Shopping for a new home might qualify as one of the most exciting parts of adulthood, especially if you’ve purchased a lot or raw land and get to build your own home.
You can create the home of your dreams. You need the right house plan to make it your dream home. Few people can afford to hire an architect to design a home from scratch, but finding ready-made plans can prove pretty easy. A multitude of books and websites exist with purchasable plans. Knowing what to look for makes it easier.
Before you look at house plans, think about the home designs you like. Are you a fan of two-story homes? What about ranch style layouts? Would you prefer something unusual like a stilt house? Stilt homes actually make perfect sense if you build it at the seashore, lake or river. Think about what you like before diving into house plans and floor plans.
What Makes a Good Floor Plan
The best floor plans offer what architects refer to as efficient circulation. That means easy movement within and between rooms. How you layout the furniture, to some extent, decides the circulation of a furnished room. An empty room or envisioned one, as you see on a plan, draws its circulation from doors and their placement. It also includes the way each room connects to others. For example, an open, ranch style home with large rooms that open onto one another would be said to have good circulation.
To envision the circulation based upon plans, imagine yourself walking through the plan. Start in the foyer and traverse to the kitchen, the bedrooms and the bathrooms. Picture yourself opening each door on the plan. Imagine opening the closets and pantry, too.
You don’t just need flow. You need storage to make the home work. Imagine yourself traversing the home again, this time from the garage returning home with groceries or a large purchase. Park your car, unload inside the garage and travel inside via the mud room into its kitchen. Check the measurements on the plan. Will it provide enough storage? How easily can you move a large purchase, like a Christmas tree, into the home.
Check the plan’s placement of closets, pantry, linen closet and wardrobes. Will the bathroom, each bedroom and the kitchen have adequate storage?
With respect to living and sleeping areas especially, does the plan have a large enough space for the function? Each plan contains measurements of the rooms. Compare these to the measurements of your current living space to determine compatibility.
Natural light helps save on electric bills and makes a room seem larger. Look for adequate natural light in each room. Ideally, a room has windows on at least two walls. Measure your current windows and use as a comparison to the windows denoted in the plan.
Look for patios or porches large enough to accommodate dining or sitting Consider how they connect to the yard. Imagine them in relationship to your lot or parcel of land.
House Plan Mistakes to Avoid
You’ll pick better plans if you know the mistakes others have made so you can avoid them. If you already have a building contractor in mind or have one who is a friend, ask them to look at potential plans with you once you have narrowed the field to a handful. They can ask questions that help you reach a better decision.
- Making the decision on your own - Unless you’ll live there alone, make the decision with others who’ll live there. Look at plans together. Even better, if you have the opportunity to visit model homes of each plan, do so as a family. This lets you experience the layout as you’ll use it – as a group. While toddlers can’t weigh in, your spouse and older children can provide feedback that helps choose a design that works for everyone.
- Assuming any floor plan will fit your lifestyle. - Picture your current situation and your future. Will the same floor plan fit your life if you and your spouse have the child you planned for a few years down the line? If your dream is to work from home, look for spaces that fit that situation. If you love to cookout, choose plans that feature a patio or deck, perhaps a pergola.
- Thinking all designs are safe - Choose designs with safety in mind. If you have children or plan to have them, examine plans with them in mind. That balcony you love will need a high safety railing with children present. You may love the look of floor-to-ceiling windows or glass showers, but these present dangers to small children. Stairs with no railings look ultra-modern, but kids can easily fall. Choose designs that provide a balance of beauty and safety if you have children or plan to have children.
Finding Good Floor Layouts
The Internet makes it easy to unearth good floor plans. You can even easily find specialty designs like those for green homes and tiny houses. Here are three encyclopedic sites that offer traditional and specialty plans.
Visit HousePlans.com to view house plans and learn about good design, plus how to read the plans. Its blog covers numerous topics related to floor plans and house plans. It divides its available plans into three categories: farm houses, tiny houses and traditional designs.
Visit FloorPlans.com to view home plans and two types of specialty homes: green houseplans and vacation homes. If you’re not familiar with the term green house plan, it refers to an environmentally conscious home design that saves energy and expenses on utility bills. These often feature solar panels on the roof and other green building solutions. You’ll need to erect a separate greenhouse in the backyard to grow tomatoes all year long.
Visit eplans.com for a wide variety of different floorplans. Eplans makes it easy. Just choose the bedrooms, bathrooms, floors and garages you want and it can provide you with a wide variety of floor plans for your needs. The website also features designer plans for just the right look.
Finding the right home plan and floor plan takes time. Choosing the right one means you’ll soon live in your dream home. Use this advice to make the right choice.