How to Create Great House Plan Designs for New Homes and Renovations

Whether you are considering a custom home or have found your dream location but the house on the lot doesn’t  fulfill your requirements for space and layout, these tips and tricks on how to successfully create home floor plans for new homes and renovations will help.

Create Home Floor Plans: Top 5 Things to Consider

1. Private and public spaces

First, a couple of important definitions:

Public space is an area guests can flow through, such as your foyer, guest bathroom or powder room, kitchen, living room, dining room and the family room.

Private spaces include bedrooms and possibly a home office or other areas that are usually off limits to guests.

  • floor plan designerFlow between public spaces should be easy. Consider an open plan for a modern feeling, or the more traditional way of dividing up spaces by use. Have them well separated from the private spaces (i.e., for a two-story home, bedrooms would be upstairs).
  • Separate public and private, in both modern and traditional homes, using hallways or stairs.
  • Classically, bedrooms are grouped together with a central private bathroom (assuming you have a powder room for guests in the public space, which is ideal). Or you may think about public spaces as centralized, with a bedroom on either end of the home. This is typically seen in single-level bungalow or condo layouts and provides an added feeling of privacy for you and your guests.

2. Site lines

  • When creating a floor plan, it’s critical to consider site lines; what are you setting yourself up to look at?
  • Consider your property layout and direction (north, south,east or west regarding sun and shade), trees, grading levels, neighbors, a ravine or view features such as a lake, river or ocean.
  • Starting a home from scratch provides the most creativity in house plan designs.
  • If you have a highly sloped lot with an ocean view, consider placing your most used spaces, such as kitchen, family and living rooms on the upper floor to take advantage of panoramic views and leave the private spaces on a lower level.
  • When working within an existing house and renovating your master en suite, think about window placement. You don’t want to be looking directly at your neighbors, or them at you!

3. Traffic flow

  • Consider where and how you will travel throughout your space.
  • A garage where you park after grocery shopping without easy access to the main house, for example, means lugging heavy bags around outside to get inside, and that isn’t very beneficial. Ideally, the garage should have direct access to inside your home, through a mud-room connecting to the kitchen.
  • When renovating your kitchen, consider the placement of appliances and how their doors open. If you bottleneck your kitchen entrance with a large fridge and open fridge door, then having more than one person in the kitchen at a time gets tricky.

4. Furniture placement

  • floor plan designerA wise floor plan designer will tell you this point is paramount for good home plan designs. What’s the use of a bowling alley of a room that doesn’t accommodate furniture well, with proper traffic flow throughout the space?For example, when you enter your home it’s convenient to have a console table to off-load your keys and purse, etc., but this won’t work if your hallway is too skinny!
  • Consider furniture placement along with the above traffic flow and site line section.
  • A working furniture layout is the jumping off point for your electrical and reflected ceiling plans.
  • Where is your sofa? If it’s floating in the middle of the room, then consider a floor mounted outlet to supply table lamps to sit on a console table or side tables. That’s one of the reasons why proper furniture layout comes first.

5. Standard allowances and guidelines

  • There are guidelines to follow for industry standards in layout design for considerations such as hallway widths, the ‘kitchen working triangle’ and standard bedroom and bathroom sizes. These should be used as a starting point.

Once you know and understand the ‘rules’, you and your professional floor plan designer can break them! Some of the most interestingly designed spaces have done just that. Think of modern spaces with sweeping hallways and unexpected kitchen layouts.

It’s up to what you can imagination, plus the keen eye of an experienced floor plan designer, especially one who is part of an innovative design and build team. Sit back and relax, and your dream space will unfold in front of your eyes!

Nisha MacNeil is the lead custom home designer at Kerr Construction, award winning renovation company and custom home builder in Vancouver.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to Kerr Construction.

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