1. Decide what size of home will best suit your family
Every family doesn’t need a sprawling estate and every family won’t feel comfortable in a small two bedroom home. Choosing a floor plan first should start with how large a home will fit your lifestyle. Assess how many bedrooms you will require for your children and how many bathrooms are enough for you and visiting guests. The size of your home should be the first consideration.
2. Choose a floor plan based on your design style
Everyone homeowner has their own design style and choosing a floor plan that meets your needs is essential. Are you more traditional and prefer a compartmentalized floor plan where walls separate rooms or do you have a more modern style where an open floor plan concept would suit your needs better? Think of your furnishings and how you will decorate your home when choosing a floor plan. Flowing and coordinated colors are most important when designing an open floor plan – so keep this mind when choosing a floor plan style.
3. Decide what type of dwelling type fits your location
Depending on where you live could dictate what type of floor plan will best suit your family. Dwellings such as single-family homes give the ability to have outdoor space for a yard and backyard and provide more space to spread out in. An attached home similar to brownstones or condos in a urban area could also meet your “single family home” needs but divided amongst a multi-level floor plan. Split-level floor plans means your entire floors are split to separate levels and don’t consume the entire footprint of your home.
4. Understand what the pros and cons are of your floor plan
There isn’t a perfect floor plan. There will always be pros and cons and you will need to decide what are your priorities and what can you learn to live with or without. A large living room window wall that lets in gorgeous natural light may also make your energy cooling and heating bills higher. A floor plan that is open and spacious could make it hard to concentrate in your adjacent home office as your kids are watching tv in the living room. Weigh the pros and cons when looking for the right floor plan.
5. Make your decision based on the layout not the finishes
When choosing a floor plan ensure you are basing your decision on how the home flows and feels functional for your daily activities. Don’t get wowed by the upgraded floors, countertops and appliances in the model home, imagine the home in a “stripped down” state and form your opinion from there. A floor plan shouldn’t feel good because of the nice carpet that could go in the living room, it should feel right because the living room is a welcoming room off of the kitchen and foyer area for guests and family members.
6. Ask a real estate or design professional for guidance
While you may know what you want in your future home, a design professional or realtor could help you consider factors that aren’t tangible to the eye and touch. Factors such as energy savings/costs, possible affordability of mortgage payments, location to local resources like schools, churches and stores, and maintenance experience are all factors that a professional can give their guidance on.
7. Trust your instincts on what “feels” right when choosing a floor plan
All of us have the ability to “feel” when a space feels comfortable and able to fit their needs. Take these instincts into consideration when touring different floor plans. You will be surprised how many styles of plans there are to choose from. A family with small children may love the ability for the master bedroom to be housed amongst the other bedrooms. On the other hand, a family with teenagers could prefer for the maser bedroom to be separated by public spaces such as the living room and kitchen instead. Listen to what speaks to you when choosing a plan.
8. Determine if you will need to use existing or buy new furniture
While you may only be thinking about the rooms and layout of your floor plan, choosing furniture is a major investment and emotional challenge if you aren’t careful. If you decide to use your current furniture in your next home, ensure you measure it and take this into account when reviewing floor plans. If you will buy new furniture you will still need to have an idea when shopping on what pieces will fit into what rooms. Be careful of “space eating” over-sized furniture that will make your rooms feel smaller than they are.
9. Know your budgetary limits before choosing a floor plan
Let’s face it; there is always the fantasy side of us that wants to go bigger and better than our wildest dreams. Before getting your heart set on one type of floor plan – know what the costs are associated with the layout. Ask a contractor or builder to help you determine costs as you narrow down to the floor plan that fits within your budget.
10. Understand that floor plan modifications could be an option
While it would be nice to have the right floor plan appear before your eyes, remodeling and modifying a floor plan can be a viable option. Removing a spare closet to make more room in your kids’ bathroom area or opening up a wall to let in natural light could make your floor plan even better. Keep this in mind when looking for a floor plan that is right for you.