Building your new home from the ground up means getting to choose just about everything, but the fun doesn’t really start until you select the actual home plan. Choosing a new home plan can quickly become overwhelming when you start looking. Do you want a mudroom or an office? Do you really need a fourth bedroom, or would you prefer a larger great room? With so many choices at your disposal, how can you decide on the right one? Here are some considerations that will help make your selection just a little easier.
Current and Future Needs
How much space do you need? Will that space be enough in five or even 10 years? When thinking about floor plans, you need to look at both your current needs and potential future needs. After all, this is your dream home that you are making perfect for your family, you might as well make sure you can enjoy it for many years.
Does It Fit the Site?
If you’ve already chosen a building site, make sure you eliminate any plans that don’t fit. For instance, a narrow but deep lot needs a narrow but deep or tall home, while a lot with a large-wooded plot behind could benefit from a great room with lots of windows to let in the view. Choosing a floor plan that doesn’t fit the building site means starting over with choosing your building site, so why not eliminate any that don’t fit. Also, make sure the architectural style will fit your neighborhood’s aesthetics. While a unique home is a good thing, one that stands out too much can detract from your enjoyment of your new space.
Does your family enjoy dinners around the table, or do you come and go often, catching up in the living room instead of over dinner? Do you regularly have out-of-town family or other guests who need a place to stay? Do you need the kids to have their toys in their rooms, and thus need space for them, or would you prefer a separate den and toy room? Remember, your lifestyle and personal habits aren’t going to change just because you have a new home.
Floor-to-ceiling windows are great if they overlook a wooded lot, but if they overlook your neighbor’s yard, they may limit your privacy. It costs quite a bit to cover floor-to-ceiling windows with proper window coverings, so a floor plan with a more reasonable window design may be better if you are concerned about privacy. Consider the rooms where privacy is important, and make sure that the window placement will accommodate that.
Today, more and more people are working from home rather than going into an office. Even those with a 9-to-5 office job are using home-based work to supplement their income. Make sure you have an adequate space for a home office or computer room.
What about the work of running a new home? You also need to think about laundry rooms and kitchen space, as well as the storage for those spaces, to ensure you have enough room. Also consider hobbies that need a large workspace, like scrapbooking or woodworking, and make sure you have enough space to enjoy those activities in your new home.
Furniture can be highly specific to the space of which it is chosen. Do you have the budget to shop for new furniture to fit your space, or do you need to choose a home floor plan that will fit what you already own? Shopping for new furniture can be fun, but it can also be expensive. Decide which is the right answer for your needs and your space before you choose a home plan.
Finally, consider the flow of the floor plan. Will your family have a clear path to walk through their normal daily activities, or is there a wall separating the kitchen from the living room in the path they would normally take? Do you need fast access to children’s bedrooms to check on babies in the middle of the night, or would you prefer some distance between the master suite and the kids’ rooms for privacy? These types of flow questions can help narrow your options quickly.
As you can see, there are a number of considerations to make when selecting a floor plan. Answer the questions above, and soon you should know exactly which floor plan is right for your new home!
Author bio: Chuck Tripp has over 20 years of experience in the residential stock house plan industry. He is currently Sales & Marketing Director of Donald A. Gardner Architects, a house plan company that has developed floor plans since 1978.