Does Your Floorplan Work for Your Family?
When you’re eyeballs deep in the search for your perfect new home, it isn’t unusual for floorplans to run together. It can be hard to keep them all straight…which ones offer a separate dining room or two half-baths, an optional bonus room or fireplaces in multiple locations. How do you weed through the dozens of floor plans on your desk to find the one that’s best for your individual needs? The team at Ernest Homes helps home seekers work through this dilemma every day. There’s a few simple steps we can share that make this daunting task a little less taxing. Rate Your Must-Haves Have a frank discussion with members of your family regarding the elements of a home that are non-negotiable. Once you create a list of options that a home must contain, it’s time to rate them from first to last. This simple exercise helps you eliminate plans that are obvious mismatches, allowing you to pare down the number of plans to a reasonable amount of choices. While you need to remember that floor plans are by nature flexible in many ways, there’s a limit to the number of changes that can be made on each one. Functional changes are the most limiting. For example, if you’re looking for a an open floor plan and one of your candidates features several load-bearing walls dividing the first-floor space into separate kitchen, dining and entertainment areas, it’s unlikely that the plan can be modified to provide one large “great room”. While the family cook may be willing to sacrifice a kitchen island, putting that feature lower on the list, the requirement for a first-floor bedroom for an elderly family member may rule out several plans that allow little room for modification of large, open spaces. Study the “Flow” When you’re looking at floor plans, “flow” is the word used to describe how easy or difficult it is to move from one area of the home to another. Homes with good flow don’t require residents to backtrack or go through different rooms to get to their destination. Houses with good flow feature rooms grouped together in practical combinations. Kitchens, dining rooms and pantries are usually placed adjacent to each other, while bedrooms and baths are common companions. Another measure of positive flow are the circulation patterns. How easy is it to get from one room to another? Are doorways and windows in convenient places? Does the layout make sense, or is it confusing? It’s smart to “walk the flow” when you’re looking at floor plans. Use your pointer and middle fingers as your “legs”, walking them around the plan to get an idea of how logical the progression is between often-used areas of the house. Your brain will find it easier to take in this information when movement is involved. The flow within each room is also important. Pay special attention to key fixtures in rooms that cannot be moved easily, such as stoves, sinks and dishwashers in the kitchen and tubs and vanities in the bathrooms. If these elements are oddly located, the balance of the room may be affected. View the Plan through a Stranger’s Eyes Aesthetics are important, so it’s best to turn a critical eye to how things look when studying a few key elements. The main entrance to the house is vital to the overall mood of the home. The foyer should be open, bright, welcoming and spacious. An area for catching dirt, mud and other debris is essential. A narrow, cramped or dirty entryway can ruin the first impression of a beautiful home. The location of the bathrooms is also critical. You’ll want these essential rooms to be convenient for midnight use and far enough from common areas. If your powder room door opens directly into the kitchen or living room, you may learn more about the personal habits of your family members or guests than you would like. Ask about the direction of the sun during different times of the day, so you can assess whether or not the amount of light coming into a room will make it comfortable for sleeping or reading, or hospitable to your favorite plants. Love Your Furniture If you’ll be taking most of your furniture to your new home, it’s important to figure out how well it will fit into your rooms. Measure first…make sure you know the exact size of each piece you’ll be transporting. Make a list of pieces that can be broken down and reassembled in a room to make moving easier. Note whether your furniture will fit comfortably in each room. You don’t want overly large pieces crowding a room or a large space shrinking the presence of your smaller furniture. For help, you can turn to sites like SmartDraw.com or Floor Plan Creator. Plan for the Future If you’re just starting out, you may want to look at a larger floor plan to accommodate a growing family. You may also want to consider whether or not you’ll welcome elderly relatives to your home, or if your family will be shrinking and how you could effectively use empty space. You may want to plan for a larger garage if you’re projecting additional drivers over the time you’ll be living in the house. If you need guidance interpreting and evaluating your floor plan choices, the experts at Ernest Homes can help. We’re here to show you the way…just call (912) 756-4135 or email us today!