1. Size it up
Start by working out the maximum land space you have to work with. Figure out how far back your building needs to be set from boundaries, neighbours and the street. You will also need to consider any easements or impediments that might prevent you from building over a certain part of the land. You may not want to use up all of your available space, but this will narrow down what’s possible and whether you might need to build more than one storey to have enough interior space for your needs.
2. Take a look around
If “location, location, location” is the mantra for buying land, “research, research, research” is your go-to for housing floorplans. Look at lots of suggested floorplans online, look up builders in your chosen area for a good range, visit display homes and ask your builder or architect for their portfolio. Pay attention to the layout of your friends’ homes and take notes on features you like and dislike.
3. Dare to be different
Traditional single-level floor plans often see bedrooms clustered together at one end of the home, while in double-storey designs the bedrooms tend to be upstairs with living spaces downstairs. Yet playing around with unexpected configurations can reap benefits like greater privacy, better views and more impressive spaces for entertaining. Pay attention to the aspect of your land (that’s the views or outlook) and the orientation which will help you decide where the natural light is coming from and therefore where to place certain rooms in your home.
4. Have a vision
Once you’ve got some floorplan ideas in mind, try to envision how you’ll move through the space on a daily basis. Is bringing in the shopping from the driveway a hassle? Is it simple enough to close off messy areas when guests come over? Should your home office be closer or further away from the kids’ playroom? Are bathrooms accessible from all bedrooms without having to race through the entire house in your towel? Basically, try to imagine how the whole house flows. Close your eyes if it helps. If it feels good, it could be a contender for the right floorplan for your lifestyle.
5. Finish with furnishings
There are inexpensive apps and websites which can help you figure out possible layouts for the furniture you’ll need in your home (or simply go the old school route and grab a pencil and grid paper). Make sure that any existing furniture pieces that you definitely want to keep will fit well within the space. Take into account practical considerations like sightlines and space to walk around while considering a wall big enough for your very-essential flat screen TV.