Building Blox: Week 28 – How to design an interior layout (1/3) – Downstairs

What we did:

  • Interior design – downstairs;
  • Decorating – flooring, painting walls and woodwork.

This week we move inside as I switch up the format a bit and discuss how I designed the interior, keeping in mind the houses will be rental properties. The work has actually been going on concurrently with the utility works but charged ahead this week as the focus all moved inside.

Next week I will then focus on the kitchen design and then move on upstairs where I like to think I’ve created something quite special!

Approaching the design

As a commuter town, the area has a lot of demand for 2 bed units which suit these demographics. Insights like these directed my choice on which type of housing I was going to build.

When originally designing the building on my sketchpad and later Autodesk AutoCAD, the architecture industry’s chosen designing software, at the forefront of my mind was how people would use the space. With our own habits and preferences, we all like to use our space differently, so making space flexible is key. This is why open plan layouts work well, giving people more flexibility to adapt space as they want.

Here is what I came up with:

The idea was to create a functional and desirable place to live for either professional couples, or small families. Similar to the structure and external look, my design was from a combination of feedback from architects, interior designers, estate agents and simply experimenting with different ideas.

Some great resources for inspiration are architecture and design magazines Dezeen and Designboom, as well as home renovation website Houzz.

Please let me know your thoughts as well – What do you like? Would you have done anything differently?

Ground floor design

This week I’ll take you through the layout and interior downstairs, also incorporating tips you can use if you own a rental property.

  • Open-plan layout – giving people flexibility to use the space as they would like, also making it seem as large as possible
  • White walls with light grey floors – Gives a larger sense of space along with a clean, modern look
  • Laminate flooring – either wood or vinyl is easy to clean and maintain. As these are higher spec properties and the cloakroom is small, I went for some nice tiles there
  • Darker grey skirting boards – drawing the eye down, to give a larger sense of height as well as a contemporary look
  • Storage – Everyone loves storage so as well as installing extra deep kitchen cabinets, I have designed in a utility room and a cupboard under the stairs, a rudimentary mock-up of which is in the pics!
  • Spot lights – simple, modern look maximising ceiling height. Lights shining upwards onto a bright ceiling are a good idea, making the space feel taller, but would have eaten unnecessarily into my budget
  • Feature designs – Everyone says keep things neutral and not put your own taste in there as you run the risk some will hate it! Following a similar principle, it’s best not to over-spec things as your property will be within a price bracket, so these luxuries will be unprofitable. That all said, I had to go for some chic dark blue Metro tiles in the cloakroom!


Next week I’ll unveil the kitchen design and run through my thinking and tips there, before moving on upstairs the following week.


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