Often it's hard to know how your family will feel and live in a home just by looking at two-dimensional floor plans. On paper, two floor plans may appear to be very similar, but subtle differences can make a huge difference.
One of the best ways to better understand a floor plan is to visit a number of showhomes (even ones by the same builder). This will help you recognize the differences and what each model's layout will really feel like to live in. While you're walking through the home, be sure to ask the Area Manager questions if you don’t understand some of the elements of the plan.
Most importantly, try to avoid these common mistakes.
Choosing The Wrong Plan For Your Lifestyle
To choose the best floor plan for your family, consider your unique want and needs. For instance, if you need an office to work from home, you won’t want that room next to the kitchen or living room. Some families like having an open floor plan, while others like the privacy that comes with separate rooms. Upstairs, some parents might prefer a master suite that’s set away from the kids, while others like being closer to handle middle-of-the-night wake-up calls.
Not Properly Visualizing The Size Of The Rooms
Floor plans list out the dimensions of the room, and you might naturally assume that a room is “big enough.” Unfortunately, this assumption can mean ending up with a room that doesn't meet your needs. To get a better sense of how big a room is, ask for the dimensions and examples when you’re in a showhome. Better yet, measure your furniture and chart things out on graph paper before you decide on a floor plan.
Houses that break the rectangular mould might look cool, but they can be less than ideal in reality. For example, lower vaulted ceilings may lead to limited vertical wall space. Sometimes, a room will have an odd “nook” that doesn’t seem to serve a purpose. The most practical floor plans have rooms that are rectangular or square-shaped. This makes it easier to place furniture in an appealing way.
Surprisingly, a well-designed home with only 1,000 square feet can feel more spacious than a poorly-designed home that’s 1,500 square feet. It’s all about how you use the space within the home. Make sure that you’re using every little bit of space. Ask the builder to include built-in storage space wherever possible, and try to avoid including extra square footage where it’s not necessary.
Certain home designs are less efficient when it comes to energy use, and it can add up in terms of heating and cooling costs. For instance, extra high ceilings may look nice, but you’ll also use more energy to keep the home at a comfortable temperature. A house that’s not oriented to make use of the sun’s rays misses out on free energy. A good builder will always use the latest energy-efficient materials in their builds, but be sure to talk to them about other ways they can help you save on energy costs.
Designing a home that fits your lifestyle perfectly is one of the best parts of building your own home. However, features that are a bit too unique may make it harder to sell in the future. For instance, a finished basement may not be important to you but it won’t be ideal for someone who has children. While you are likely thinking about staying in your home for many years, you should still consider how certain features will look if you ever need to sell.
Lack Of Storage Space
Having enough storage space is important in any home. As you envision your new home, mentally plan where you’re going to stash things when they’re not in use, such as bicycles and patio furniture in the winter time. Think about home storage solutions ahead of time - including a large garage, cabinets with ample storage space, and built-in wall shelving.
Quality builders do a good job of creating floor plans to meet the needs of today’s families, but it’s still up to you to ensure the design meets your specific needs. Take the time to carefully consider your options and remember, a good builder will be happy to discuss which plans may be best for you.