Whether you are looking to enter the market or are building a new home, choosing a floor plan that suits your long term needs and goals is the most important part of the process.
Here are some tips to help you choose the right floorplan.
What are your constraints?
When building a home on a vacant block, you have complete control over your floorplan of choice. However, you need to make sure that your land supports your designs, which is why it is important to use the tools available to you for checking the zoning and planning restrictions that apply to you.
Tools like Landchecker give you instant access to key information about zoning and planning constraints, such as planning overlays. Planning overlays essentially show you whether there are constraints on your ability to build, such as environmental, historical or structural constraints.
Be sure to research land you intend to purchase for these zoning and planning constraints so that you can build a floorplan that utilises the land efficiently.
Usability reigns supreme
The most important aspect for choosing a floorplan is in assessing how you will use your home and whether this will change over the years.
The obvious thing to keep in mind is how your household may change over the years, such as a growing family and then a shrinking family. If you have finally found the perfect piece of land, you may not be too keen on the idea of downsizing once the kids do move out. Can you design a floorplan that flexibly allows for changes in the household without requiring significant maintenance later on in the picture?
For instance, can you design a floorplan that both fosters a communal use of the home (i.e. keeping living, cooking, and dining areas close together) while providing space for children to play without interrupting your use of the home? Can you do this without adding a second storey, for future usability?
Where are you looking?
Can you choose a floorplan that makes the most of the property’s aspect? Work with your builder or architect to assess what time of the day certain rooms will be most in use, and how natural light can be maximised.
As part of designing your floorplan with the home’s aspect in mind, passive design is an increasingly common part of building vernacular. Passive design involves using innovative design techniques to make the most of natural resources, especially light, to maintain a steady temperature in the home and reduce energy costs as much as possible.
What are your priorities?
If you want to choose a floorplan that leverages your property for future sale, then look around at the local market and identify the features that are shared between properties that sell the fastest and for the highest price.
Depending on your location, this may be such things as a larger bathroom size, ensuites alongside master bedrooms, places of green respite within inner-city homes, smaller outside areas compared to larger living spaces.
If you are building for yourself and your longterm use of the home, what are your priorities? You may enjoy having a large garden but don’t have the time to put into its maintenance. This doesn’t mean you can’t have a garden, but just need to design one that is easy to maintain. This does mean sacrificing on some aspects of your garden.
If you are not that interested in resale in the near future, you may not need a master ensuite or walk-in robe if it provides you with a larger entertaining area or room for the kids to play in.
Flow like honey
In an earlier article, we dived into what kitchen workflow means for those designing and renovating new kitchens. The principles behind assessing how you want to use your kitchen apply throughout the home and are key to designing or choosing the right floorplan for your home.
This is a time to get the entire family involved in the process, assessing what they like to do most at home and how the floorplan of your home can work with them in these pursuits. For instance, you may have limited space to work with, but someone in your home loves to keep fit and exercise and has always wanted a home gym. You may then be able to sacrifice a small amount of space in one area of the home to create a partitioned section for that family member to use as a gym.
Those who love to cook a lot at home will benefit from a strong focus on the usability of the kitchen and its interaction with the rest of the home, while those who prefer a quiet area in which to work or study may benefit from a space similar to the gym, which simply creates a space dedicated to their lifestyle.