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How to Choose a Floor Plan

February 13, 2022

If you are one of the fortunate people who get to design your new home floor plan from scratch, take a moment (yes, right now) to take a breath and simply relish in the excitement of it all. Throughout the works, you can expect there to be some stressful times; particularly around making decisions with your significant other and perhaps some things not going exactly to plan (no matter how experienced your project manager or architect is, there will always be unexpected challenges). Try to remember in these moments, just how fortunate you are to be having this experience. You have worked hard for this privilege, so you may as well enjoy the process as much as the end result.

When it comes to choosing a floor plan for your new home, it is likely that there will be several options that would give you a great home, but the difference between a great home and your dream home, comes down to preparation. The more time and effort you spend in the beginning planning and design phase, the more likely you are to end up with your dream home.

Here are some questions that we recommend you ask yourself along the way:

What did I love (and what did I hate) about my previous homes?

Take time to reflect on all the previous homes that you have lived in; there will likely be parts of these homes that you loved, and other parts that you will be glad to say goodbye to. It is important that you physically write these down and communicate these with your builder or architect. This will be a great starting point for you and can assist your design team to get a feel for what is important to you in terms of space and design.

What are my priorities?

We recommend that you make a wish list. Most people will have a wish list that is well above their budget, but it is a good place to start to explore what is important to you and what your priorities are. We strongly recommend attending some display homes and even some open homes of houses that have similar floor plans to that which you are drawn to. The more homes you have walked through, the more you will get a feel for the importance of space and light.

You should also consider what you will be using the home for and what your lifestyle priorities are. Here you need to weigh up lifestyle vs functionality. For example, if you entertain on a regular basis you might want to prioritise a large outdoor entertainment area, or if you run a business from home, ensuring a private and spacious home office area or alternate entrance might be a priority.

Where will I be in the next decade?

You might be thinking about this build as a stepping stone, or you might be planning to settle here for good, and you will want to consider this when you are choosing which floor plan is right for you. Why? Because you want to consider what is important to you in your different life stages. If you are a young family, you might be OK with having all the bedrooms upstairs so that the kids can go to bed while you have a dinner party, but how are those stairs going to treat you in 20 years or when your elderly mother comes to stay? Maybe this is no issue, but planning for the future will ensure that you avoid any dramas in the layout of your home and that you will continue to love your home well into the next decade.

What is my budget?

We know – no one loves a budget. However, it is essential to consider your budget before you do anything else. Having a comprehensive budget will allow you to explore your options without continuously feeling like you are getting the cheap option. Sharing this budget with your design team can also assist them in suggesting creative solutions where you might be able to save money.

Do I need an architect or should I buy a basic floor plan package?

While everybody loves the idea of having an architecturally designed home, consider what this will bring to your home. If living in a beautiful-looking and unique home, then perhaps engaging an architect to assist in guiding you through a floor plan would be beneficial. However, if you are after a functional and simple home for your family and budget is a concern for you, a floor plan purchased as a package might save you a significant amount of money. If you are thinking about engaging an architect, head over to our blog on reasons to hire an architect to read more, or get in touch for a recommendation of an architect.

If you do choose a package floor plan, be sure to review it with your builder carefully to ensure that there are no awkward spaces or issues with basic function and flow.

Will I be purchasing new furniture or using furniture I already have?

This is important. If you are considering using furniture that you already have, you need to make sure that the floor plan compliments your furniture (and vice versa); otherwise, you might be stuck trying to squash a large dining room table into a small living space or have an L shaped couch sitting in the corner of a large lounge room. You will also want to consider traffic flow in different spaces, how your furniture will be placed and whether it will create frustrating or awkward detours in your home.

The more time you spend on considering your floor plan, the less likely you will be to make a devastating error which you will have to live with.

AAG Constructions’ Top Tips when Choosing a Floor Plan:

  • Consider carefully the importance of privacy to you. Some floor plans which are standard and rectangular in shape offer less privacy from neighbours and the street, whereas L or U-shaped houses can offer private spaces in your home which are not visible to neighbours or passers-by.
  • Consider the placement of windows very carefully, and consider your surroundings when choosing window placement – you can significantly enhance a space with a well-positioned window that looks out onto greenery, landscape or a view.
  • A general rule of thumb is to allow roughly 3 feet of walking space between furniture.
  • Consider the direction of the rising and setting sun (we always recommend considering solar if possible).
  • Consider a floor plan which will allow you to easily extend if this is something you might consider in future (with a growing family).