If you’ve been lucky enough to get away over the Christmas break and stay in a beautiful holiday house, don’t fret now that it’s over. There’s more to take away from your holiday than happy memories and a fading tan – such as cool design concepts that can be cleverly incorporated into a new home build.

Here are 6 lessons holiday houses teach us about smart layout and design:

1. Minimal carpet

Holiday houses by the beach often use floorboards and tiling, rather than carpet. This is because it would be a nightmare trying to extract all of the sand out of the carpet fibres that are brought in by people and wind!

To soften and break up floor areas, quite often you’ll find nice rugs that can be shaken out, and woven mats that allow the sand and dirt to fall through onto the floor where it can be swept or vacuumed.

Carpet does absorb sound, so in rooms with only hard wall and floor surfaces, you may want to consider fabric lounges, ottomans, curtains, and even acoustic ceiling or artwork materials that can minimise echoes and reduce sound.

2. Movable shading

Shading that can be adjusted to one side or the other, or retracted as needed, is a great addition to any house.

This is because when building designers work out the level of shading that a house needs (i.e.: eaves overhang), they base their calculations on average historical climate data. If the weather doesn’t follow these averages, the house can begin to feel a little hot.

Adding design elements such as sliding louvre panels allows you to adjust the level of sun penetrating the house, or certain outdoor spaces, at various times throughout the day.

movable shading

3. Ventilation

Coastal houses usually get a beautiful afternoon sea breeze, so you’ll often find lots of windows and doors that allow the air to circulate.

Although we may not get a “coastal breeze” in Canberra, enhanced ventilation is definitely a design concept that can be cleverly utilised – and will help you pick up that lovely cool breeze that often sweeps through from the mountains.

Designing your house with additional high windows can help move air through the house, and create a thermal current that draws hot air out and brings cool air in.

4. Durable materials and fixtures

When building your new home, remember that not all walls need to be plasterboard, especially in high traffic areas.

Take a little inspiration from holiday houses and consider plywood timber, fibre cement or ceramic tile. Often, these can be more impact-resistant, and break up the monotony of painted plasterboard (particularly if you have large walls).

5. Views and focal points

If a holiday house has a view, you can guarantee there’ll be a window facing it! So before designing your home, consider the aspect of your house, and whether there are any external views that can be capitalised on with strategically placed windows.

If you don’t have views, create internal focal points using design elements such as an open staircase, double height void, internal courtyard, or even a window seat.

effective shading

6. Smaller footprint

You’d be surprised by the smallness of spaces happily inhabited by families on holidays.

Though you may put the extra patience down to a carefree holiday mindset, it’s interesting to think about whether or not your actual home requires as much space as you think it does.

So before designing a new home, consider:

  • Do we really need 6 bedrooms?
  • How large a kitchen do we really need?
  • Do we need more storage space, or less “stuff”?

Don’t go overboard, but it’s worth remembering how “cosy” holiday houses can be, and that we may not need as much space as we think we do.

And those are our 6 layout and design lessons from holiday houses! So the next time you stay in a holiday house, take a moment to look around at all the things you love about the design. Are there elements you could incorporate into your current house? Or, if you’re building a new house, are there aspects you can make part of the building design and inclusions?

To chat with Robert and Danny about building your new home, call Rosin Bros on 6247 4799 or email info@rosinbros.com.au.