Design Decisions wrecking your head?

Design Decisions

Decisions, decisions,


How can one make a design decision when there are so many options available? Should you renovate your house? Should you extend it? How much will it cost? Do you need planning permission? Do you need an architect? Are there any architects in Dublin? It can all seem overwhelming. This can make the process or extending or renovating your house seem daunting. We understand this. This is where an Architect truly comes into their own. Architects have been trained to make those decisions. We have learned how to respond in an informed and conscious way, to make the choice that best suits the design, the client, and ultimately their pocket.

The problem

One of the biggest mistakes that people make when they begin to design is what I call the ‘unconscious design decision’. Simply put the novice makes a decision which has had little or no forethought. Having reached a decision they then conclude to think it’s a good one. Before long we are designing around an initially flawed choice. This can make the design mechanical and rigid, with little manoeuvring room. As a result the end product will not feel right, look good, or ultimately work spatially. This often leads to delays during construction, and conflict with contractors and suppliers. It can be both emotionally and financially draining, especially with self-builds.

How to move forward

To overcome this, it is important that we all learn how to make a conscious decision. To make a ‘conscious decision’ we first need to understand why we are making the decision. What is our end goal? What are the possible consequences of our choice? As budget is often an issue we need to prioritise. We need to differentiate between what we would like vs. what we actually need. Sometimes concessions need to be made but it’s important that we achieve our objectives. We must rationalise and have valid reasons for every decision we make. Every ‘yes’ is ultimately a ‘no’ to something else. We will have to live with the outcomes, so it’s paramount that we are happy with our decisions.

For example, when deciding on the location of a door. We might choose a location because it’s functional, or economical, or because it’s aesthetically pleasing. In this instance, the design decision could be informed by three valid reasons. If we let these reasons inform our choice when we make a decision, then we know that we have arrived at a valid and practical answer. This process helps us make decent decisions which create truly good spaces and architecture.

The change

When we think about why we are doing something, and what the consequences might be, then our whole decision-making process is moving in the correct direction. When our choice has multiple logical reasons backing it up, then it begins to make more sense and is a much easier decision to live with. Ultimately if you need help with these decisions, an architect can help.

How to find an Architect

‘Architect’ is a registered title and so only professionals with a proven track record and education can call themselves an Architect. Find an architect here.


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