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How to build a low-cost home in 10 easy steps

Amy Buxton Amy Buxton
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If you assume that building a house has to be a complicated and costly affair, we understand your concerns. But there is another way to go about things! Ask any architect and they'll tell you that you can design, build and finish a home in a far more economical way, if you follow some simple steps—and we're going to tell you exactly what they are, right now! If you've been considering a build project, we think our advice will quash any nerves or doubts you may have, so let's find out how you can save money and still get a dream home!

1. Decide on a style for your facade.

First things first, you need to make a decision about the style of home that you actually want, as that will dictate elements such as materials used, size and finish. If you fail to plan, you plan to fail, as they say, so have a concrete design and don't deviate once the project has begun.

2. Take accurate measurements.

Of course, accurate measurements are vital, but they are doubly-so when it comes to certain elements. Windows and doors need to be airtight and snug, so don't estimate or take chances with cavity measurements. In fact, always make sure that a professional collates these for you.

3. Level the terrain.

There is absolutely no point in trying to start a self-build project until your land has been perfectly levelled and prepared. If you do try to plough in without attending to this step, you'll probably find that things take longer than they should, which means that costs will increase.

4. Install hardwearing floors.

With the structure of your new home erected, it's time to start thinking about the interior, and this is where you need to maintain a tight grip on your finances! Think about your vital elements to start with and focus on them, for example, flooring. You want something hardwearing, cost-effective and beautiful. It might sound like an impossible trifecta, but it's not! You just have to shop around.

5. Decide how to finish the interior walls.

Your interior walls are always going to need some attention, but how you finish them can have a big impact on costs and time frames. Polished concrete is a popular modern choice, that gives an almost industrial, unfinished look, but standard plaster is a classic for a reason!

6. Bath or shower?

You might be surprised to know that bathrooms are the spaces that can quickly drain financial resources. Expensive hardware, pricey suite items and waterproof finishes all cost money, so it's important to make a decision as to whether you are going to be a bath or shower household. Choosing one, instead of both, will save a lot of your budget.

7. Make small spaces work to your advantage.

Even if you plan a home build to an ultra detailed degree, there will always be small pockets of space that seem to slip through the net, but don't let them go to waste! Use these smaller spaces for practical applications and you'll free up larger areas, elsewhere.

8. Pick a harmonious colour palette.

The last thing you want to do is build a beautiful home and then ruin it with the wrong interior colours, as it will be time consuming and costly to fix an error of that magnitude. If you're unsure, stick to neutrals, to start with, and build up from there with bolder accessories and furniture.

9. Don't skimp on the kitchen.

If there is one room that you shouldn't cut corners with, it's your kitchen, as it will be used every day and has a very specific function to uphold. When it comes to things like kitchen cabinets, it's a good rule of thumb to remember that if you buy cheap, you will usually end up buying twice, so you might want to invest the first time around.

10. Maximise comfortable spaces.

With everything built, installed and finished perfectly, make sure that you maintain the comfortable spaces that you wanted to include in the first place. Don't add in more furniture than you need, keep the air and natural light flowing and most of all, enjoy your new home. And all the extra budget money you managed to save!

For more building tips, take a look at this Ideabook: 6 bungalows that everyone can build.

Do you feel a little more equipped to take on a house build now?
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