Home Interior Design

Making Auckland Homes Look Beautiful & Adding Value

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1. Second hand, not second best

By using second – hand materials and fittings you’re saving costs and helping the environment. However, not all second-hand materials will achieve this aim-using second-hand flooring may result in a great aged patina, but by the time the boards are de-nailed and tidied up, they will cost more than new flooring. So, choose second-hand, but choose wisely.

2. Home hardware
Bathroom furniture (such as taps and mixes) and door furniture and hardware are more expensive items. You pay more for two things – quality and style. Like it or not, designer hardware costs more because of its name and style, just as much as for an increase in quality.

3. It all adds up
On any building project, the basic formula is: Quantity + Quality = Cost. To meet your budget you need to carefully balance quantity and quality. For example, 200 square metres of sandstone flooring will cost much more than the same area finished in sheet vinyl. Also, high-quality sanitary ware, bathroom hardware and light fittings will blow your budget much faster than the same items from more modest product ranges.

4. Set a budget
The secret to good budgeting is breaking down your project into the smallest possible units. A lot of small estimates will always be more accurate than a few large ones. A per-square-metre approach is seldom accurate enough. Instead, estimate each of the elements making up the work – floors, walls, windows, doors, cabinets and so on. Then add expensive items such as vanity units, showers and baths and light fittings separately.

5. Keep it open
While being able to close a door on noisy children – or to hide a messy room – can be essential, every door you add costs money. Consider leaving the main living spaces free flowing and open. As long as appropriate ventilation is provided, there is also no need to close off the kitchen.

6. Straightforward Site access
If your builder has to bring materials down a long, narrow right of way, or if on-site space for storing materials or for site huts is restricted, then costs will inevitably rise.

7. Bob the builder
There is and old business adage that says you should only employ people you like. With building and builders, this is doubly important, as inevitably problems will arise and will need to be solved. An amicable. Trusting relationship will get you through relatively unscathed.

8. Should I design and build myself?
DIY can save you money, but the emphasis is on “can”. If you only think you can does part or all of the design and/or building work, then your “sweat equity’ will be wasted. Choose only those parts of the work that you are confident you can do well. Try labouring for your builder – or save them time by doing the running around.

9. Inside out
Outside walls cost more to construct than inside walls. A square space of 25qm has only 20m of external wall, while a rectangular space of the same area requires 25m of external wall. That’s a 25 per cent increase in wall costs.

10. Finishes
This is one area where DIY can really save you money. The obvious DIY task is painting, but don’t scrimp on good preparation. If you have plasterboard walls and ceilings, employ an expert to do the stopping work. And cheap paint and paint brushes are just that – cheap.

11. Design power
A great design by a good designer will add value and save you money. Choose your designer carefully and provide them with a proper brief, which sets out what you want and how much you want to spend. Work closely with your designer as the design develops, continually questioning the likely cost.

12. Built-ins
The famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright used build-in furniture and fittings for one reason – because they saved space. One of the greatest space-savers are window seats, whether used for general seating, for lounging in the sun, or as part of a dining room setting. Try it and see how much space you save.

13. High ceilings = higher costs
Remember the third dimension – ceiling height. While a higher-than-normal ceiling height can be appealing, high and sloping ceilings add wall area, which will also add cost.

14. Keep it simple
Simple shapes are quicker, easier, and cheaper to build than complex ones. Just try building a round or hexagonal house and see how the cost will skyrocket. Also, a simple construction method – such as a straightforward timber truss roof – will help keep costs under control.

15. Flat, not sloping
A flat site will always be cheaper to build on than one, which is sloping. You have more options in terms of the ground-floor construction methods; you avoid expensive excavation work and the cost of unused basement space.

16. Lifecycle costs
Consider lifecycle costs when building or renovation. It’s really quite simple. Say you repaint your home for $10,000, using the very best of materials and preparation techniques, and it lasts for 10 years. alternatively, do the same job using cheap materials and less rigorous preparation – for, say, $7,500 – and you’ll need to repaint after only five years. Makes sense.

17. Suburbs vs city central
Building on a small inner-city site, rather than a more open suburban site, will increase cost. Boundary walls require fireproofing and will be more difficult to construct if access is difficult. It may also be necessary to add expensive skylights and possibly artificial ventilation for internal service rooms.

18. Material costs
It may sound obvious, but buying and using cheaper building materials will save you money. If you use timber paneling rather than plasterboard on walls, or expensive carpet rather than as cheaper brand, then costs must be higher. Look out for bargains and specials at your local builder’s merchants. You can often find higher-quality materials and fittings at a significantly lower price.

19. Service it
An old design rule is to group all service rooms – bathrooms, kitchen and laundry – together to reduce the cost of supply and waste pipe work. This not only saves money, but also shorter service runs (for hot and cold water supply and ventilation ducts, for example) are more efficient.
20. Kitchens and bathrooms

These are the high-cost centres on any house project, whether it’s a new space, or when altering an existing room. If you’re using per square metre costs for budgeting, set the amount much higher than for other equivalent bedroom and living spaces.

21. Window openings
Smaller, and especially narrower, window and exterior door openings are cheaper to construct than a wide expanse of glass. Smaller individual windowpanes and sashes will also require thinner glass and lighter frames. Having more solid wall area also makes wall bracing simpler and cheaper. And, while larger expanses of glass can be attractive, rooms can be difficult to furnish and more expensive to keep cool in summer and warm in winter.

Where To From Here?
Hopefully, this report has given you some insight into a small part of decorating your home. It may also have prompted a whole new set of questions.

To get all of the answers you need, simply give me, Kristina Cope, a call on (09) 578-0704 or (021)-641-530 to schedule your free, no-hassle, straight talk consultation. I will arrange a time convenient for you, and it shouldn’t take long at all.

In about 30 minutes, you’ll receive more time and money saving interior design, decorating information than most people learn in a lifetime!

By now, you’ve probably figured out that I am not like most Interior Designers or Architects. (I am qualified in both fields). I concentrate on providing quality information to those who need it.

“But why would you just give away all of this valuable information?”

I know that you may be asking that question in your mind. I know it’s not what most Interior Designers do, and it may seem a little odd. It’s just that I have learned that good things happen when you concentrate on really helping people.

Yes, I make my living consulting to clients as their interior designer, and yes, it would be my pleasure to work for you to transform your house into a home you love to bring friends, business associates, and guests’ home to.


A half-hour is all it takes to get the information you need to make smart decisions for your future. We'll discuss what you want to accomplish, and look at the different options that you have.

Well, I’ve said just about all I can say. The next step is up to you. As I said before, there is absolutely no cost or obligation attached to your free consultation.

Pick up the phone and call me now, while you are thinking about it. I know that you may be a little skeptical, but one phone call isn’t much to risk, especially when you could save yourself lots of aggravation and thousands of dollars!

You can reach me at (09) 578-0704 or (021)-641-530, or send me an email with some suggested times and dates you are available to get together with me.

I look forward to hearing from you,

Kristina Cope DipInt, BArch
Interior Designer
P.S. Procrastination keeps more people from ever reaching their dreams than anything else. Don’t miss out on information that can make all the difference!