When most people go from living with roommates to living alone, the thing they look forward to the most is having full control over the TV remote. But New York City–based designer Elisa Baran’s client, a woman in her late 20s, had different indulgences on her mind when she bought a run-of-the-mill split-level house on Long Island and tasked Baran with turning the space into a wabi-sabi retreat inspired by her travels to France and Italy. The direction led Baran to covering each and every one of the interior walls in limewash paint. “I really wanted to envelop the house in this cozy, textural feeling,” says the designer.
The trick was nailing the look. Baran started out with JH Wall Paints’s 103 (a beigey hue) and 101 (a very white shade) but quickly realized as the painter was applying the treatment that it was getting lost on the wall. “It was looking flat,” she recalls. Eventually, the designer ended up texting with the founder of the brand, who suggested she swap 101 for 114, a dark brown tone. It ended up being perfect. “Paint is so tricky and can play with your mind every time of the day, depending on how the light hits it,” notes Baran. “Although a professional is not required, to me it’s necessary if you’re a perfectionist. The left-to-right wrist technique for application is an art in itself.” The homeowner’s new beginnings were made even sweeter by these four additional upgrades.
Ax the Attic
When Baran first stepped into the space, she was struck by how dark it was. “There was no light whatsoever and there weren’t even blinds or curtains covering the windows,” she recalls. Blowing out the attic space right off the bat (the homeowner didn’t have any real use for the nook) made the 1,500-square-foot home feel instantly bigger. The newly open-concept kitchen gained 20-foot-high ceilings alone. In the living area, custom curtains from the Shade Store in brown wool make the space feel super-intimate.
Exercise Your Intuition
One top request from the homeowner was to carve out a workout zone. Once the attic was gone and everything opened up, Baran followed her gut and turned the den into yoga-Pilates heaven. “She can walk down from her bedroom, grab her coffee, and then she’s only six steps away from the gym,” she says. Opting for hardwood floors in this area was key to its function—the hardy surface can stand up to sweat and water, and it won’t dent easily when heavy weights hit the ground. Baran carved out storage for her client’s equipment by tearing out the two lower cabinets (once designated for TV gear) and had her contractor plop in some salvaged wood planks.
Don’t Be a Square
Baran turned the once-squared-off threshold leading to the bedroom hallway into a focal point simply by changing its shape. “It needed that fun element to make it feel like her home,” she says of turning it into an arch (by adding two curved wood pieces in the corner and drywalling the whole thing, she achieved the perfect swoop). The designer then had a local metalworker create a custom iron railing to complement the rounded edges.
Mix High and Low Versions of the Same Stone
Instead of going for custom vanity bases, Baran bought premade floating walnut ones from Wayfair. Her hack: Top them with high-end travertine from ABC Stone so they look completely bespoke. “Just read the reviews of whatever you’re buying and make sure you can return the item if it doesn’t end up working out before purchasing!” she warns. Buying slabs of travertine for the kitchen counters and backsplash, plus the bathroom vanities and shower bench, was no small purchase. So Baran helped make up for the expense by switching to more affordable travertine tiles for the main shower walls. In the guest bathroom, she embraced a rare moment of color with affordable red tiles from TileBar that shipped quickly.
The thing about buying a house for yourself during a pandemic is that you get lonely fast. So while Baran’s client’s intention was to live there alone (or list the property and reap the ROI), she’s now on the hunt for roomies—and the search won’t take long.
Last week I featured a kitchen renovation with a white tile backsplash where I chose an offset vertical tile installation instead of a more traditional horizontal staggered pattern. I’ve used a variety of white tile mosaics in past bathroom remodels and kitchen renovations because they’re clean and timeless, but I’m always looking for ways to mix it up, make it modern, and avoid the ubiquitous plain subway tile look.
Below are four fresh and fabulous ways to use white tile in bathrooms and kitchens in a more contemporary way.
Opt for a vertical stacked or offset installation or a classic herringbone pattern.
A modern dining room chandelier can transform a space into a luxury setting. The lighting style offers grandeur and elegance associated with wealthy living. Chandeliers come in many styles and designs, so finding one that’s perfect for your home can be challenging.
Chandeliers are a dining room feature. They’re designed to provide ambiance while serving as a focal point. To help you find the right dining room chandelier, we’ve made a quick list of the best ones on the market today.
Best Modern Dining Room Chandeliers
To give you a head start, we’ve compiled a list of our personal favorites for you.
The Boyette evokes a minimalistic dining room lighting vibe without sacrificing style or function. This single-tier lighting piece features three metal, brass-finished arms, each one holding a clear glass globe shade at the end. Each globe is made of hand-blown glass and is designed to hold a 60W candelabra bulb.
You’ll appreciate the adjustable rod that allows you to hang the chandelier as low as 13.5 inches above the table or as high as 70.38 inches, as well as its suitability for sloped ceilings and the dimmability of its ambient lighting.
The Albany 12-Light Sputnik Sphere Chandelier is an elaborate, clean-looking design. It features several arms going in different directions, with some arms capable of holding 60W bulbs. The arms are in no way chaotic, and are rather symmetrical to provide an appealing silhouette.
A metal frame and brass finish rounds out the appearance, complementing the kitchen décor. The model is height-adjustable (27.5” to 75.5”), dimmable, ideal for sloped ceilings, and available in three colors and four size options.
The Boyd is a prime example of modern chandelier designs, featuring a metal geometric cage that houses a row of four 60W candelabra bulbs. This piece is available in two finish options and the lights are dimmable when hooked up to a dimmer switch.
Like the other chandeliers on our list, this one is good for use on sloped ceilings and is height-adjustable. For a chandelier with a clean geometric frame and an eye-catching design, look no further.
Clean, sleek, smooth, refined. These are all words that perfectly describe the Connors Chandelier. This model marries an elaborately designed metal geometric cage with a no-frills approach to lighting: LED bulbs (which are included, by the way!). These LED bulbs produce around 1260 Lumens for superior yet efficient lighting, and you’re sure to appreciate their ambient light day after day.
This chandelier is height-adjustable (24.5” to 69”), good for use with sloped ceilings, and available in 4 color options (French gold, chrome, copper, and gun metal). This one is a bit on the pricey side, but you get what you pay for: a stunning focal piece for your modern dining room.
The Azuela Chandelier does something a little different from the other models on our list thus far: it goes vertical! This chandelier is composed of twelve vertical arms attached to a circular body, with each arm holding a 40W candelabra bulb (not included) on both ends. The arms and body are crafted of steel with a brass finish and do not include shades.
The lights can be dimmed if hooked up to a dimmer switch, you can adjust the height of this chandelier from 21” to 68” to suit your needs, and it works well with sloped ceilings.
The Cortes Chandelier may just be simplicity at its finest. Its steel arms are multi-directional yet still form a cohesive—and decisively simple—shape that adds just a touch of elegance to any dining room. Each of its four arms holds a 60W bulb (not included) on each end, which provides a unique ambient lighting experience.
This model is height-adjustable (22.5” to 46.5”), dimmable, UL-listed, can be used with sloped ceilings, and suitable for use in damp environments. To top it off, you can buy this stunning chandelier in one of five finish options: satin brass, brushed nickel, polished brass, white, and Scandinavian.
This one features a tripod design, in which each leg has brushed bronze accents. The light is adorned with a transparent glass shade and a 4W LED 420-Lumen candelabra bulb.
Its double-tiered designed provides ambient lighting from multiple directions, while its iron frame boasts an attractive gold finish that will surely catch some “oohs” and “aahs” from guests. This unit is height-adjustable (27” to 57”), ETL- and UL-listed, and boasts an easy 30-minute installation process.
The Bayboro 5-Light Sputnik Chandelier takes no-frills multi-directional lighting to a whole new realm. From its downrod sprout five metal arms, each one pointing in a different direction and holding a clear glass globe shade at the end to house a 60W bulb (not included).
This chandelier is height-adjustable (35” to 55”), dimmable, UL-listed, and can be used in damp locations. Order yours today in one of 3 finish options (black, gold, brass) and one of 4 shade color options (ovate, clear, cognac, smokey).
Each of its three arms is adjustable and holds a clear glass bulb at the end, designed to house 60W bulbs (not included). The unit comes with two rods, and it’s height-adjustable (30” to 50”), dimmable, and UL-listed.
Light bulbs not included
Modern Chandelier Components
Here’s a brief overview of common chandelier materials:
Metal (Iron, Steel, Bronze)
When it comes to the material of your chandelier, the best type depends on your personal preferences and the look you want to achieve.
You’ll find chandeliers that are low-voltage and others that are high-voltage. Here’s a quick breakdown of the differences between the two:
A low-voltage chandelier runs on 10V, 12V, or 24V. This lower voltage is typically found in modern chandelier designs and does require the use of special low-voltage equipment. While this type is a bit fussier and costs more up-front, it’s also safer and more energy-efficient (which means it will save you money in the long run).
A high-voltage chandelier runs on 120V. This type is less hassle to set up and use than the low-voltage variety, and it’s much more affordable up-front. That said, it’s not very energy-efficient and you can only use certain types of bulbs with it.
The energy-efficiency of your chandelier will depend partly on the type you opt for and partly on how much you’re willing to spend on electricity each month.
When it comes to the bulb type, there are a few options for you to consider. The most popular types are:
I’ll briefly discuss each type of bulb later in the article.
A related factor to consider is the number of lumens the bulb produces; the more lumens a bulb produces, the brighter it will be. Keep in mind that more lumens aren’t always the best way to go. Lighting for a cordial dinner, for instance, will be less bright than formal dining rooms.
A lot of people underestimate the importance of size when choosing a chandelier, and this has often has less-than-stellar consequences. Purchasing a chandelier that’s disproportionately large compared to its surrounding furniture pieces will look tacky, and in an area like the dining room, this would increase the chances of someone bumping into the chandelier while getting up from their chair. If the chandelier is too small, it may fail to draw attention to itself or simply look out of place.
You can find chandeliers that are large, medium, small, or even “miniature,” so you’re bound to find one that will complement your space well. But how do you know which size to go for?
There’s a simple rule that many experts agree on:
Room’s Length (in feet) + Room’s Width (in feet) = Chandelier Width (in inches)
If a room is 12 feet by 18 feet, you would add those numbers together to get 30. So, the chandelier you purchase should be about 30 inches wide for the best look.
Of course, because you’re looking for a dining room chandelier, you should consider the size of your dining table and the height of your ceiling. More on this later!
There are few more things you should look for before purchasing a chandelier:
Whether it has shades
Whether it comes with bulbs or if you’ll need to buy those separately
As mentioned in the previous section, there are four main bulb types: incandescent, CFL, LED, and fluorescent. Here’s a little information on each type to help you make the best decision for you and your home.
Incandescent bulbs are known for the soft, charming glow they produce and are a popular option (especially in traditional/transitional models). However, they tend to be more expensive to use than other bulb types.
CFL bulbs are the next step up the “energy-efficient” ladder, and they tend to last longer than incandescent bulbs do.
LED bulbs are popular in modern chandeliers due to their high level of energy efficiency and their longevity. That said, this type is more expensive up-front than the previous two and it also produces a slightly “off” shade of light.
Fluorescent bulbs are quite similar to LED bulbs as far as energy efficiency and longevity go. However, they’re more expensive to purchase up-front and do not produce the same soft, ambient lighting that other bulb types do.
Chandelier Lighting Fixtures Design Tips
Do you want a chandelier but you’re too afraid to buy one because you’re not sure it will fit with your space? You don’t need to be a professional interior designer to install a chandelier.
When looking at your chandelier options, focus on pieces that match your personal tastes. Consider the color, texture, and material.
For example, if your dining room table is solid wood, try a chandelier with brushed bronze accents. If your dining room has a light, airy feel, you may want a chandelier that makes use of glass, crystal, or a light-colored metal.
Dining Area Accents
In addition to finding a chandelier that meshes with your current dining room composition, you can make the chandelier feel more natural by buying additional décor items. If you must have that Sputnik chandelier but find later that it doesn’t match anything in your dining room, small decorations could change that.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
Where is the best place to get a chandelier?
When looking for a chandelier, there are two main routes you can go: brick-and-mortar or online shopping (or a combination of both!).
As for brick-and-mortar stores, there are quite a few where you can expect to find a quality chandelier at a good price point. These include (but are not limited to) Bed Bath & Beyond, Lowe’s, Home Depot, IKEA, and World Market.
If you prefer online shopping, there are endless options. In addition to checking out the websites of the stores mentioned above, you can visit other popular furniture, home, and lightings sites such as:
Amazon Wayfair Shades of Light Lumens Lamps Plus Lightology Schoolhouse Electric
How big should a chandelier be in a dining room?
For the average dining table, you’ll want to purchase a medium-sized chandelier (or two medium-sized chandeliers for a particularly long table). This normally translates to a chandelier diameter of 28 inches, but keep in mind that its diameter should be about a foot narrower than the table’s width. Also remember that the chandelier, no matter its size, should be hung 30 to 36 inches above the table.
What is the best lighting for a dining room?
Many people long for the sophisticated warmth and elegance a chandelier can bring their dining room, but a chandelier is not for everyone or every home. Luckily, there are other lighting options available that can add just as much flair or opulence to your dining room.
Pendant lights are a well-loved alternative, also hung from the ceiling and available in similar styles. The main difference is that while chandeliers tend to be large, elaborate pieces, pendants are on the smaller side, composed of a single unit that’s often used in conjunction with additional pendant lights.
If you have a low ceiling or want a more minimalistic lighting element, you might want to check out flush and semi-flush mount lights. These are probably what you think of when you hear “lighting,” because they’re quite popular in modern homes. They are installed either completely flush or partially flush, so they don’t take up as much vertical space. You can find these in a variety of designs, so take your pick!
Track lighting and dining room lamps are two more popular lighting solutions, especially if you need your kitchen a little brighter than your current lighting solution can accommodate.
Modern Dining Room Chandelier Conclusion
Dining room lighting offers elegance and class. And contemporary chandeliers provide visual comfort for formal dining rooms. As an interior design feature, a dining table set up is incomplete without a chandelier.
You’ll have an easier time finding what you want by browsing online. It’s easy to find exclusive promotions for certain brands. If you want to buy direct from the source, most manufacturers require a driver’s license or state ID and your email address submit form.
After you place your order you might have to cover shipping fees like the freight charge listed or the actual shipping charge. With most oversized and heavy items be prepared to spend more. And be careful with discounted standard shipping. Remember, chandeliers are fragile and the last thing you’d want is for your light to arrive damaged. ( function( $ ) $( ‘.faq-section .faq-q’ ).on( ‘click’, function( event ) event.preventDefault(); $( this ).closest( ‘.faq-item’ ).toggleClass( ‘toggled’ ); ); )( jQuery );
Not every garden is made the same – and more are on uneven ground than you might think. Sloping garden ideas allow you to create your dream outdoor space because of – rather than in spite of – the incline.
Garden ideas for sloped spaces are not simply a problem solver, in fact they can offer their own unique interest that you can’t achieve with a flat area.
‘A sloping garden can offer plenty of opportunities,’ agrees Carlos Real, Lawn Care Expert and Managing Director, TotalLawn. ‘You can create something truly beautiful with multiple heights and dimensions on a budget. It just requires a little more planning.’
‘You might think you are limited to what can be planted on a steep slope, but there’s plenty of options, as many plants can be grown on an angle,’ continues Carols. ‘A retaining wall is great for a hillside flower bed. Crevice-loving plants include trailing lobelia, rock cress, thyme, and candytuft. Take advantage of the slope and display your favourite plotted plants on the edges. It’s a great way to add a splash of colour! You can also select easy-care groundcover plants for slopes, such as: lamium, epimedium, lady’s mantle and mondo grass.’
So with thoughtful landscaping even the steepest and most fractured of gardens can be picturesque and practical.
Sloping garden ideas
‘Far from being a problem, a sloping site presents some of the best opportunities in garden design,’ enthuses John Wyer, CEO and lead garden designer at Bowles & Wyer.
‘Tackled carefully, it allows plants to be arrayed in layers so that successive sweeps of foliage and flower build onto one another. Finding the route through the slope also offers potential for drama or subtlety in garden design.’
‘Think of the grand staircases and terraces in Italian renaissance gardens. Well, we might not all have that much space (or money!) but it is possible to make statements with sweeping sets of steps leading up to a piece of sculpture or a bench.’
1. Combine steps and raised beds
Image credit: Future PLC/Howard Walker
If you’re thinking about how to plan a garden, remember that steps and raised beds are each ideal for sloping garden ideas, so why not bring in both? Shallow beds and long, shallow steps means you can roughly have one step per bed, creating a lovely sense of symmetry. Using the same material on the risers as the sides of the beds will also help visually link the structures.
‘Don’t be afraid to experiment,’ advises Carlos from TotalLawn. ‘Mix up the planting, add in splashes of colour and ornaments where you can.’ Pockets of potted plants will help create a real impression of cohesion.
2. Add flowerbeds between platforms and lawn
Image credit: Future PLC/James French
If there’s a gap between your home and your sloping garden, a natural addition is a decked platform area for alfresco entertaining. This can, however, leave an awkwardly empty gap beneath. Fill this will lush planting to disguise.
If you want to keep the illusion that things are level, plant flowers and foliage which grow taller where there’s the biggest height discrepancy between lawn and garden decking ideas.
3. Cut a path between sloping lawns
Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme
If your garden is only gently sloped and you’re not dealing with a dramatic incline, then you have several options. Cutting a path to lay flat on the ground is ideal and a great use of easy garden ideas. This means you can get evenly from one end to the other, and easily plant a path border if desired.
Plus the look of the two sections of lawn gently sloping upwards gives a bucolic and calming impression.
4. Level out with a raised path
Image credit: Future PLC
‘Terracing can be time consuming and expensive, so consider all your options first,’ advises Carlos from TotalLawn. ‘For example, is there anything you can create yourself?’
One such DIY-possible creation is by building in a raised pathway. You can plant on the sloping areas and build a straight path running across the whole area. For safety reasons this is best if there’s only a minor slope. Otherwise, it’s worth adding a rail to prevent anyone from falling off.
5. Create a rockery inspired cottage garden
Image credit: Future PLC/Howard Walker
Cottage garden ideas are, by their very nature, more rustic and ad hoc in appearance. Use this approach to build in slightly wonky, quirky stone steps, walls and beds. You can go uneven in heights and levels and the effect with be charming rather than messy. Work in cottage garden planting to finish the look.
6. Soften a steep slope with grass steps
Image credit: Helen Elks-Smith MSGD/Elks Smith Landscape & Garden Design
If your garden is on different levels and you’re not keen on hard landscaping ideas take inspiration from this garden by Helen Elks-Smith MSGD, of Elks Smith Landscape & Garden Design. Instead of incorporating stone steps, Helen has used grass treads – integrating them into the existing lawn to connect the lower patio to the small sun terrace above. Creating a softer approach to the flow of the garden, seamlessly journeying from one space to the other.
The thoughtful addition of grass steps in this garden helps to make the sloped transition feel less structured, because too much paving can feel overwhelming for some settings. This idea is ideal if you want to join two paved areas without having to jeopardise any further lawn coverage.
7. Raise a seating area
Image credit: Simon Orchard Garden Design
This new build property comprises of a garden that gently slopes up in two directions into the far corner. Garden designer Simon Orchard explains how he made the slope a design feature rather than a design feat.
‘Levelling the whole garden would have been very expensive in terms of creating the retaining walls along the boundaries – and the walls would have been very high. So instead we only levelled the main terrace and lawn area then worked with the natural slope, incorporating the three chunky overlapping concrete steps leading up to a slightly elevated seating area.’
The staged seating area gives an elevated view over the rest of the garden.
8. Transition levels with a slide
Image credit: Fiona Lamb Design
Garden designer Fiona Lamb has created a sloping garden of dreams for little ones, by connecting two levels with a garden play area complete with slide. The element of fun injects a different dimension to the beautifully landscaped garden. This brilliant budget garden idea is also highly practical, giving children a safe way to navigate the steeper levels.
9. Work with an incline to create a water feature
Image credit: Simon Orchard Garden Design
In the landscaped garden above, you’ll see how Simon Orchard Garden Design used the uneven ground to naturally create drop water feature ideas.
‘The grade of the slope was perfect for creating the bespoke two-level water feature,’ says Simon Orchard. The different levelled groundwork lent itself perfectly to make a cascading water feature, a tranquil addition meaning the garden benefits from the sound of trickling water.
10. Take a different perspective on planting
Image credit: Helen Elks-Smith MSGD/Elks Smith Landscape & Garden Design
‘Sloping planting beds can be great to look at – rather than simply view a planting bed from the side an angled view creates a different perspective’ says garden designer Helen Elks-Smith. Explaining how the planting differs, with flat beds,’you have to create planting schemes using plants that grow to different heights – but the same height plants will appear taller when looking up a slope.’
‘And for some plants this different view has real impact,’ advises Helen. ‘For example looking into the top of a fern is very different to the view of the fronds from the side, roses and many flowering plants look equally good from the top.’
11. Enjoy a multi-level garden
Image credit: Simon Orchard Garden Design
There’s incline, and then there’s ski slop-style that is hard to imagine where to start?! All you need is an expert, as this garden proves. ‘This long sloped garden comprises a height difference of over 5 metres from the upper terrace to the bottom of the garden,’ explains garden designer Simon Orchard. ‘This made the space pretty much unusable.’
‘The solution was to create a series of flat terraces, each serving a different purpose. With steps linking the different areas. A generous dining terrace was created at the upper level by the house, leading down to a lawn with flower borders and a secondary deck. This leads down to a sunken trampoline area from which you can walk onto the roof of the new studio/sauna – which was decked’ Simon explains.
12. Zone with different levels
Image credit: Simon Orchard Garden Design
A steep sloping garden naturally invites the creation of clearly defined zones, each providing a different purpose. The result of creating a cascade of turfed terraces helps to shape an otherwise unusable garden into a multifunctional family space. Simon Orchard says, ‘It’s a much more usable garden with different areas to sit and relax in, enabling you to enjoy the garden at different times of the day and take in the various views.’
This New England style garden makes a feature of the different height levels, embracing it rather than try to soften the look. Low railway sleeper walls are used to contain flowerbeds between the descending levels.
If you choose raised borders planted with hardy perennials, such as hosta and astilbe, they won’t need much care or constant maintenance. Add splashes of colour with drought-resistant osteospermum and gazania.
14. Install a pond to split different levels
Image credit: Helen Elks-Smith MSGD/Elks Smith Landscape & Garden Design
This thoughtful example shows how a hardscape stone wall on the side of a pond was used to deal with a slope across a garden. The wall helps to disguise the slope by making the stone framing look intentional to elevate the lawn beyond. A pond is also a fabulous wildlife garden idea, to turn your outdoor space into a haven for wildlife.
15. Make a statement with lighting
Image credit: Simon Orchard Garden Design
The different levels of a sloping garden provides the ideal layout to use garden lighting ideas to full effect. On a practical note it accentuates the different heights between levels, providing a safer way to navigate the journey through. In terms of design the lights add a more dramatic look, as they highlight key planting and bring the many zones to life with illumination.
Try setting each zone to a different light level to ensure you can provide the right light for each setting – brighter in the kids’ area, more ambient on a terrace made for entertaining.
16. Give steps character with gabion walls
Image credit: Bowles & Wyer
‘We designed the expansive landscape surrounding this modern architectural property, including this terraced garden leading away from the house and its adjoining terrace’ explains John Wyer, CEO and lead garden designer at Bowles & Wyer.
‘We’ve paired sleek paving with gabion-structure walls to create the terraces, finished with naturalistic and textural planting with splashes of Verbena. Not only does it provide an interesting journey as you travel up the steps to the main garden, but it creates a beautiful vista from the house too.
17. Structure a terraced garden
Image credit: Bowles & Wyer
‘This was a large country garden we designed and built in Berkshire,’ explains John Wyer. ‘We used the sloping land leading to the property to create a modern terraced garden, which provides an outlook of greenery from every facing window in the house. The lighting scheme also ensures this terraced space is the perfect spot for evening entertaining.’
This design could be scaled down to suit a small garden idea to give the space more purpose and a clearly defined structure. Work with a landscape gardener to tailor the space to suit your own garden needs.
18. Gently transition between levels
Image credit: Marcus Foster
‘Combine retaining walls with slowly rising steps, which encircle the sloping ground to subtly transition the levels’ suggests landscape designer Marcus Foster, ‘providing a design feature in the process. His idea to do so is, ‘Using natural materials such as breedon gravel and gabion cages.’
‘With over-sized aggregates the level changes can be further softened to slow down the pace and thought of moving through the space.’
How do you landscape a slope on a budget?
Embracing it as much as you can, will save costs because your budget isn’t eaten up by levelling the ground. Landscaping a slop on a budget is possible by decking over the top of the old surface and swapping raised planters for pots.
‘Think about how you use your garden,’ advises Carlos Real, Managing Director, TotalLawn, on how to landscape on a budget. ‘Do you want a seating area, an area to grow veg, or just an aesthetically pleasing lawn? Separate your space through functionality but think practically about transitioning from one area to the next. Separate your space by introducing rows of flower beds, using railway sleepers to build retaining walls or building fencing using wooden pallets and paint to add a splash of colour.’
‘Create a defined route,’ continues Carols. ‘Consider how you are moving from one section to another. Whether you require steps or not depends entirely on how much your garden slopes. Why not add in stone slabs? They don’t cost a lot; you may even find some lying around or on Facebook Marketplace for free! Just make sure they’re securely in position (for safety purposes, of course).’
‘It’s important to have a space where you can kick back and relax in the summer months. Bark chippings or gravel are quick and inexpensive ways to create a reasonably-level seating area – and can be tailored entirely to the aesthetic you are trying to achieve; gravel and slate in particular come in a range of colours which can be used to break up spaces in the garden.’
‘Maintaining a lawn on a slope can be difficult, and even dangerous when operating machinery,’ adds Carols. ‘For the most sloped areas, prioritise planting flower beds and keep your lawn in the flatter areas of your garden, where possible.’
What can I do with a sloping garden?
A sloping garden naturally provides different levels to create different zones – one for dining; one for kids; a level for a garden room or a vegetable plot. Zoning the garden allows the space to provide a multifunctional purpose.
‘Water run off from any sloping ground will need to be considered,’ warns garden designer Helen Elks-Smith. ‘Especially where the ground slopes back to the property and out from a driveway. In both cases drainage needs to be considered to capture the water and deal with on site.’
‘Sometimes you need or want to cut into a slope, to form terraces. This does tend to push up budgets as the soil then needs to be retained. Drainage is always needed behind garden walls and the walls themselves need to be specially constructed to retain the soil or structures, structural engineers can help. And moving between the different heights often needs steps. But sloping paths can work just as well and will make the space accessible for all.’
Put down a weed-suppressing membrane (from garden centres) to cut down on the amount of weeding. Then plant the border with ground cover plants, such as geraniums or catmint. Geraniums, in particular, provide good ground cover and colour through the summer. Use tall pots planted with grasses for a statement display.
Can you flatten a sloped garden?
Depending on the height of the slope it may be possible to flatten, but it involves a lot of work and a hefty budget. Levelling a garden can be expensive and might not give you the garden you desire. So working with a garden landscaper to design a garden that embraces the unconventional layout might be a better option.
Subscribers and Instagram followers are aware that after a long search, we bought a house in Florida. There are several reasons why we’re making this move which I’ll go into in greater detail at a future date. Mostly it’s just a feeling that we need a change after 40+ years living in California.
We’ve talked of a different lifestyle, one that is relaxed and more affordable than the cost of living in California. After driving around the Gulf Coast of Florida twice in the last year, we narrowed our search to Sarasota as a place to move. We like the community, the downtown, and the proximity to beautiful beaches so we bought a house there as both an investment and a future home. I’ll be living there in the summer renovating the place and we will live permanently starting this fall with my son finishing high school in Florida.
How did we land on this house? We started looking at new construction homes in Sarasota because we thought that would be easiest for making the move, but nothing was available to move into for at least a year, so we turned our attention to fixer uppers in neighborhoods we liked. On the last day we left Florida this one popped up on the market. We had to move fast and offer a non-refundable deposit, but we were in contract within 48 hours and the house was ours three weeks later.
We now own a 3 bedroom 2 bath 1960s single story rancher with a great big yard and room to add a pool! It’s very close to Siesta Key too. Since I’ll be documenting the entire renovation on the blog, the best place to begin this story is with the ‘Before’ images so you can see what we’re starting with.
What is serendipitous is that this house came with brand new furniture. The furniture is not my style at all, but the stroke of luck is that as a result I don’t have to haul a bunch of furniture across the country. It’s crazy expensive to ship furniture in a POD or truck or drive it in a UHaul. The quotes I received ranged from $10k for a POD and $19k for movers and I’d rather invest in the renovation, so we will be bringing just a few personal items and will make furniture swaps over time.
This home will get a full makeover top to bottom, we will be replacing flooring, renovating bathrooms and the kitchen, and also adding a pool and tons of tropical botanicals to the backyard. After the ‘Before’ pictures I share some inspiration photos so you can see the look I’m going for and some of the details I’ll be including.
Here is the kitchen, very dated but very clean! This is the perfect set up for me because I can live with this for a few months, there’s no need to renovate immediately. It buys me time to come up with the perfect kitchen renovation plan and not rush choices. However one thing that will change immediately is the arched florescent light fixture, I’ll replace it with some small and simple recessed or flush mounts instead.
The kitchen gets natural light from the dining nook and breakfast nook on the opposite side and has great flow into the community and dining spaces. This one will be fun to renovate down the road. That breakfast nook beyond will be a small home office instead. The dining room space is below.
The kitchen sink and peninsula look out into this dining room space. Like I mentioned before, the house came with new furniture. I’m grateful for it but it will be replaced with a wood table and woven dining chairs that seat six to eight people and wired for a really cool chandelier to be determined.
Also… you’ll notice… SO.MANY.VERTICAL.BLINDS and CEILING FANS to replace. There will be much discussion on new window treatments and lighting as I slowly replace them around the house.
This is the family room space, it came with these leather loungers which I’m sure my teenagers will love while they last but they won’t for long, I’ll buy a modern sectional for this space. That wall entertainment center will be replaced with a floating media credenza.
I also want to enclose this space and replace the carpet with tile so it’s more of a sunroom and separate from the entry and living room, pictured below. I’ll add double doors to enclose it and separate it for private TV viewing.
This is the entry and living room, it’s spacious and wide and comes with these turquoise overstuffed sofas. I’ve already painted the blue walls white and swapped the coffee table and rug too. Eventually I’ll sell and swap the sofas for more tailored versions.
This is the hall bathroom, very clean but dated so this would be one of the first spaces to renovate. Goodbye florescent light fixture, vanity, & tile, hello modern makeover including new flooring, beautiful wall tile, and a floating vanity.
The guest bedroom comes with a matching furniture set and bed-in-a-bag linens. All this will change over time, but the mattress is super comfortable, I slept here for four nights. I’ll keep the mattress, but sell and replace everything else. This space will be designed for visitors and for when my daughter comes home from college on weekends and holidays.
This is the current “office” which will soon be my teenage son’s room. I have plans to replace these desks and build him a bed with a built in charging station. I’ve already drawn up the plans for that and I’m looking forward to building it for him!
This is the primary bedroom, it’s a larger size which I like and it includes another matching bedroom set and the same bed-in-a-bag linens. I’ll sell this furniture and replace it with new furniture that’s my taste.
The primary bathroom is small, so I’m considering an expansion since it’s located at the back of the house which would make an extension a possibility. The adjacent closets are really small so I like the idea of an addition for a more spacious bathroom off the primary bedroom. For now, I’ll enjoy that pink formica and tile. 🙂
We’re really excited about this backyard, the large tree is beautiful, I’ll light it up with a twinkle lights and create inviting seating underneath. To the right there is plenty of space to add a pool!
What an adventure right? I haven’t been this excited in years! After a long and weary pandemic, this is just the energetic injection we need.
The design style of this renovation will be light and bright, lots of white and natural wood, a contemporary coastal style with a touch of midcentury modern. Here are just a few inspiration photos I’ve collected in my *huge* Pinterest board for this house.
For the interior floors, I’d like to refinish them in a whitewash tone reminiscent of the white sand beaches close by. For the kitchen, I love the idea of pale wood cabinets and white tile.
It feels so good to have my hands on this project and to be starting a new chapter in a new home in a different state. I’ve already painted the blue walls in the living room white and made some furniture changes too. More coming soon.
I’m posting a full video tour of the “before” spaces on Instagram stories tomorrow if you want to get a feel for the flow of the house, look for it there. The videos include more of the backyard and the rear patio (not shown). I’ll be starting on this renovation in July, so much more to come! This new house project needs a name or hashtag, what do you suggest?
The distinguishing refined colour palette and laconic forms of traditional Japanese interiors meet extraordinary design solutions in these three inspirational home concepts. The most seductive of our three interior examples, our first Japanese home design is large and luxurious. Many traditional elements of Japanese design come to the forefront here but chiefly with a creative modern twist. Our second concept is layered with contemporary craftsmanship and reimagined classics to achieve a sleek combination of style, class, and sophistication. Our final tour takes place inside a compact modern home where unique and quirky pieces bring a fresh and fun vibe. Standout silhouettes build a sculptural thread between elegant Shōji screens and en vogue motifs.
The large and luxurious living space of our first Japanese home interior features end-to-end glass across opposite aspects. The facing openings create a pure flow of nature from the sunny garden in the South to the shaded narrow courtyard to the North. When the glass is retracted, there is blissful airflow for an outdoor experience whilst under cool cover.
A tea room design occupies the same space as the lounge. The tea table rises shallowly out of the wooden floor, in a Horigotatsu table fashion that allows legs to be stretched out in a recess underneath. The traditional concept is given a modern twist with sharp lines and sleek styling.
Authentic tatami mats border the tea room and lounge, which not only adds softness underfoot but serves to dampen the acoustics of the large and lofty room
The dining room doubles as a home library with built-in bookcases along one entire wall.
A teppanyaki setup makes a dynamic sociable setting.
An internal courtyard is surrounded by terraces on three sides, offering places of sunlight and shade.
There is another, smaller courtyard attached to the home workspace so that the homeowner can feel as though they are within the serenity of nature even when toiling.
Outdoor uplights throw a golden glow across the wood clad home exterior and onto wooden overhangs that surround the courtyards.
The master bedroom is a zen inspired design with a close and tangible connection to the courtyard. The bed design is a unique frame with attached bedside shelves and a consolidated home workspace behind the headboard. Large format, black stone tiles run the length of the bedroom toward an open plan ensuite.
Inside the ensuite bathroom, a beautiful wooden bathtub basks in the sunlight.
A matching wooden bench is aligned alongside the tub, creating a drop zone for clothes and toiletries.
A hot tub beds down between rocks to achieve a natural look.
The most eye-catching part of the open plan living space are two boldly oversized dining room pendant lights. Despite their enormous size, their white paper shades give them a light aesthetic that complements Shoji screen doors.
An elephant figurine adds sculptural interest in the front entryway, next to an elegant indoor plant.
Linen table runners dress a simple wooden dining table.
A shallow fruit bowl makes an understated table centrepiece. See more ideas for modern fruit bowls.
Our final interior design and CGI images are of a small Tokyo apartment inspired by Japanese aesthetics.
A backdrop of Shoji screens is outshone by a quirky Etcetera Lounge Chair, by Jan Ekselius for Swedish brand Artilleriet.
An outrageous faux fur sofa makes a fabulous statement on the opposite side of the lounge area.
The striking lighting trio above the coffee table are Formakami pendants by Jaime Hayón for &Tradition.
Behind the extraordinary couch design, a cork wall makes a textural backdrop.
Black stucco and black window frames create dark contrast with the pale furniture pieces.
A trendy racetrack-shaped dining table pulls another dark element into the living room.
Two gloss black dining room pendant lights hang low over the black wood and concrete table.
A one wall kitchen follows a lighter palette with natural timber base units and fresh white uppers. A raw grey concrete backsplash and a matching countertop cut through the kitchen run, highlighted by a ribbon of LEDs.
The white minimalist bedroom gains character from a circular recess in the wall stucco above the bed.
Small, black bedroom pendant lights and two matching black metal bedside units flank the bed with stark black accents. A majestic, white coated Bonsai tree sculpture tops a tall stack of bedside reading material. Scatter cushions casually make up cosy reading nooks at each side of the room.
Shoji doors give the wardrobe a hint of ancient Japan.
The platform bed lays light wood tone upon the crisp white bedroom rug.
A grey bed runner coordinates with the polished concrete floor. Black track lights echo the stark black window frames.
In the bathroom, a round mirror ties in with the curves of a racetrack-shaped vanity unit. The vanity pendant light matches the style of the bedroom pendants to achieve one cohesive aesthetic throughout.
Inside the shower area, a unique backlit wall feature adds a mysterious, frosted glow to the dark and moody grey stucco. Perimeter LEDs add a wash of practical task lighting into the slatted enclosure.
Using the right lighting gives you the opportunity to make the most of your space without structural changes. Kitchen lighting layouts, specifically, can be used to add decorative, as well as practical illumination where it’s needed most.
When considering your kitchen lighting ideas, it’s important you’re really taking into account the shape, size and layout of your space. Whether you’re working with a large, open-plan area or a petite room with low ceilings, finding the right lighting scheme is key to the success of the kitchen.
‘A carefully planned lighting scheme will transform a kitchen’s mood, zones and atmosphere depending on the function in the space and the time of day,’ says Hugh Miller, Co-Founder, H. Miller Bros. For this reason, lighting is a make or break piece of the kitchen ideas design puzzle.
Kitchen lighting layouts
Discover if you should be adding pendants, loading up on spotlights or adding decorative details with these kitchen lighting layout suggestions.
1. Lighting open-plan kitchens
Image credit: Future PLC/Robert Sanderson
Due to their very nature, open-plan kitchens can often lose the distinction between dining and relaxing or entertaining. Working with kitchen lighting layouts for open-plan rooms allow you to not only zone the spaces, but define their purposes. When considering how to plan kitchen lighting, it’s important to first decided upon the use of areas with the room.
‘Installing zoned lighting with variable brightness in an open plan kitchen will bring versatility to the space which can be lit to fit different moods and uses,’ says Ian Cameron, Creative Director, Cameron Design House. ‘We always recommend having a beautiful pendant as the centrepiece in a kitchen. Hung centrally above an island, an elongated light positioned horizontally draws the eye in and brings the whole space together.’
‘Helping to zone the kitchen, the soft glow emitted from the striking centrepiece distinguishes a different area in the kitchen,’ continues Ian. ‘This clearly defines a space made for socialising and eating.’
It’s not only zoning which dictate open-plan kitchen lighting layouts. It’s important to keep things practical in the work areas.
‘Task lighting in the kitchen will ensure the space is well-lit when cooking and preparing meals,’ agrees Graeme Smith, Head of Retail and Commercial design, Life Kitchens. ‘Task lighting is designed for everyday needs but is also incredibly useful for illuminating food prep areas, the sink and the hob.’
As with every space, layering lighting goes a long way in an open-plan kitchen. ‘Mood lighting creates atmosphere and adds personality to the space,’ says Graeme. ‘While stronger lighting is required for preparing and cooking, softer lighting makes for a calm, relaxing ambience when eating and socialising. Other stylish options you could consider are adding back-lit work surface panels, strip lighting and spot lighting for over-head cabinetry.’
2. Lighting kitchen islands
Image credit: Future PLC/Chris Snook
A kitchen island is the dream for many. Therefore it’s certainly worth taking the time over how to integrate your lighting scheme around this focal point.
‘Carefully consider the lighting over kitchen islands,’ advises Karan Main, Director, The Main Company. ‘This often becomes the main preparation space and good lighting is essential.’
One of the most popular lighting schemes to include an island is pendant lighting. ‘When it comes to kitchen island lighting, decorative pendants are very popular as people want to make a statement and feature,’ agrees Piero De Marchis, Director, Detail Lighting. ‘However, it’s important to be careful not to create shadows over the cooking and prep area. To make sure this doesn’t happen, we would normally advocate decorating lighting ‘filled-in’. Then they would be supplemented with focused spotlights to eliminate any shadows or dark spots.’
‘By opting for this combination,’ continues Piero. ‘You will then have a ‘cooking mode’ where all the lights are on and then a more relaxed mode when you can turn off the spotlights and dim your decorative lights.’
It’s not only overhead lighting which you should take into account for kitchen islands.
‘Direct task lighting from above is important,’ says Graeme from Life Kitchens. ‘However you could include internal lighting within this such as drawer lights or lighting inside cabinets to help illuminate certain tasks. Mood lighting can be included with the specification of underwork top or plinth lighting. This adds drama and luxury to a scheme while creating the impression of airiness or a sense of floating. If set up on a dimmer these can be adjusted to suit any ambience.’
‘Back lit worktop pieces can also add elegance to breakfast bar areas,’ adds Graeme. ‘These give the island a warmer aesthetic and softening the link between kitchen and living/dining environments.’
3. Lighting cabinetry
Image credit: Rothschild & Bickers
Pretty much every kitchen includes cabinetry. Make yours even more of a feature by linking with your kitchen lighting layouts.
‘Consider the ‘warm glow’ areas where glazed cupboard lights can be left on to shine through glasses stacked on glass shelves to create an atmosphere while dining in the kitchen,’ suggests Karan from The Main Company. ‘Plinth lighting is also popular, using tiny, subtle disks of light emanating across the floor.’ These are great for lighting lower cabinetry.
‘Under cabinet lighting good to boost light levels where it’s needed, must be concealed, no dots visible,’ adds Piero from Detail Lighting. ‘Ideally dimmable as these have second function as calming night-time lighting. If there is no switch then a sensor with time setting may be a solution.’
4. Lighting kitchens with low ceilings
Image credit: Future PLC/Kasia Fiszer
What kitchen lighting layouts you should consider depends a lot on the actual structure of your space. While lighting can make rooms seem larger, this only works if you’re choosing the right solution.
‘When deciding where to place your lighting, the architecture of your kitchen is the first thing to consider,’ advises Victoria Rothschild, founder, Rothschild & Bickers. ‘Take in to account the ceiling height and the proportions of the room too. Then work out where you need focused light directed.’
For kitchens with lower ceilings, you still have options for your lighting layouts. The most commonly used are spotlights and downlights since they can be flush to the ceiling. ‘Downlights are a great choice for those with very low ceiling lighting,’ agrees David Amos, Founder, Amos Lighting + Home. ‘They offer such versatility and variability as to where they can be placed. When fitting downlights, it’s always recommended to divide your ceiling height by 2 to allow you the space needed between each downlight.’
That said, a lower ceiling doesn’t have to mean forgoing pendants. Play with small kitchen lighting ideas and choose a design which helps bounce light around or through, like polished metal or glass. Also, make sure you measure up with care.
‘You don’t want pendant lighting to hang too low,’ says Tom Howley, Design Director, Tom Howley Kitchens. ‘You need to ensure adequate clearance above taps, or for clearance purposes if you use your island for dining. It’s also important if you use pendant lighting as task lighting to make sure it’s at a practical height. This means that you can use the space efficiently without banging into it.’
5. Lighting galley kitchens
Image credit: Future PLC/Lizzie Orme
Often small and narrow, galley kitchen ideas often pose problems when choosing lighting. You need to successfully illuminate the area without imposing on space, and without creating shadows in work areas.
‘When it comes to introducing lighting into a kitchen, it’s all about planning and thinking about where the lights will sit best,’ says David from Amos Lighting. ‘Incorporating task lighting such as pendants works particularly well above countertops to highlight a specific area. Alternatively wall lighting ideas are the perfect accompaniment to any compact scheme. You can opt for smaller wall-mounted options that will beautifully direct a warming light on shelving and worktops.’
Task lighting is key in a galley kitchen to make good use of the worktops, but due to the layout they can be blocked easily. ‘Try to reduce shadows on task areas so when leaning over the work-top the lights should not be directly behind you,’ advises Piero from Detail Lighting. ‘Linear LED lighting is good for reducing shadows, above cabinets, under cabinets or linear trimless strips in the ceiling.’
Don’t forget about setting the mood and adding decorative moments, even in these smaller, more awkward kitchens. ‘Many ceiling pendant fittings are also adjustable in height so you can get them to the exact level you need them,’ points out Natalie Mann, New Product Development Executive, Iconic Lights. ‘Accent lighting is for lighting those corners where no natural light can reach and can also be a useful statement piece.’
Alternative housing options are growing. People are realizing they don’t have to live in traditional homes. Society is also becoming more aware of the environment.
A manufactured home leaves a bad carbon footprint on the environment. The long-lasting effects of traditional homes are not eco-friendly, and younger people are waking up to this idea.
When building a home, sustainable materials are a smart choice. Those who want to live off-grid can do so in style. Some people just want a cool place to live that’s also affordable. Today, there are plenty of options outside of the tiny house movement, and we’ll show you a few of them.
Alternative Housing Ideas
Here are 25 alternative housing ideas. Some might feel a little mainstream more than others, but all of them offer alternative living structures.
Cob is an ancient clay building material, similar to adobe, that uses materials like straw, sticks, and other fibrous materials mixed with subsoil, water. A cob home is made with lime, sand, or clay.
The material is ideal for home construction because it’s cheap, fire resistant, and can withstand earthquake damage.
It’s easy to mold and can be used to create houses that are curvy, thatched-roof style or more modern versions that look like a typical residence.
Because cob is easy to mix and manipulate, it’s an ideal material for people who want to build a small house with their own hands. Even those new to construction can learn to use this material quickly and easily.
Building with cob is like sculpting with clay and it can be augmented or reshaped even after it has dried.
Cob homes are weather resistant. The structures can withstand rain and cold temperatures, meaning their suitable for most cold climates.
These beehive-shaped homes are made of exactly what is in their name: bags of dirt. To say the material is easily obtained is an understatement, making this type of alternative housing especially cheap.
Plastic bags of earth are simply stacked to create walls that can be straight or curves. Often barbed wire is used in between the layers for extra stability and to keep the bags from shifting.
They can be built up tall to create a roof without the need for trusses or other supports. In addition, long tubular bags of soil are sometimes used, stacked up in coils to create another, sturdier variation.
Once finished, the outside is typically covered with some sort of plaster or adobe to preserve the bags holding the earth.
Straw Bale Home
From waste product to wonderful building material, straw bales are an excellent environmentally friendly building material. Besides being inexpensive, the straw is a very efficient insulator. The bales are plastered from both sides. Surprisingly, the homes are airtight, pest and fireproof.
Although they are still made of wood, log houses can be an eco-friendly type of alternative housing. The large logs don’t go through the milling and treatment process and are very good for energy efficiency. Studies have shown that logs absorb heat during the day, which helps keep the home warmer at night in the winter.
Greener options for wood stains and the chinking — the material that seals the gaps between logs — are now available, increasing the home’s sustainability factor. Last, but certainly not least, sometimes log homes can be built from dead trees instead of using living trees.
Does an underground home appeal to you? These underground homes — also called earth-sheltered houses — are energy-efficient and environmentally friendly options. The low profile also means they are safer from hurricanes and tornadoes, as well as soundproof. Those who build these homes and also use solar panels could potentially eliminate most utility expenses.
Underground homes are no longer relegated to childhood dreams. The home style is becoming a reality. Taking the concept of the earth-sheltered house a step further, underground homes go completely below the surface.
The houses are protected from storms and inclement weather. They have eco friendly benefits along with temperature control features. The front faces outward and offers views of the outdoors, while other types take advantage of slopes to add windows to other parts of the house.
Since then, more and more people are opting for this type of alternative housing because they see it as a great method of recycling. Larger homes can be created by combining and stacking the containers in different configurations.
In some instances, container houses can be cheaper than traditional ones, but in most cases, you will have to add insulation and perhaps a stronger roof in areas where there is much snow, in addition to the usual fixtures, doors, and windows.
Homes from shipping crates can be built quickly. Equipped with solar panels and water conservation systems, the home style is almost like a modular igloo.
Green Roof Home
Homes that have a green roof — also called a living roof — are gaining popularity in urban areas as well as suburban locales. This type of alternative housing is beneficial in a number of ways: Besides helping to insulate the home, a green roof absorbs water and provides a natural habitat for birds and small wildlife.
In more densely populated areas like inner cities, a green roof has a cooling effect on the temperature and a calming effect on the people who are around it. In addition, plants help clean the air, which is a great benefit, particularly in the city.
The green roofs are waterproof. They can be installed on an existing home with some modifications, and can also be used on commercial buildings.
Wood pallets have been showing up in DIY projects for years, so it’s no surprise that they have made their way into alternative housing choices. While they started off as being mainly used by those who want a tiny house who want to go off the grid, wood pallets are now featuring in houses of grander construction.
Ideal for recycling, pallets are themselves very cheap to buy, but it’s important to make sure they have been treated to resist rot and insects. Thanks to their ease of construction and low cost, they are also being considered for disaster-relief housing in various areas.
Tiny houses aren’t new, but they are becoming more popular. As their popularity grows, so do their prices.
Tiny Housing Options
Beloved by those who want to downsize and leave a smaller footprint on the earth, tiny houses are economical and environmentally friend in many ways. This type of alternative housing has grown wildly popular in recent years.
The small homes are coveted for the low cost involved in running it and the freedom that comes from the enforced simplicity of living in a very small space.
Tiny houses come in an endless assortment of sizes, styles and degrees of ingenuity. Besides requiring less energy to heat and cool, tiny homes use less water and often have compostable toilet systems instead of regular plumbing.
Tiny House On Wheels
Much as some people used to turn to recreational vehicles — RVs — to live on the road, today versions of tiny houses on wheels are becoming the popular route to logistical freedom.
This type of alternative housing has all the benefits (and drawbacks) of living in a tiny house, but with the added bonus of mobility. Hitch up the house to a vehicle and off you go.
This style of home often eliminates property taxes and creates extra savings by not being permanently sited. These homes rely on expertly designed multifunctional spaces and plenty of creative storage to make life comfortable.
A far cry from the childhood plaything, treehouses are now a stylish form of alternative housing. From rustic versions for living off the grid to magnificent modern, professionally designed houses that have all the comforts of a regular home, treehouses are attracting a good deal of attention.
A desire for novelty or a yen to be closer to nature often brings homeowners to these homes, which can be very eco-friendly. Large trees are stable, long-wearing foundations for these structures and can withstand weather and the effects of the environment.
Using the cordwood method to build a house is just as the name suggests: Using short sections of trunks and tree limbs — usually destined for the fireplace — the as structural material that is held together with cobb or masonry.
This alternative housing building method is very sustainable because it can use all sorts of logs and wood that would not usually be used for construction.
Cordwood walls are also an excellent insulation and provide the natural balance between the thermal mass and insulation, without the need of using any further methods inside or outside the house.
Imagine spending your life roaming from one RV park to another? Today, that’s possible more than it’s ever been, and thanks to remote working conditions. Similar to a tiny house on wheels, a camper trailer provides instant mobility to its residents. As a form of alternative housing, camper trailers are ideal for people on the go who want the lowest level of home maintenance possible.
Living in a camper trailer is a lot like a tiny house on wheels because space is limited and organization key. With these homes, it’s easy to spend the night in a park, campground or in the wild. Living in a camper trailer is also a wonderful way to travel while keeping expenses down by eliminating hotel costs and allowing greater enjoyment of the outdoors.
Transforming a barn into a home is another example of an environmentally friendly way to repurpose a structure as alternative housing. The large, high-ceiling buildings are perfect for the open floor plans that most people favor these days.
Rather than tearing it down and building anew, converting a barn into a home offers unique design possibilities thanks to the wide open space inside.
Whether the barn is large or small, it can be turned into a comfortable and highly liveable family home, especially if the rustic details of the original structure are left intact whenever possible.
Rather than lapsing into disrepair, former industrial buildings are finding new life as stylish factory homes in the hands of creative homeowners and cutting-edge architects. Highly durable structures with plenty of open space, these buildings make a great base for alternative housing.
The industrial interiors offer a range of original details and design options for creating a modern, comfortable residence that can easily include home office space and plenty of room for space dedicated to hobbies and activities.
Transforming old grain silos into homes is one of the newest trends in alternative housing.
Using one silo can make a small yield a small home and those who want more space can use multiple silos. Aside from being more affordable to build and maintain, silo houses offer interesting options for decorating and design thanks to the round shape.
And while the outside might be plan corrugated metal, the insides of these homes offer just about every comfort you might want in a home. And, if the idea of having your whole family in a silo home is not appealing, these structures make great guest quarters.
Maybe you’ve dreamed of living on a boat but have you considered a floating house for alternative housing? Different from a basic houseboat, a floating home is a real house that is constructed atop floats and anchored to a location on the water. A house barge is another type of floating home that has a hull built for towing or moving down the river.
Because it floats on water, it doesn’t need to meet local building and utility codes. Floating homes can be modest constructions that minimize living costs, or they can be grand, budget-busting luxury abodes. Whichever kind you choose, it will let you live on the water — literally.
Water Tower House
As towns grow and old water towers are abandoned, creative homeowners are turning what could be eyesores into stunning, comfortable residences. The round base structure and large section at the top are both ideal for creating a modern home that offers great views too.
Water towers are very unique home-building opportunities because the supply of old ones is limited, making them a real conversation piece. Of course, they’re also a great instance of upcycling.
In another twist related to the tiny house trend, more and more people are rescuing retired buses for another form of alternative housing. A bus house can be like a motorhome, allowing for an easy life on the go with no utilities or property taxes.
Or, a bus house can be stationary, attached to local services on a private lot of land. Just like tiny houses, these leave a very small environmental footprint thanks to the upcycling of the vehicle and the small size of the house.
Spawned by the rise of glamping, tent houses are now a form of alternative housing for some who really want to go off the grid for a period of time — or even permanently.
These tents have plenty of creature comforts that are installed atop a wooden platform to help keep the base dry. Some companies even offer tent bungalows, which combine the tent with a wooden platform and some other more permanent features such as a real door and windows.
Mongolian herders have been living in yurts for centuries, so it’s no wonder they are gaining popularity as alternative housing in many other countries. The engineering of the basic round shape makes it strong and durable and the exterior material is weatherproof.
As with any type of housing, the inside can be as basic or luxurious as your desires and budget allow. Yurts are also great for use as a guest house or separate home office or studio.
The Geodesic Dome was popularized by Buckminster Fuller in the 60s. While the domes aren’t common today, that might be slowly changing. Their design consists of triangles. The geodesic domes are known for their efficiency.
It’s a relatively inexpensive thing to build and is extremely energy efficient, disaster-proof and can be built with a kit if so desired. Contrary to some beliefs, they do not need to be a single dome and can have separate sections coming out from the central dome.
Hemp is a building material dating back to Roman times. The homes are made with a mixture that combines hemp’s woody fibers with lime to make a light concrete. The material is a good insulator, pest- and mold-proof, and creates good acoustics.
Moreover, a hemp plant grows quickly to maturity in just about 4 months. The stucco-like material can’t be used for foundations or come into contact with the ground. Although it needs to be coated for protection, hempcrete helps contribute significantly to energy efficiency.
Millions of plastic bottles are discarded every year and in many places, they are being transformed from trash into totally usable building materials. Developed by Ecotec Environmental Solutions from Germany the bottle wall technique is already widespread in countries where there are millions of homeless people.
The entire house is made with discarded bottles that are filled with sand, and stacked sideways and plastered into place with mud or cement. The walls are 20 times stronger than brick, fire resistant, and well insulated. The cost of these homes is generally about 25 percent of a conventional house.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ
How Long Does An Earthbag Home Last?
The polypropylene material, if kept out of sunlight, will last a very long time; moisture and rot are not generally a concern, and mineral fill material will not decompose. I expect the earthbag house that I built to last at least a century.
What Is A Silo House?
A silo house is a home that was once a silo. The exterior of a silo homes looks like a giant grain bin because that’s what the structure once was. After a silo has been converted, however, the interior space has all the amenities of a regular home.
What Is The Cheapest Structure To Live In?
The cheapest structure you can live in would be a dome home. The homes represent the cheapest site-built and livable structures today. A dome home is made with steel frames covered with eco-friendly fabrics.
The dome is sprayed with foam and concrete. Once completed, a dome house can withstand natural weather environments. The average cost per square foot of a dome home is roughly $175.
What Is A Cheaper Alternative To Building A House?
Prefabricated homes aren’t cheap, but they’re cheaper than your average house build. The reason why they’re cheaper is because they can be built faster than regular homes.
Are Barndominiums Cheaper Than Houses?
The costs of barndominium houses vary greatly from regular houses when building large structures. In a way, a barndominium house is cheaper than a regular house. However, when building a small house, the cost differences are minimal. The difference becomes large when building large 2000 to 3000 square feet homes.
What Is A Shouse?
A shouse is essentially a personal workshop and/or storage space that’s connected to a house. It’s often situated on a piece of land used for fishing, hunting, or a different recreational activity.
Alternative Housing Conclusion
There’s no reason why your living space can’t be non-traditional if that’s what you want. Should you prefer to live in a home that is different from the majority, then hardest part is knowing how to do it. The process involves knowing about local zoning laws and building regulations. After all, you can’t just build a cob house wherever you want.
Living in a shipping container offers an easier and cost-effective lifestyle than condominium living. As long as you have a place to call home, nothing else matters. As people become conscious of their carbon footprint, living in a traditional home is becoming a less popular option. ( function( $ ) $( ‘.faq-section .faq-q’ ).on( ‘click’, function( event ) event.preventDefault(); $( this ).closest( ‘.faq-item’ ).toggleClass( ‘toggled’ ); ); )( jQuery );