The process of choosing the design for building a new home is exciting but can also be overwhelming. There are lots of decisions to make that will have a lasting impact. As you browse the home designs, here are some tips for choosing the right floor plan.
Make sure it measures up. You might have a certain square footage figure in mind as you look at homes. However, some floor plans are smartly designed and can make better use of the space. You might be able to “live large” in a home that’s slightly smaller than you expected.
Follow the flow. When you’re looking at a floor plan, imagine yourself walking through the home. Go from the laundry room to putting the clothes away. Is it convenient? Does the flow of the kitchen to the dining area feel right? Will the bedrooms afford privacy for the occupants? When you’re coming in with an armload of groceries, will you have an easy path to the kitchen?
Level it out. How many levels will suit your lifestyle? Do you need a two-story home to accommodate everyone in your household, or is a single-level ranch more to your liking? A single-level home certainly fits the household that doesn’t want to deal with stairs. You can also integrate a first-floor owner’s suite if you need more space but want to do most of your living on the first floor.
Consider the wide, open spaces. Many floor plans feature the open concept. It’s a popular layout because the lack of walls between the kitchen, living room, and dining area allow for more socializing. The cook is no longer cut off from the activity outside the kitchen. As you look at the open floor plan in the home designs, think about how the rooms connect. It might be one big space—long, square, or rectangular—or an L-shape with the kitchen as the pivotal point. Do you prefer one style over the other? How will your furniture fit in the layout? With an open floor plan, you can create separate spaces, like a reading area or study space. Envision how you will use the main living area so you choose a floor plan that fits your family’s lifestyle.
Don’t underemphasize the functional places. Features like a mudroom and the design and placement of the laundry room might not seem as important in the big picture, but small details often spark a big change. The mudroom, for example, is a threshold that protects your home from the great outdoors and keeps the clutter under control, if you plan it that way. Cubbies or cabinets are a smart choice here. Establish a system for organizing shoes, backpacks, school stuff, leashes, and everything else that often gets lost when it’s allowed to meander into the main living area.
Some homeowners prefer to have the laundry room closer to the master suite, while others want it near the kitchen. Which location do you prefer?
Do you need more function for your laundry room, like storage or a utility sink? Maybe you’d like a space to bathe and groom the family pet. Or possibly you would like a laundry room with a countertop to fold laundry and cabinets to store more supplies.
Explore the undiscovered needs. As you browse the floor plans, think of alternative uses for rooms that might seem like a “bonus” right now. A formal dining room or living room could seem extraneous but you consider repurposing it for a playroom, hobby studio, game room, library, or other function. A bonus or flex room can work as a guest room or home office, too.
Ask a lot of questions—of yourself and your builder—when reviewing home designs to be sure you’re choosing the right floor plan!
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