Building your home from the ground up is the only way to end up with a house that contains the exact features you want; but first, you need to have a floor plan. The floor plan is the central element in the design process, when you’re translating your goals and requirements into a concept that will be built.
With this in mind, what exactly is a floor plan, and what should a good plan look like? Here, we’ll explore these questions and take you through the basic steps involved in a floor plan as well as look at some samples of floor plans.
What is a floor plan?
A floor plan is a diagram of a room, space, or building viewed from above. Floor plans are drawn to scale, which means the size of walls, floors, and everything else are correct relative to each other. On the floor plan, you can include details like measurements, furniture, appliances, and any other elements relevant to the objective of the plan. Floor plans are usually two dimensional, but you can also have three-dimensional plans.
The importance of floor plan design
So, why are floor plans so important? Floor plans help people visualise properties, and they’re used by real estate agents to lease or sell properties. Floor plans reveal the relationship between different rooms and spaces, and how people use and move through the property. They play an essential role in designing and building a home. A floor plan helps with planning and ensures each room and space fulfils its purpose. For example, you can use floor plans to manage furniture layout and decide where wiring systems need to go.
Floor plans help architects create the right types of spaces. They enable professionals to design spaces that combine and flow well. In turn, this leads to enjoyable, functional interiors and exteriors that serve their purpose and possibly create a higher market value for your home.
What does a good floor plan look like?
Good floor plans are versatile and flexible, and they should reflect lifestyle needs, as well as taking functionality and liveability into account. For example, you might want to have a home office that can easily be turned into a nursery or extra bedroom in the future. Kitchens should be located next to dining or living rooms, and ideally open into these rooms. Bedrooms should be located far away from living and entertainment areas. In a well-designed house, bathrooms won’t face dining, living, and other common areas.
Spaces should be designed with the household size in mind. For example, hallways might need to be bigger for a large household. Living rooms should accommodate enough furniture, and have sufficient room to move around.
Lifestyle considerations should also inform floor plans. If you entertain a lot, you might design a kitchen that opens out into an outdoor living area as well as the living room. People who work from home might situate their home office in a quieter corner with plenty of natural light.
How to draw a floor plan
The major steps in drawing an effective floor plan include defining your brief and starting with sketches. Start by getting your brief right, which means working through what you’re looking to achieve in building your own home.
For example, you might want to have a home with the right features and layout for a multigenerational household. Your design brief should cover key requirements like the land area you’re working with, basic room information, room sizes, and the layout and flow of the interiors. You might also want to include things like lifestyle priorities, architectural style, and cooling/heating and energy efficiency considerations.
You can do research online and on sites like Pinterest for inspiration about what you want in your home design. If you’re drawing by hand, start with the rooms and walls before adding architectural features like doors and windows. Then add the refrigerator, dishwasher, dryer, and other important appliances that are more or less fixed. Finally, you can add furnishings to your design.
You can create your own brief sketch to ultimately help your design consultant understand what you want. Working with experts like an architect is vital because they’ll check that your design is feasible and buildable.
Floor plan examples
Checking out a few floor plans is the best way to understand how they work.
Floor plan of a contemporary house
Floor plan of a master bedroom
Garden and garage floor plan
The importance of a floor plan for building a home
Floor plans are essential for everything from real estate marketing and interior design, to home building and architectural projects. If you’re building your own home, then a floor plan, informed by a brief outlining your purpose, is the first step. Your floor plan will help you visualise what you’re building and refine your design to create spaces that meet your lifestyle priorities. For a workable, constructible floor plan, work with an architect or other expert who can sign off on your plan and make sure it’s feasible.
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