The most common home design flaws and how to fix them

City living comes with its advantages – a Ramly burger stall at most 7-Eleven stores, for instance – but they also come with their downsides.

If you have a stuffy room or insufficient space, some of these tricks might help you.

Poor circulation

Condominium balcony with sea view from skyscraper building - Pen

© Farizun Amrod Saad | 123rf

In order to keep intruders out, we tend to lock ourselves in. That means placing less importance on windows or keeping them shut at all times. This results in poor air circulation, especially for apartment dwellers. You may not think that this is problematic, until you realise that poor circulation could be the reason why you need to crank up your air conditioner, and your electricity bills in turn.

The Solution:

To improve circulation, open your windows or keep your balcony door ajar. If you’re worried about safety, try subtle, modernised window or door grilles. They keep the bad guys out while allowing air flow.  

If you’re in the construction phase of your home, then consider the orientation of your windows – have them face the south instead of east or west where you might get direct sunlight that overheats your home. Read our article on keeping your house cool.

For a quick fix, get an air-purifying indoor plant. These won’t fix air circulation directly, but will at least help you breathe easier.

Too much storage

Like having too little storage, having too much of it causes clutter. Unused cabinetry takes up prime real estate in the home. Sometimes, it’s not a case of storage you won’t use, but too much of a storage type you don’t need. For example, you may need more wardrobe space for clothes, but what you have instead are in-built living room cabinets that you have no use for.

The solution:

Modify and repurpose! If you have a walk-in closet and not that many pairs of jeans, then convert your walk-in closet into a vanity space. Instead of taking up space in the bedroom, you can place your vanity table in this room.

As for in-built cabinets you don’t use, discuss with a custom cabinet provider or carpenter about modifying it. Perhaps convert an unused cabinet into a pull-out ironing board or table – get creative!

Floor plans that don’t work for you

Construction planning drawings

© Сергей Мартиросов | 123rf

Location and price are big contributors to your home purchase decision, but don’t neglect considering how you will use your space. You might think that a 3-bedroom terrace house near your workplace is ideal, but it isn’t if your floor plan doesn’t suit your lifestyle.

The solution:

Think about how long you plan to live in that home and plan for a growing family, aging residents, and even furry friends! Think beyond the number of rooms and plan for things like use of space and bathroom accessibility.

If planning for the next 20 years or so is too big of a headache, hire an interior designer who can advise you on designing a home that’s right for you and future you.

Idealistic rooms

It could be a gym that never gets used or a reading room that’s left to collect dust, but unused rooms built for a function you don’t use is an opportunity cost.

The solution:

Instead of building rooms you think you’d like to use, keep your spare rooms empty when you move in. Live in your space and see what you need instead of what you think you might want.

Having lived in your space for a while, you might find that you hogging the TV in the living room every weekend night to watch your favourite football team is kind of impractical because how will your partner keep up with the Kardashians? Once you’ve found a need, then dedicate separate spaces and rooms to fulfill these needs.

Dead end spaces

Another oft-neglected consideration is traffic – think about a room dedicated just for the dining room, or a living room that isn’t anywhere near the dining area. Traffic in shared spaces is important to keep them open for entries, exits, and interaction.

The solution:

Instead of blocking off common rooms with walls and doors, create doorways, glass partitions or half walls. That way, you keep the spaces separated while allowing two-way traffic.

This article was originally published as The most common home design flaws and how to fix them by and is written by Charmaine Kon.