It's important to look at the whole picture when shopping for your new home design. It should meet your individual and family needs, of course, but you must also consider the lot where you intend to build it. Natural landscapes can throw you for a loop sometimes! And you should look further into the future and ask yourself whether this home will be marketable to potential buyers if you decide to sell it.
Living needs and family lifestyles
Individual lifestyles and family needs vary depending on the people. Their cycles, stages, and plans for the home will affect the selection that you should choose from. It's no secret that newlyweds and retired couples will be looking for different kinds of home plans!
Before purchasing a house design, we suggest that you ask yourself a number of questions that pertain to your family lifestyle and basic living needs, such as...
Are you newly married? If so, are there plans to start a family? How many children do you want to have? Is there adequate room in the house plan for expansion as your family grows?
Will you need guest rooms for overnight guests? What about additional living space and/or bedrooms to care for elderly parents or grandchildren?
How do you plan to entertain? Do you want a formal dining room and traditional living room for more intimate gatherings, or would a large, informal open floor plan better support your entertaining style? Or perhaps you just prefer small family get-togethers?
Think about the time you presently spend in certain rooms in your home. Some families like to make the kitchen the focal point and require a large eat-in kitchen with lots of space, while others prefer a den or family room with lots of room for large sofas and a fireplace. If you think that your needs might change, study your home plan and lot space to see if it is possible to expand living space in the future.
Many times, people start out with an amount of square footage that they want. It is important to understand that the total square footage of your house plan refers to the finished portion of the home. Finished living areas are generally described as covered with sheetrock and wallpaper or paint. A heated area is also a good indicator of finished space. Areas like garages, porches and attics are considered unfinished and are not calculated in the total square footage of your home plan. So, while a home might seem small, its outdoor living and storage spaces offer flexibility and could better suit your needs than you think.
How much privacy do you need and where do you need it?
Most new home owners prefer plans with more privacy for the master bedroom and personal living spaces, and others might require privacy in a home office space. And it can come down to your lot, as well. If you're building on a large, rural parcel, you probably won't care about the arrangement of your rooms as much as somebody building in the suburbs.
Another important consideration is how much privacy you want from other occupants of the home and from neighbors. If privacy is important to you, consider a design with an L or U shape, or one with a garage in front. These types of house plans provide you with more privacy when building on an urban or suburban lot.
If you already have a lot, check your home plan's placement of windows to see if they will provide adequate privacy from your neighbor's windows and yards.
Consider how you plan to use your yard space to see whether your home's features like decks, patios, porches, or pools will meet your needs for privacy. Landscaping, lot type, and location play important roles in how much privacy your outdoor spaces will have.
Home design work space considerations
Where would you like the laundry room to be and how large should it be? Do you have any hobbies or special interests that might require additional space—like a workshop or general flex room?
Will you need a large workroom for messy or noisy projects? Do you enjoy gardening? You might want to include a mudroom or utility room with an attached bathroom for quick and easy cleanup. And if you're a pack rat, you'll need lots of attic or storage space to store your treasures!
Furnishings and aesthetics
Will the floor plan of your new home accommodate your existing furniture or will you need to buy new pieces? And will it affect your preferred arrangement style? When planning room sizes, carefully consider the seating areas and how furniture placement affects the overall feel of the room. Do you want two separate seating areas or one larger conversation area? How will the room flow into other spaces?
Measure your current furniture to determine if there will be at least 36 inches of clearance around it for walking space and for doors to swing. Will the height of your furniture block windows? Does the plan provide enough wall space, nooks, and areas for art and personal effects? Study the natural "traffic flow" of the home plan, the interior views from each room, and how natural lighting can be shared and utilized within the home.
Home designs and outdoor living
The geographical and natural landscaping features of your lot can have a large impact on the best style of home plan for you. While choosing a house plan, consider whether your lot will provide a lawn area for outdoor games and sports, or if you will need to reserve enough space to include pools, interesting landscaping, or gardens.
If you've already purchased your building lot, you will need to consider these factors and tailor the house design that you choose to meet those needs and requirements.