Top Tips to Consider When Designing a Floor Plan

One of the most exciting parts of any home building journey can also be one of the most daunting, and that’s designing your floor plan. 

You’ve got to the point where you’re ready to start thinking about what you want in your new home which is hugely exciting, then you sit down and are faced with a blank page it can all get a bit overwhelming.

But it doesn’t have to be! Designing your floor plan is when your home starts to come to life; it’s the first time you think about where everything is going to go, and you can begin to imagine yourself in your new home.

 

Display home floor plan

What is a floor plan for?

A floor plan gives you a portrayal of your home’s layout, so you can see where all the rooms are going to go, get a feel for dimensions and understand how your home will flow once you’re living in it. It allows you to place internal walls, windows and doors to make sure you’ve got everything you need to maximise your space and your location. It will eventually become the basis of how your new home is built, so it’s important that you think carefully when putting it together.

While your floor plan is going to be as individual as you are, here are a few do’s and don’ts that can be applied to everyone’s design to help you get started. By considering these, you can be sure that you are on the right track and that your home will be perfect for you and your needs…

Make sure you do:
Consider your site

One of the first things to do is to think about how your home will work best on your land. Where are the views? Which side will get the most sunlight? What position would your dream garden be in? By thinking about the orientation of your home, it will give you a starting point for planning where certain spaces will have to go. If you want a living room that gets the maximum sunlight during the day, you’ll have to make sure it faces north.

This will also help you to think about the size of your site – there’s no point starting to plan for a home that won’t fit where it needs to be, so by considering how your plan will sit on your site, it may give you some defined measurements that you now know you’ll have to work with.

open plan living room and kitchen

Make a list of priorities

Now we’ve considered how the home will sit on your site, we can start thinking about the really fun stuff. This is where it can be a little overwhelming, so to help you gain some more clarity, make a list of priorities.

Start with your absolute ‘must-haves’. These are the spaces that you definitely want to include in your home. Don’t worry about where they will go just yet, you just want to make sure that you’ve included everything you need. Whether you’ve always wanted an open plan kitchen and living area that flow into each other, or you need a quiet space in the home for work or study – make sure to make a note of them. 

A great way to think about what you can’t live without is to imagine yourself coming into your new home. Where do you come into the home? What’s the first space you’re going to use? Where do I leave my shoes? All these things will help you decide on your must-haves.

Once you’ve got this list, we can then think about practicalities. Again, think about living your day-to-day life, is there practical features you want in your new home? A separate laundry and mud room with access to the outside for example. It may not be essential, but it may make living in your home easier and more enjoyable. Add these practical elements to a new list – now you’re building up a good picture of what needs to be included on our floor plan.

Finally, make a list of your ‘nice to haves’. Perhaps an ensuite in a spare room would be nice, or a wraparound verandah for enjoying the outside. Maybe it would be nice to have a playroom for the kids, or a snug for relaxing in. Write these down and along with the other two lists, and you’ve now made sure you have thought about everything you’re going to need in your floorplan.

 

Think about the type of home

Now you’ve got a clearer idea of what the floor plan needs to include, start thinking about the type of home you’re building. Are you looking at a double or single storey design? Again, think about your site and what will work best for your list of must-haves. Next, do you prefer spread out, open plan living, or would you like more individual spaces that give you the ability to create different ‘zones’? As you did when deciding what you can’t live without, imagine yourself living in your home – think about what rooms you use the most, where you might need more privacy (such as bedrooms) or where you usually come together with friends and family. Go back to your lists and rank each space by how much you use them, to give you a really good feel for the type of home you need.

 

living area and lounge room

Consider the flow and connection between spaces

So, you’ve thought about what rooms you use the most and the type of home you’re after. Next is to plan how these spaces connect to each other. You may want a communal space at the heart of the home, where you can relax or entertain, with your bedrooms sectioned off through doorways and hall spaces. It may work better for you if the laundry room is easily accessible from the kitchen, or the playroom is within eyeshot of the kitchen so you can keep an eye on the kids. Planning the flow between the rooms in your home will help you to think about where to place them on your floorplan.

One of the most important things to remember is that this is a home for you and your needs, now and in the future. Don’t be swayed by other people’s thoughts and influences – this is YOUR home, built for you.

Get the overall layout sorted before focussing on specifics

Here’s where your planning comes to the fore and makes getting started on designing your floorplan easy. However you decide to draw it up – whether it’s on paper or digitally, start with the overall layout first. Begin with the outline of your site, and remember to block out any outdoor areas that you don’t want your home to encroach on. Then, go back over your list of must-haves, paying attention to the rankings you gave each space, and begin plotting them out. Start with the main areas first such as the kitchen, living and dining areas. Remember to pay attention to the dimensions of your site, while your first draft floor plan doesn’t need to be exactly accurate, you need to have a good idea of how big each room will be, so that as you further refine it you have the space you need. 
This is when you can really start to see the layout of your home coming together. Next you can start plotting your other main spaces; where you’d like your bedrooms, study, playroom etc. Finally, plot your functional spaces out such as where your laundry, pantry and bathrooms will go. Always refer back to the lists you made, making sure you’ve included each must-have in the floorplan to make sure it all fits, before then working on your nice-to-haves.

Don’t be scared to make mistakes – it happens! Your initial designs might not always work, and that’s ok – it’s exactly why we make a floorplan in the first place, so that we can make sure everything is just as we want it before we build. You’re final design might end up completely different to your first try, but it’s not until you start plotting your floorplan that you really see how the home is going to work for you – so try, try and try again.

 

bedroom with ensuite and walk-in robe

Begin to think about the details

Once you’re happy with the overall layout of your floor plan, it’s time to consider the details. This is when imagining how you’ll live in your home comes to life. Have you got an entryway? Then would you like storage room there for coats? In the master bedroom, think about where you’d like your wardrobes and ensuite to be positioned. The kitchen is a space that most people love planning – do you want a kitchen island? Where will the oven and sink go work best for you? Go through each room and add in the details – always thinking about what works for your lifestyle.

You may make many changes as you go along, but it’s all part of the process. You may forget about something and need to add it in, or realise that the layout of a room needs to be tweaked to give you better access. By doing as much preparation as you can for your floorplan, you’ll end
up with the home you’ve always dreamed of.

Finally, be flexible

You’ve put a lot of effort into designing the perfect floorplan, and you’ve managed to include everything you want. But this might be the first time you’ve ever done anything like this, so be prepared to be flexible. There are various reasons that you may have to make little changes for your floorplan. It could be for structural integrity, or it may be that your design wouldn’t be possible to build. But don’t let that put you off! Talk to the experts. We’ll be able to help you make sure your home is safe and secure, as well as give you some ideas you may not have had. We’re experts in building custom homes, so we can help you realise your vision – and by bringing us your own floorplan, it gives us the best idea of what you want from a home. Our experience also allows us to make suggestions that might make your home better. If you haven’t been able to fit in all your nice-to-haves, we might just be able to find a way to include them! 

While there are plenty of things you can do to ensure you get a great floorplan, there’s also some quick don’ts to keep in mind, so that you stay on the right track throughout the process.

Don’ts:
Design a home for someone else 

Remember this home is for you and your family. While we’ve all seen shows featuring beautiful homes, they almost certainly won’t work for everyone’s lifestyle. Keep that in mind when designing your floorplan.

Be scared about making mistakes 

It’s a big task coming up with a design, so don’t be scared about getting it wrong. Start over or make changes as many times as you like. The point is that by starting the process it will give you a much better idea as to what is possible. Even if you’ve only got a very basic floorplan together, we can help turn that into a fully realised one that will become your new home.

 

house being contructed

Try to pack in as much as possible 

It’s always tempting to try and include everything in your home that you’ve always wanted. But that’s why we suggest making a list of must-haves. Sometimes we have to make some big decisions about what to include in our floorplan, as not everything may fit – so having a clear idea of what you can’t live without means you can make sure these are included before you run out of room.

Ignore dimensions 

While we can help you with the final dimensions of your floorplan, don’t forget to always keep them in mind. Not only will this mean your home fits on your site, but it will also give you a better understanding of where you need the most space in your home. Ultimately your floorplan forms the basis of your final design, so be sure to keep an eye on the size of your space…don’t go too big or too small!

Forget about your budget 

We’d all love to have unlimited funds for our new home, but don’t forget that you do have to stick to your budget. We can always make recommendations on ways to get the most home for your buck, however thinking about your budget throughout designing your floorplan will mean you won’t be disappointed down the line.

 

We know designing a floorplan is hugely exciting, and one of the first step in bringing your new home to life. Get in touch with the team today and we’ll be happy to help you throughout. We’ll work with you to make sure you get the floorplan, design and home that you want.

Want to give it a go? There’s plenty of online tools you can use such as this one from floorplancreator.net.

And as always, feel free to get in touch with our team about any aspect of your home, and we’d be glad to help.

 

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