Like most of us, you’ve probably daydreamed about the floor plan of your dream home. Maybe it’s got gleaming quartz countertops, a wrap-around front porch or possibly a pool for relaxing on summer days. While it’s helpful to have a vision, it’s often difficult to find a real-life floor plan that matches your dream-home expectations.
Let’s consider some of the top priorities when searching for your next home.
Everyone uses their home differently, so it’s important to consider how you’ll use your home. For example, if you need a home office or a two-car garage, you’ll want to look at floor plans that offer flex spaces and garages that are the appropriate size.
Many floor plans are centered around entertaining, with a welcoming space for guests as soon as they enter your home. A wide foyer flowing into an open and seamless floor plan would be ideal for hosting guests. If your family is more private and you don’t want your home on display every time the front door opens, you may opt for a small entryway and a formal living room adjacent to the front door. This allows guests a place to relax while keeping the rest of the house separate.
For many families, the central hub of the house is the kitchen. Think about your ideal kitchen: Do you want an island? Do you need a lot of counter space? Is a walk-in pantry a must-have? Think about the size of the kitchen in relation to other rooms of the house and the flow between them. Privacy and noise are worth considering, too. How close are the bedrooms to the kitchen – and what separates them from the noisier, more communal areas of the house?
Choosing between a single-story or a multi-story home is a matter of personal preference, location and budget.
Some single-story homes tend to group communal spaces in the center of the house, with bedrooms and baths on the outer wings. Multi-story homes may offer more expansive views, and give family members more privacy and elbow room.
For more noise-sensitive families, a single-story home is ideal for the lack of overhead noise. While a multi-story home offers more privacy and space, it might mean that any bedrooms on the bottom floor are subject to hearing overhead footsteps, TVs or other communal noise.
Also, consider whether the structure is a condo/townhome or a detached single-family home. When thinking through a townhome versus a detached single-family home, each has its own vertical benefits that are unique to your family’s needs.
This may seem overly simplistic, but it’s important to figure out how much space you really need. The old adage “bigger is better” doesn’t always apply to your ideal floor plan. Size is important for making sure your family and your belongings fit comfortably.
Think about your current home and your family’s needs, and consider how your current home’s floor plan uses its square footage. By understanding the size and uses of your current rooms, you can ensure that your new home will have ample space for your family’s needs. Also, home size can affect the overall feeling of togetherness. Sprawling spaces may be great for the added privacy, but could you hear your daughter if she called you from her bedroom?
If you have a specific home style in mind, such as a Craftsman, Mid-Century Modern or Victorian, you’ll want to consider whether the floor plan will accommodate your needs. Consider ceiling height, walls and angles. Note anything you may want to avoid like tight hallways, angular walls or an overly complicated layout. And don’t forget window placement: the views out, the views in (and what they can see), as well as natural light.
Your floor plan will most likely include an outdoor leisure area. Whether it’s a porch, a cozy fire pit, a swimming pool, or other outdoor amenities, it’s important to assess how much your family will use these areas. Similar to a large yard, an outdoor leisure area is beautiful when you maintain it, but can look disheveled if you don’t.
Backyards are great for hosting summer gatherings, giving your kids a safe area to play, and letting your dog run free. Depending on your lifestyle and family size, you might need a lot of outdoor space to accommodate your kids and pets. However, a lot of outdoor space also means a lot of upkeep. Mowing the lawn, tending the beds, sweeping the patio, and keeping the pool clean are just some of the year-round chores that require consistent servicing. Before you decide on an ideal outdoor space, make sure you consider whether the work is worth the reward.
Depending on how long you plan to live in your new home, you may want to consider whether the floor plan you choose will adapt to your needs in the next five to ten years. Consider family changes such as the kids leaving the house, your family growing (whether that means a new baby or an elderly parent), and whether you’ll want to climb stairs every day to go to bed.
When starting the house-hunting process, it’s best to create a list of home features that include the categories listed above. By identifying your absolute must-haves alongside your would-be-nice-to-haves, you can easily prioritize the most important features for your next home.