It may take many drafts but the fortunate thing is you can continue to refine your plans until they work best for you.
This helpful guide will give you all the key aspects to consider when planning the best layout of your new self-built home.
Work from the ground up
Whether you’ve created a bubble diagram or you’ve simply got a list of rooms you’d like to be incorporated into your new property, it’s best to start drawing up your floor plan from the ground floor up.
At this early stage it’s by no means imperative to ensure everything is drawn to scale; it’s more important to plan the locale of each room and how they relate to one another.
How your living space works on the ground floor is very important. For example, you might have a growing family and want the kitchen and living room to be in close proximity, or you might work from home and require a good-sized study space that’s far enough from the distraction of the living room and television but close enough to make a cup of tea – there are plenty of considerations but now is the time to play around with floor configurations before the builders are in!
It’s likely you will have an idea of the maximum size you can afford the house to be. Your next job will be to allocate ideal sizes of each of the main rooms. It’s probably best to first agree on a minimum acceptable size for each room – it might even help considering what kind of furniture you’ll want to put in each room to tailor it exactly to your needs.
Agreeing on floor levels
The balance between floor levels must be considered too. If floor space downstairs is restricted due to budget, why not consider using the additional roof space to create an additional bedroom or study? You could even go higher and build an additional second floor if budget allows.
By the same token, if you are planning a bungalow or chalet-type property where first floor space is at a premium, you are likely to want to factor in bedroom or study space on the ground floor rather than cramming them all in upstairs and leaving you and your family in discomfort.
Open plan or not?
When you are planning the layout of your new home it’s also important to have some perspective on room proportions. For instance, in the event you plan for a rectangular living room that’s width is less than half the length of the room it is likely to feel far too narrow, making it tricky to situate heavy furniture and live in comfortably.
You might instead choose an open plan living layout for your new home. By its very nature, as the floor plan is much more open, it gives you greater flexibility that can be changed over time.
If you do opt for an open plan layout it’s still possible to break up the living space by changing ceiling heights and floor levels to create more interesting living spaces.
Illuminations and circulation
Almost as important as a room’s physical dimensions is the way in which it is illuminated and circulated with air. You can flood living areas with abundant levels of natural daylight and plenty of fresh air with windows and flat roof skylights.
The shape and location of your roof lights or windows are an important consideration for any room’s design. You might wish to arrange your windows or skylights to let light into a room from multiple directions for the best results.
Poorly planned illumination and ventilation wastes space that could be used to make rooms appear larger and provide that instant ‘wow’ factor the moment you set foot through the door.
UK estate agents estimate that 90 per cent of homeowners are unaware of the dimensions of their rooms, so it’s essential that self-builders consider every angle before drawing up a to-scale floor plan with an architect and building a dream home.
Next week, we’ll look at the structural elements involved in framing the build of your new property so stay tuned.