Handy tips on choosing your new build’s fixtures and fittings
Building a home starts with researching what design you want.
After you’ve visited some displays, carefully considered the floorplans and made your decision, it’s time for the real fun to begin — choosing your fittings and finishes.
This is where you’ll piece together various design elements — inside and out — to create a look and feel that matches your lifestyle and shapes your home’s personality.
Selections are made before the building contract is signed so your choices can be accurately costed into the final price.
Remember, though, any changes you make after this may have extra costs attached. Take your time with decision-making to avoid unnecessary changes and expense down the track.
Stephanie Atanasovski, senior interior designer at Porter Davis’s World of Style ID Studio, said it was important to note some external design choices might also require council approval before the drafting and planning stages.
Be prepared to spend quite a bit of time with your builder’s colour consultant when you eventually do sit down to make your final selections.
G.J. Gardner Homes Victoria/Tasmania display home co-ordinator Rhiannon Tsakmakis said an appointment could take up to three hours.
“Some clients come with a clear picture of what they want; others need more guidance,” she said.
“These days, we find people are starting to look at colours and fixtures even before selecting a home design.”
Most builders have a set of standard inclusions that come with the design of the home, including fixtures such as taps, baths, benchtops, cabinetry, tiling and floor coverings. You can stick with the standard options or opt to upgrade some of them.
To make the selection process less overwhelming, research and familiarise yourself with different styles and colour pairings.
Ms Atanasovski advised visiting display homes to see how everything worked together, and to “absorb the different styles and find what’s right for you”.
She also suggested using online and social media platforms such as design blogs, Pinterest and Instagram to inspire choices.
The Porter Davis World of Style showroom provides another good source of inspiration, with lots of fittings and finishes on display, some showcased in room setups.
Ms Tsakmakis suggested bringing photos to your appointment of looks you liked as a starting point.
“It can be an overwhelming experience if you come to your colour-selections appointment underprepared,” she noted.
Be mindful that colour extends beyond just paint. Ms Tsakmakis said you’ll also make colour choices for a range of internal and external features, including benchtops, cabinetry, tapware, floor coverings, tiling, roofing, fascias and even gutters.
Carefully consider your finishes and colour palettes, for everything from your walls and cabinetry to your floors and tiling, to maintain a consistent look throughout the home.
“Don’t jump from room to room and start changing the look and feel,” Ms Tsakmakis said.
“Think whether you want warmer colours, such as browns and cream, or something monochrome with blacks, whites and grey, then make sure these flow through each room in your home.”
She said the builder, for some homes, also offered preselected colour schemes that matched current trends and helped ease the decision-making process.
“(But) for designs where the client chooses all the selections, our colour consultants will go through each item and offer expert advice on creating a colour scheme that flows,” Ms Tsakmakis said.
Ms Atanasovski said the two things people spent a long time considering were the kitchen and flooring — a good idea as they were probably two of the biggest investments and key focal points.
She said exterior colour selections could also be considerably tricky and time-consuming.
“It’s harder to look at samples of the different materials your facade can be made up of and imagine it across a whole exterior of the home,” she said.
“We recommend driving around prior to a colour-selections appointment and having a look at different homes’ colour schemes so you get a better idea of the look you’re after.”
Splash the cash
So, where should you be spending the most money?
“This really depends on the size and style of your home, but as a general rule, you should invest in quality fittings for anything you touch multiple times a day,” Ms Atanasovski said.
“We recommend buying the best quality you can afford for items such as taps, handles, floor coverings and switches, as these are the things that get the most wear and tear.”
She said to be realistic with costings and “work within the parameters of your budget”.
■ Matt-black fittings and finishes, including tapware and door handles
■ Brushed-gold finishes
■ Thin, sleek stone benchtops in kitchens, bathrooms and laundries
■ Handleless cabinetry
■ Colour accents in dusty sage greens, ocean blues and mixed greys
Source: Stephanie Atanasovski, Porter Davis World of Style ID Studio