Most people have an idea of what they want in their dream home. Do you and your partner have a similar vision of what it might look like? Either way, if you’re in a stage of your relationship where potential homeownership is on the cards, this can be a fun little exercise or even an ongoing project:
What you’ll need:
- Drawing implements (a lead pencil or black pen is a good start)
- Paper or sketch pads
- Hopes and/or dreams
- Reference materials (home and garden magazines, websites, Pinterest boards etc.)
- Additional art supplies (colour pencils, pastels or whatever’s lying around)
Where to begin
The simplest way to get started is to decide on a room together (eg. bathroom, kitchen). Each of you then draw your ideal version of what that room might look like. Alternatively, you can pick different rooms and see how they fit together. The kitchen or living room is a good starting point. Generally the most central spaces, they can help define the overall character of the rest of your hypothetical dream home. Whether your style is classic or contemporary, your starting point will inevitably influence how the rest of the house looks. Probably. It might end up being a period-spanning fever dream mash-up of horror, but that’s part of the fun!
Rainbow sconces? Crocodile murals? Try pitching that to your partner and see how it goes…
What’s in a dream home?
If your approach is to just let your imagination run wild, then go nuts. You want a 3-meter-tall marble fireplace with green flames in the master bedroom? That’s insane. But hey, it’s your home, and it can be whatever you want it to be! This method — although the least pragmatic — can be the most fun.
If you’re taking a more realistic approach, there are a number of design elements to consider. Think about:
- Dimensions and scale of the room (How big is it? How tall is the ceiling?)
- Shape of the room (Is it a rectangle with four walls or something more unique?)
- Functionality (Does it do everything you would want it to do?)
- Finishes (Colours, patterns, materials etc.)
- Fixtures (Things that are attached or built-in to the house)
- Fittings (Things that are attached but removable like lighting and appliances)
- Furniture (self-explanatory)
This exercise can very quickly reveal a lot about your individual tastes and priorities. You may find that you and your partner see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. If so, that’s great! You may find that your tastes clash horribly. This isn’t necessarily a negative; combining design elements you’re both fond of could result in something unique, that you would both love.
Building it up!
This date idea is flexible: It can be a one-off activity or an ongoing series of inspired drawing sessions. If you/your partner don’t consider yourselves adept at drawing, you could create a physical or digital scrapbook instead. You could potentially amass a whole slew of inspiration — enough to comprise an entire home design. If that’s the case, you could take it a step further and create a floor plan based on the rooms you’ve both created.
Once the inside of your dream home is starting to come together, you can begin to envision the outside of the house. What sort of facade might it have? Something ultra-modern that pushes the boundaries of architecture and engineering? Or maybe you like classic period reproductions that stand the test of time? Maybe even a hybrid of different architectural styles? Don’t let yourself be limited by time periods or geography, either, as there’s a whole world of home design out there. And there’s always the garden and landscaping to consider…
If you’re struggling a bit, there are plenty of places to draw inspiration from. Are you the sort of people who like to scroll through real estate websites for ages (like me), looking for homes that catch your eye? If not, beware, it’s surprisingly addictive. Maybe you saw some fantastic mansion in a movie and thought “Yes, I would totally live there”. Or just go ahead and bring your Animal Crossing fantasies to life. Personally, since Emmy introduced me to the Architectural Digest Open Door series I’ve been a bit obsessed with it.
You could go for a walk around some of your favourite neighbourhoods together. Talk about all the different houses you come across and discuss elements you both like or dislike. Focus on individual concepts like doors, windows, colours. I recommend doing this in a more established area though; you’re likely to encounter much greater diversity and character than in newer estates, which tend to be a bit samey.
Taking it a step further
If you and your partner take this project to the extreme, you may wind up with a fully-fledged concept for a home. And maybe one day you’ll be in a position to make your dream home a reality. If you find yourselves one day scouting out architects and builders, or even if you just do this as a little one-off activity, it’s well worth the results.