This is particularly the case if you have purchased a new home and want to decorate it to your own tastes. In such cases you can choose your style, begin with the wall-coverings and carpet, and then seek furniture to suit - or do it the other way around. Would it not be best to combine the two and use a furniture design service to select your furniture and home furnishings so that the results looks natural, well matched and balanced?
This article is not your basic primer on selecting your dream home. Nor does it contain the list of items to ask your designer - these things can be found on any designers website or Google search. As important as those items are, what we are going to do here is drill-down into the design a little, bypass the fan-fare and talk about some specific concepts that will really make a difference in your life. Matching your house to your lifestyle begins with an exploration of your needs and wants.
Fortunately, universal design is beginning to take root in modern home design. Ron Mace, Founder and Program Director of the Center for Universal Design, give us the following definition of UD The intent of universal design is to simplify life for everyone by making products, communications, and the built environment more usable by as many people as possible at little or no extra cost. Universal design benefits people of all ages and abilities. Because the principles of universal design are inclusive for people with disabilities, the application of UD in home design is appropriate and addresses many of the needs of people who wish to age in place.
Anticipating the future needs of individuals may prove a little trickier, but we can start by understanding the process of aging. Whether we like to think about growing old or not, it is inevitable, and peoples functional abilities diminish over time. A well designed home will easily adapt to these changing needs and allow people to stay in their homes longer.
For example, the needs of a child and his / her ability to live comfortably in the home are rarely addressed at the design stage. Its necessary to evaluate the childs current abilities and design an environment that works and grows with the child. Some easy adaptive design elements would include adjustable shelves and rods in the closet. As the child grows, the shelves and rods can be moved to better accommodate their reach. Appliances present a similar situation as it is necessary for the controls to be accessible. Front mounted controls on washing machines and dryers enable their use. Safety also comes into play. A child trying to use a microwave placed overhead is a recipe for disaster! Of course, the above example is very simple, but it illustrates the point that design needs to be done from the perspective of the individual and his / her ability to carry out daily routines in the home. This is why a good designer will perform an assessment of the client and specify the needed design modifications.