How to get the most from your room locations and orientation
Hooray! So you have just bought a new two-storey house and are about to move in to make it a 'home'. Adding personal touches is completely your own mission, because only you will know which memorable pieces of furniture to bring or what family heirlooms to decorate the space with. As modern musicians would say, 'you do you.'
But, all that aside, there are still important things to keep in mind with your layout and arrangement that will help the room make the most of its location. In design and construction terms, this layout entirely depends on the block orientation of the house. For example, if it is north or south facing, which areas get the most sunlight, where the best ventilation zones are, and if any wind or sea breeze wafts through.
Being aware of these environmental and structural features will ensure each room is capitalising on such natural goodness. Here's a handy guide to stay on track, with the orientation skills of a scout.
Use windows on north-facing walls strategically
The Australian government's 'Your Home' service is designed to offer advice on using the orientation of a house for energy efficiency. 'Your Home' notes that windows on any north-facing wall are a gold mine for heating and cooling assistance, but you would need to add angled blinds, eaves or shutters to control how much light and heat is let inside.
By doing this, you can trap heat inside during winter, while blocking your home from overheating like a greenhouse in the hot Perth summers. Of course, you'll also be saving money on electricity bills. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, cooling and heating are the biggest energy consumers and cost more than any other household system, typically making up 48 per cent of the power bill.
Cool down west-facing rooms with decor
As both the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and 'Your Home' state, west-facing walls get the strongest sun during the hottest part of the day. In Perth, temperatures can soar pretty high, so cool down these rooms using darker paint colours on the walls to reduce reflected light. Pick cool tones in a palette of blue and green hues.
Don't stuff the space with furniture, rather embrace an open-plan vibe and keep the decor minimalist. This will help keep the room cooler. During our winters, though, you can retreat to this room for some comforting heat at mid-day!
Check the BoM wind rose to find your easy, breezy breeze
The BoM measures wind speed and direction, collecting this data into helpful wind roses on their website. These show the strength and frequency of the wind at any given location. Check these out to see when your house gets the most air, and from which direction. Once you know, plan to use these spaces as lounges or dining rooms to keep ventilation high at crowded occasions such as parties. A wind chime can sing to the tune of the Perth coastal sea breeze, too!