How to design your home with safety in mind

While important installations such as smoke detectors are often front-of-mind when it comes to safety at home, you can make your house a safer place by building it right. Here’s how.


Accidents and injuries often happen at home, yet most are preventable. Before you start building your new home, find out how to design a house that’s safe, inside and out. To help, we’ve put together a list of common problem areas and considerations all home-buyers should think about when building their home.

Design a safe home 1

Bright ideas

Carefully considered lighting design is essential to ensuring your home is a safe place. Think about potential problem areas in your home, such as stairways, halls and outdoor paths and consider how best to illuminate them. Here are some things to think about:

  • Consider carefully where to place light switches. A two-way control switch at the top and bottom of your stairs, for example, can help prevent night-time accidents.
  • Place light globes in sensible locations to make changing them safe and easy. Use wall-mounted fittings instead of ceiling lights, for example, over stairs.

It’s also important to ensure you’re installing enough power points throughout your home, particularly if you prefer to rely on floor and table lamps for ambient illumination. If you have insufficient power points, you may need to resort to using double adapters and long extension leads, which may be a trip hazard.

Sense check

Common sense goes a long way in life, and this is doubly important when you’re building a house! Consult closely with your builder and architect to ensure your wishlist is being ticked off. This can include everything from the size of your hallway and adequate handrails to the types of flooring used throughout the house. Here are some essential points to consider:

  • Use slip-resistant flooring throughout your home and outdoors.
  • Make hallways wide with easy access.
  • In a two-story home, install a full-length handrail along both sides of the stairs.
  • Mark glass doors using stickers or safety strips so people can easily tell if they’re open or closed. Place the marks at 700mm so toddlers and small children can see them, too.

Be sure to ask your builder for more ideas on how to make your home a safer place for your family – no-one knows better than the professionals.

In case of emergency

It always helps to be prepared – even if that means planning for scenarios we’d rather not think about. Incorporating emergency measures into the design of your home to help keep your family safe under any circumstances is a good idea. For instance:

  • Make your street number clear and visible so emergency vehicles can find you easily if there’s a problem or an accident.
  • Ask your builder to install a fire extinguisher and fire blanket in your kitchen.
  • Buy a first aid kit for your home and make sure it’s got enough supplies and that it’s replenished regularly.
  • By law, you must install smoke detectors throughout your home. Ensure batteries are changed regularly, as per the manufacturer instructions.

When it comes to building your home, you want to make sure you’re making the right decisions. Be sure to investigate every angle and remember: there’s no such thing as a stupid question. Ask your builder for their advice – they’ll be happy to help.