Want to build your own home? One of the great advantages of building a new home is that you get to start with a new floor plan. The floor plan is a diagram of your house viewed from above and drawn to scale. It shows how the rooms, spaces, and features work in relation to each other. It also lets you imagine what it’d be like to move through the space and interact with your home, and helps you determine whether a space will serve its purpose.

Different factors will influence what kind of floor plan you can achieve, such as your budget and lifestyle, the size and type of house, and its location. To help you with floor planning, we’ll discuss what a floor plan should include, tips for designing one, mistakes to avoid, and how to read and understand a floor plan.

What should a floor plan include?

A floor plan should include essential rooms and spaces such as the kitchen, dining area, family and living areas, bedrooms with built-in robes, bathrooms, toilets, and laundry. When designing the kitchen, there should be space for a microwave, fridge, stove, oven, sink, exhaust fan, other appliances, and cupboards. If your budget allows, you may want to add a pantry and kitchen island.

Additionally, you’ll need to include hallways, any stairs, linen cupboards, the garage, front and back yard, and features like windows, doors, lights, and furniture. And depending on your lifestyle, you may want to add a home office or study room, nursery, media room, playroom, a porch, balcony, or patio. Most importantly, the floor plan must include the location, layout, and measurements of all these parts.

Tips for designing your dream floor plan

1. Budget considerations

Before you design your floor plan, consider how much you can spend because the more you want to change the design of an existing plan, the more the basic price will increase.

When building your kit home the bigger the space, the more you should factor into your budget. Naturally as you increase the size of the space this incurs additional building costs. Luckily, reputable suppliers install all the standard fittings as part of their quotation and will talk you through your options during your initial consultations.

Get an architect to design your floor plan to ensure it’s feasible and allow10-14% of your budget for them.

2. Lifestyle considerations

Your floor plan should reflect your lifestyle. Here are some things to consider:

  • Do you entertain a lot? You could have an outdoor living area.
  • Do you love watching movies? You could have a media room.
  • Do you work at home? You may want a home office.
  • Do you welcome visitors? You’ll need a guest room.
  • Do you love a good soak? A big bathtub is for you.
  • Do you have a back or knee injury? Stairs may not be for you.
  • Do you have young children? They may need an activity room, and preferably a single storey.
  • Do you have teenagers? They may want closed-off rooms, and preferably a double storey.
  • How many people are there in your family? This’ll determine the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need, whether the family and living areas are large enough, and if you need bigger hallways.

3. Plan for natural light and ventilation

Embrace the sun in some places and keep it out of others. For example, the sun rises from the east, tracks north and sets in the west, so place the bedrooms on the eastern side and the entertainment and living areas on the northern and western sides. If you work from home, you could situate your home office in a quiet corner with plenty of natural light.

Also consider whether the number, location, type, and size of the windows and doors will provide enough sunlight and ventilation. Proper ventilation can help keep your home energy-efficient, safe, and healthy.

4. Consider your surroundings/orientation

Consider the view of your land from each window and door before deciding, for example, where to put the master bedroom. Also consider surrounding natural structures like a tall mountain. If it’s situated to the north of your home, it’ll offer a magnificent view but you won’t see much sunlight during winter and it’ll be colder too.

Depending on your location, you may want to orient for maximum cooling efficiency or maximum heat retention. To maximise the amount of heat and light that enters your house, face most of the windows to the north. And do the opposite to minimise heat retention. If you want solar panels, install them on the northern side of the roof so they receive more sunlight during the day. This means the longest part of your roof must face north.

5. Practicality/liveability and safety

For a small house, you can optimise floor space for functionality in the following ways:

  • Move furniture away from walls to create paths that make the traffic flow smoother and the room appear bigger.
  • Place a desk with a computer behind a sofa to create both an office and living space.
  • If a room has many zones, define each space by integrating rugs into the design.
  • Hide clutter and increase floor space with built-in closets and shelving.
  • Install bookshelves or flat-screen TVs on the wall and use convertible or wall beds to free up space for easier traffic and other storage use.
  • Increase storage space in the kitchen with modular cabinets.

A liveable floor plan design ensures your home is safe and easy for everyone, including young children, the elderly, and disabled people. You may want to include features like wider doors and hallways and a step-free shower access. If you’ve got young children, consider the safety of stairs and balconies, including their design and access points.

Top floor plan mistakes to avoid

It’s important to get the floor plan right, so here are somecommon mistakes to avoid:

  • Failing to consider your lifestyle – Imagine your family is already living in the house. Can you picture yourself cooking in the kitchen? If you have an injured knee, would you be able to walk up and down the stairs? Do you want an open-plan living space or your own cosy space to work?
  • Assuming you understand the plans – It can be hard to understand design plans and architectural drawings if you’re not already familiar with them. So if there’s something you don’t get, just ask for an explanation – it’s better than realising what it meant too late.
  • Forgetting future living costs – Don’t forget that you’ll have to pay for the cost of living in your new home. This includes heating and cooling. So even though floor-to-ceiling windows and high roofs look great, your energy bills won’t.
  • Not planning as you go – This could lead to an unideal floor plan, so it’s important to plan for now and the future. Consider the layout, flow, size, and safety of the rooms, ensure the interiors fit the location, involve your family in decision making, and choose a floor plan that works with your budget.

Understanding your floor plan

Your floor plan is the most critical part of your overall house plan. So here are some key elements you should know about when reading a floor plan to better understand it:

  • Measurements – The four sets of parallel lines on the sides of the drawings represent the measurements of the house, such as the width of the walls. The lines at the top refer to the largest dimensions like exterior walls.
  • Roof overhang and angle – The width of the roof overhang is shown as dotted lines on the outside of the house, whereas the various roof angles are shown as dotted lines across the entire floor plan.
  • Windows – They’re expressed with four numbers. The first two refer to the window’s height and the last two refer to its width.
  • Abbreviations – “Obsc” near the bathroom and toilet windows means obscure the glass and is for the builder’s use, “DP” shows the location of the downpipe, and “MB” is the location of the meter box.

Get help with floor planning

As you can see, there’s a lot to consider when designing a floor plan. From including the essential rooms and spaces to understanding a floor plan and taking into account your budget, lifestyle, lighting, surroundings, practicality, and safety. It’s best to create your ideal floor plan and get advice early in the process to avoid costly changes later on.

Interested in building your new home with Kitome? We offer a wide range of fully customisable homes for you to choose from or you can design your own! We can also make designing your floor plan easy, fun, and affordable.Get floor planning advice from Kitome today.

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