to any extent to make the exteriors impressive. Cement works, mural works, and cladding, concrete works etc., are just some of the exorbitant methods. It is good to remember that the best decoration for a home is the people living in it and their nature.

Showpieces at a museum?

Filling a home with artefacts and decorative articles from abroad can turn it into a museum or zoo if not in good taste. Outrageous vases, bowls, crystal and what not. How about personalizing and including instead, certain stuff created or designed by your family itself? Unnecessary showpieces will only take away the charm of the house making it seem less homely for those living in it and for others too.

A Lawn in the place of trees?

Nobody realizes that landscaping for the new home can be done without getting rid of the trees or plants in the front yard. This is not easy to maintain without the help of a gardener and requires large amounts of water. With no trees surrounding the home, the heat can be direct and unbearable. Consider having a garden with indigenous varieties of plants or vegetation instead of a lawn.

With excessive panelling...

There are many ways to beautify the walls of a home, but excessive panelling can appear very ugly in some cases. To bring about a traditional feel, there is a tendency to do wood panelling or panelling with materials that closely resembles wood. Doing so will only give a comical effect. A concrete wall covered up in fake wood panels in the main hall or for the pillars will in no way look pleasing.

Try to limit the walls & beams

Adding beams or pergola to improve the exterior look of the house is a highlight in modern houses. Such make–up for the home will only add to the artificiality. Simplicity is definitely the best route to take. At the same time unnecessary corners or walls will also increase the costs. If it can be done away with; don’t bother about it!

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