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Design, Renovations

How to Choose a Floor Plan: 8 Questions to Ask Before You Pick

Just searching for a floor plan online will yield thousands of results. And here’s the thing: There’s probably more than just one plan that would work for you and your family. So how can you narrow down the results and find the right one? Instead of aimlessly clicking through plan after plan or paging through your builder’s catalog, define what you want and use those parameters to lead you to the perfect plan. Not sure where to start? Asking yourself these questions can help you decide exactly what you want.

What am I missing in my current home?

One of the main reasons homeowners choose to build their own homes is to design a place that’s just right. Maybe you’re experiencing growing pains and your current home simply isn’t large enough. Maybe your lifestyle has changed and you need open spaces instead of smaller rooms. Or maybe the style of your current place isn’t to your tastes. Deciding what you’re missing in your current home allows you to narrow your search by disqualifying plans that would repeat the mistakes of the past. If you know that your current home feels too small, you have a great starting point for square footage requirements as you look through plans.

What will life look like in five to 10 years?

You can’t predict the future, but you can imagine what life will look like for your family over the next decade. If you plan to stay in your new home for a while, think beyond today and plan for tomorrow. How will your family change and grow over the next 10 years? How will that affect your dream home plans? Planning for the future ensures you love your home for years to come.

What’s my lot like?

Your building lot should provide the foundation for your floor plan – literally. The size and orientation of your lot should have a bearing on which type of plan you choose. You may have setback requirements on how large the house can be. If you have a great view, you should also consider window placement and sunlight issues. Choose a plan that shows off your lot and its view and you won’t regret your choice.

Do I care more about size or amenities?

At some point in the planning process, you’re going to need to make a choice: size or amenities? You’ll pay a premium for both, and unless you have an unlimited budget, you’ll need to decide on your priority. If size matters to you, you might be content to choose a plan with fewer high-end amenities like hobby rooms or ceiling features. If you’d rather have the amenities, you can look for less square footage to accommodate for your finishes and tastes.

Can I picture myself there?

It can be hard to really picture the way a home flows from a few line drawings alone. Take the time to really “walk through” a plan by imagining how you’d enter the home and move throughout the house on a regular basis. Suddenly, a seemingly well-planned bathroom might be in an awkward spot or you might notice that the kitchen is too small for the way you cook. Can you picture yourself in the finished home? If not, you might need to reassess.

Where are the functional spaces?

Functional spaces in your home usually take a backseat to some of the more exciting rooms, but they’re just as important. Sure, you’re more excited about a new kitchen, but don’t let a fancy prep space sway you from looking at some of the workhorses of a plan. Mudrooms, storage rooms, laundry rooms and bathrooms are the rooms that you access day in and day out, so make sure the plan gives them enough space and prime locations.

Do I need a custom plan instead?

Designers and builders can almost always alter an existing plan – at least part of it, anyway. If you need to make extensive changes that require moving walls and changing electrical and plumbing schematics, you might need a custom approach. If you simply can’t seem to find what you’re looking for in catalogs or on your builder’s website, it might be worth the cost to design a plan from scratch and know that you got exactly what you wanted. Picking a floor plan can definitely feel like too much of a good thing. Let’s face it: There are plenty of great plans available. But the difference between a good plan and the right plan is finding the one that works for your lifestyle. Picture your family in each floor plan and you’ll be able to narrow your results and find the one for you.