There are so many details to consider when purchasing a new home, from financing to finishes, that it's easy to feel overloaded with decisions. One of the most important choices is which floor plan to choose. Whether you're buying new or used, here are our best tips on how to pick a layout that fits your and your family's wants and needs.
SIZE & LAYOUT
It's important to start a home search with square footage, bedroom and bathroom counts in mind as these are key functional values to consider. Don't forget to ask yourself, however, not just "how much space do I need," but also "where do I need the most space?" Studies show most families spend more time in common spaces (think: living room and kitchen) than their bedrooms, for example. Compromise is key. While having a bedroom for each kiddo may be non-negotiable, perhaps the size of those bedrooms is less important than having a living room that can accommodate two sofas instead of one and a kitchen island with room for enough stools for the whole family.
When considering a floor plan, keep in mind that even if a larger home fits in your initial purchase budget, it may tip your monthly operating expenses into overdrive. Larger spaces cost more to furnish, maintain and run. The cost isn't just monetary, either - a larger home will take more time to care for, especially if you don't have room in your budget to hire help. Be sure to factor in the level of finishes you desire, as well; if you have your heart set on marble, it will be easier to accommodate the cost of that level of finish in a smaller space. Try to be realistic about what you can afford now and in the future; making a financial decision that isn't pressure-filled will allow you to breathe easy and enjoy your home for years to come.
Most rooms, whether intentionally so or not, are multi-purpose. For better or worse (thank you, technology!), we find ourselves doing everything from paying bills in the kitchen to watching TV in the bathroom. Look on the bright side: this same multi-use mentality can assist you in maximizing every room of your home. Dreaming of hosting Thanksgiving in a formal dining room but know your spouse needs that room for a home office instead? Consider setting up a workspace with a table instead of a desk and accenting the room with a bookshelf instead of a sideboard. On a daily basis, the room will function as an office (with an oversized "desk" nonetheless) but on special occasions, you'll have the dining room you wished for. (Side note: many of our floor plans, including the Vineyard shown above, boast "flex rooms" that are specifically designed for this concept!)
This factor is perhaps the most commonly overlooked. Say, for instance, that in the home you're considering, the master bedroom has windows that "wow," but you soon realize there isn't a wall large enough to put a headboard against. Or perhaps the living room has an open flow but nowhere for a television. Take care in speaking with a trained sales agent (or designer) who can help you imagine the possibilities and work through challenging layouts with a to-scale space plan. Not only will this help you envision your existing furniture in a new space and budget for items you need, it'll help you with resale down the road, too.