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What is future-proofing your home?

ByAndrew Bell

Unlike fashion, trends in home design tend to move quite slowly. When you're redesigning your home or building a new one, it's natural to look at what's trending currently. But your house is likely to stand for decades, so keeping an eye to the future is a good way to ensure that it will be functional for years to come. Plus, if and when you decide to sell it, your house will fetch top dollar on the market if you've future-proofed it.

Essentially, future-proofing your home means you are designing it with an eye to current trends that will be sticking around, as well as functionality you may require down the road. Obviously there is no way to predict the future, but if we pay attention to current trends, it's not difficult to imagine what homes will require in the years to come to be considered ready for sale.

Think green
Creating an energy-efficient home is not only good for the environment, but it's also cost effective. And though the upfront costs may be higher, you'll see the payoff in lowered monthly bills for years. For example, harnessing solar energy is becoming an increasingly common way for Australians to reduce their carbon footprint and their electricity costs. In addition, choosing LED lights and energy-efficient appliances will help keep living costs lower.

Smart homes
Technology is constantly making our lives easier in ways that we never expected. Smart home automation is an increasingly popular feature for new houses. Consider exploring these options – soon we can expect everything from lighting and heating to blinds and garage doors to be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

In addition, make sure you're planning for the kind of wiring and cabling that you will likely require as technology is integrated more into our lives. While Wi-Fi and wireless devices are everywhere, you'll always need to use ethernet cables and wiring that can support keeping these electronics up and running.

The future is accessible
If you're hoping to stay in your home for the long haul, it's important to remember that tasks that you find simple now may cause major headaches if your mobility changes. Consider whether a person in a wheelchair or who uses a walking frame can move freely throughout your house. Creating a home where the kitchen, bathroom, shower, and at least one bedroom are available without tackling stairs is a great way to make your home more inclusive for friends and family with limited mobility and ensures you are comfortable in your own home should your own needs change.
In addition to being mindful of where you put stairs, consider using guidelines from an organisation like Livable House Australia, which provides guidelines for home entrances, door width, and bathrooms. Not only will this be helpful for those who use a wheelchair or walking frame, but it will also make your home safer if there are small children around, if you sustain a temporary injury, or for older family members.

Top quality materials
Another place where you may pay more upfront in order to save in the long term is in the building materials themselves. Decades of living puts a lot of wear and tear on a home, and using tough materials that are made to stand up to the stress means you won't have to replace it later on. Consider using high-quality flooring and countertops that will continue to look great with little maintenance throughout the years. Man-made materials are becoming increasingly common as we develop artificial substitutes for common staples like hardwood flooring that require less maintenance and hold up better to the spills of everyday life.

Future-proofing your home is essential to create a place you'll want to stay in for years to come, and to make sure your home retains its value on the market.

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