If you’re planning to build a home, take time to think about what you need in a floor plan before you start looking for one. It will help make sure you choose a plan that meets those needs instead of being wowed by one that has impressive features—but just isn’t the right place for you. Here are five considerations to get you started.
The easiest place to start is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Next, consider the sizes of the rooms, overall square footage, and amount of storage space you need, always keeping your large items in mind. Make sure you measure what you have so you can decide whether a given floorplan offers enough space in the right place.
You can also ask about modifications. If you find a floor plan you love but would like minor changes like more closet space, talk to your contractor. They may be happy to make changes that aren’t drastic and won’t affect the soundness of the structure.
Do you want a more open, free-flowing plan, or a plan with separate, defined rooms? If privacy and personal space is important to you (or your kids), a more traditional closed floor plan may be the better choice. It’s also a good option if you tend toward clutter, since it offers walled-off spaces to help contain messes and keep your home looking tidier. You’ll also have more wall space for décor.
An open plan, on the other hand, almost inevitably offers more natural light throughout and gives a sense of spaciousness even if the space isn’t very large. An open layout also allows you to keep a single style and design scheme throughout. It can also make it easier to keep your eye on little ones.
3. Safety and Accessibility
Speaking of little ones, this consideration is especially important for families with small children and for persons with disabilities or mobility needs. Making sure stairs have railings and windows aren’t too close to the floor can reduce risks. Visibility—like being able to see the living room from the kitchen, or bedroom doors from the living room—can also improve safety.
If you plan to live in this home longterm, consider how your needs may change in the next 20 years. Ask yourself if the floor plan you love now will be the right size and style down the road. Will you want bedrooms that can be converted to other uses, or vice versa? Will you wish there weren’t so many steps for you or grandkids?
There are many costs to consider beyond just square footage. You can’t get an accurate idea of what a floor plan will cost until you’ve factored in things like energy costs for heating and cooling, lighting, and appliances. (If green living is a priority, consider going solar to keep costs lower and your footprint smaller.)
And remember to spend for the budget you have, not the one you hope or think you’ll have.