• Carmel Homes

Building Modern House Plans: 6 Tips to Make it Easier

Modern house designs are synonymous with clean lines, uncomplicated floor plans, and restrained colour and material palettes. But as anyone who has tried to plan a modern house will tell you, this simplicity is not simple to create.


In fact, the pared-back nature of a modern house design means there are very few places to hide. As such, you need to carefully think through every detail and how all your choices will work together. This can make a modern house design much more difficult to get right than one in a traditional, more ornate style.


That said, if you are a fan of the modern design aesthetic, the additional effort is definitely worth it. When done well, a modern home is like a work of art and should look great for years to come. It can also be the perfect marriage of form and function, providing a living environment that is both beautiful and comfortable.


The good news is there are a few simple tricks to perfecting your new modern house design before you knockdown your current home. Here we share our top tips for this, including the key features we recommend you focus on. For ease of use, we have listed these in the order you are likely to think about them.


Tip #1: Start with the basics when you plan

The best place to start any home design is to work out your wish list and determine your must-haves. This is particularly important when planning a modern home, as this style relies heavily on a focused floor plan. Having a clear view of what you want to be included will also give you a good starting point for your design.

You should also consider the ideal footprint of your new home. Often, this will be dictated by the site, with size restrictions or slope issues that need to be designed around. If it is not, you will need to think about how you live and choose an overall layout that suits you.

Once you know the space you are working with, you can start fitting your required features into it. When doing this, try to be quite intentional with your room placement, clustering related spaces together in ‘zones’. Also, concentrate on the flow between these zones and try to create a clear, natural path for your daily routine.

There are a few other characteristics of modern house design you should also consider in this initial design stage. This includes:


  • Straight lines and square corners: The vast majority of modern homes are designed using a series of simple squares and rectangles. This helps keep the design clean and gives the overall floorplan a logical and functional feel. So, if your design features any unusual angles or oddly shaped spaces, consider how you can square these off.

  • Symmetry: The squareness of a modern house design naturally lends itself to creating more consistently proportioned floor plans. This is further accentuated by the zoned approach to room placement, which helps optimise the overall flow. As such, while it does not need to be perfectly balanced, a modern house design should have some sense of symmetry.

  • Rectilinearity: Though not true for all modern homes, many modern house designs are built around a central ‘spine’. This could be a defined hallway or just a logical path that travels through the whole design. Either way, focusing on this should help improve both the flow between spaces and the liveability of the design.

Tip #2: Embrace open spaces with every modern home

Open floor plans are a cornerstone of modern house designs. In addition to increasing the connectivity between spaces, this layout allows for an easier flow between living areas. When done well, opening up the floor plan can also make the space feel more generous and luxurious.

Open floor plans are particularly good for families and people who like to entertain. This is because it creates one living space for the whole family and their guests to inhabit together. This means you can be preparing dinner while entertaining friends and family or helping the kids with their homework.

As an open plan area will serve several functions, its design needs to be somewhat flexible. There are a few tricks to creating this:

  • Zoning: While there may be no physical barriers between the spaces, an open plan area still needs to serve several functions. As such, the best open plan designs usually still have defined areas for different activities (kitchen, dining space, etc.). Many also consider how furniture can be positioned to delineate spaces without impeding the flow and connection between them.

  • Space: The size of an open plan space can have a major impact on how it feels and functions. If it is too big, it will feel cavernous and wasteful; if it is too small, it will feel cramped and could be difficult to furnish. We recommend sizing each area individually, then combining them into one large, open-plan space to get the balance right.

  • Adaptability: New home designs are increasingly featuring multi-purpose spaces, like cinema rooms that double as home gyms. This maximises the usability of the floor plan and helps homeowners fit in more of their desired features. This approach can also help optimise an open plan area, allowing it to be tailored to each of its intended uses.


Tip #3: Avoid wasted or underutilised space

While modern house designs are about creating a sense of generosity, they also focus on the efficient use of space. Each area in a modern home should have a purpose, and ‘dead’ spaces are kept to a minimum. That is not to say that spaces cannot be grand – more that, when they are, this is an intentional choice.

Keeping functionality front of mind should help you make sure you are using your floor space effectively. So too, will thinking through how you will actually live in the home and what you will use each space for. You should also consider what additional purposes any spaces that you will only use occasionally could also serve.

Tip #4: Maximise airflow and natural light

Glass is widely used in modern house designs. In fact, glass is one of the principal design materials in many modern homes. Think floor to ceiling windows, window walls, picture windows, skylights, and large multi-panel glass sliding doors.

In a modern home, the use of glass is more than a mere design choice – it serves several important purposes:

  • Increasing the natural light: Generous use of glass maximises the amount of natural light in each area and flows throughout the home. This makes the space feel more open and inviting and can even make the home seem larger. It can also increase your enjoyment of the home as natural light is known as a natural mood enhancer.

  • Optimising airflow: Depending on how it is used, more glass can also mean improved natural airflow. This is particularly important if you are concerned about sustainability and want to reduce your reliance on traditional heating and cooling systems.

  • Increasing the indoor-outdoor connection: Having a good flow between indoor and outdoor spaces is a top priority for many modern homeowners. Liberal use of glass is key to this, helping minimise the visual barriers between internal and external spaces. This also makes internal spaces feel larger, as the exterior edges appear less defined.

With all this in mind, you should consider how to maximise your use of glass when designing a modern home. For example, you could include large glass doors in your living space, opening out onto your covered outdoor entertaining area. Or you could add a window wall in your master suite to give you a beautiful view to wake up to.

As part of this, you should also consider how to best maximise light and airflow without compromising privacy. Depending on where it is in the house, this could be achieved through thoughtful window treatments (e.g. curtains or blinds). Or you could try to use creative architectural features to increase privacy – which leads us to our next point.


Tip #5: Minimise unnecessary architectural details

Another key characteristic of modern house designs is that they usually feature minimal adornment. Rooflines are kept quite simple, with many modern homes opting for a single flat line. Similarly, most modern house designs do anyway with traditional façade details, like eaves, soffit and fascia boards, and complex guttering.

This continues inside a modern home, with limited use of trim (cornices, skirting boards, architraves, etc.) and plasterwork. Modern home designs also favour smoother finishes, like cement and wood floors and flat panel doors and cabinetry. Recessed lighting is also the preferred choice in modern homes, though most will feature a variety of layered lighting choices.


Tip #6: Don’t forget the storage when designing


Finally, modern homes are best when they are kept clean, clear, and clutter-free. To support this, most modern home designs give significant consideration to the size and location of storage spaces. In a modern home, there truly should be a place for everything.


As such, when planning a modern home, take a moment to think about the storage you have included. Will there be enough space for all your stuff, both now and into the future? And is there a place for all your kitchen appliances, linens, seasonal clothing, sports equipment, and other occasionally used items?

Want more information?


If you are having issues planning your modern house design or have questions about the style, Carmel Homes can help. We are experts in building bespoke homes, from modern to French Provincial, and can help you tailor a design to suit your unique requirements. Call our friendly team today to discuss your plans and arrange your free design consultation.

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