Ensuring Your House Plans Reflect Your Lifestyle
For all the fun and excitement of designing your own home, the process can also create plenty of pressure. While the opportunity to produce a property perfectly tailored to your needs is thrilling, it can also be quite challenging. And, given how much it costs to build a new home, you want to make sure you get it right.
This is only made worse by the sheer volume of decisions that need to be made during the design phase. From major floor plan and structural choices to picking the materials and finishes, it all falls to you. And, if you have never built before, it can be difficult to picture how your design will come together.
So, how do you make sure that the design you are developing will actually suit your needs? Here we explore the important questions to ask yourself when creating and reviewing proposed house plans. We also share our tips on the simple things you can do to make the house planning process easier.
Do the home plans accommodate your average day?
The liveability of a home really comes down to how well it supports your daily life. A great design will provide easy access to everything you need to get through your day. It will generally also minimise the need for unnecessary movement between spaces and around the property throughout your day.
To test this, consider the natural flow of a normal day and how this will work in the proposed design. For example, you should picture yourself waking up in your new bedroom and going about your morning routine. As you do this, think about how well the planned layout supports this and if there are any unnecessary barriers.
Similarly, you can think about how you usually spend your evenings and how they will go in the new space. As part of this, consider what dinner time will look like, from meal preparation to through to doing the dishes. Also picture what bedtime will be like – both for you and the kids – paying particular attention to any potential issues.
Make sure you also think through how you will go about your household chores, like doing laundry and vacuuming. While it is unlikely any design will make doing these activities a “pleasure”, careful planning should make them less painful.
Do the designs support your social schedule?
Large open plan kitchens and fully fitted outdoor dining areas have basically become standard inclusions for most new homes. If you entertain regularly, these features may be worth the investment, particularly if you are building a luxury custom home. But if you do not plan on having friends and family over all the time, this is probably wasted money and space.
With that in mind, you should take the time to think about how often you will actually entertain. Reflect on the last couple of years and count the number of times you hosted an event at your house. If it is only a handful, consider whether you want to design your house based on these rare occasions.
Also, think about how you usually prefer to entertain as this can have a big impact on the perfect design. For example, the ideal small dinner party space is very different to what you will need for large family gatherings. As a general rule, we recommend matching your design to the type of entertaining you most often do.
Do the house plans provide for your preferred pastimes?
How you spend your down time will influence the additional features you may need to find space for. For example, if you are a real movie buff, you may want to add a dedicated cinema room to your floor plan. Similarly, if you love staying fit and active, you might want to have a separate home gym space.
Once again, it is important to be honest and realistic about how often you will actually use these features. Because, while they might be nice to have, squeezing them into your design could mean compromising on cost or living space. This might be something you are willing to do, but that is a decision you need to consciously make.
If there are features you would love, but space is tight, consider adding a multipurpose room to your design. For example, you could have a space that doubles as both a home gym and a home cinema. This would mean you could get in your morning workouts, then pack the exercise gear away for family movie night.
Do the home designs allow you some little luxuries?
The best home plans feature small details that excite and delight the people who live there. These touches help elevate the design, making the property feel unique and special, and adding a sense of luxury. But exactly what these little luxuries should be is really a matter of personal preference and individual taste.
When choosing these details, consider what features you always notice and admire in high-end homes and other designer spaces. It could be the use of a specific material, an upgraded finish, or an unusual architectural element. Or maybe it is the inclusion of specialised fixtures or features, or simply the general styling of the space.
Whatever it is, working this into your design will give the property more personality and make it feel like home. Whether modern design or French provincial inspired, it should also make it more special to live in, providing an added sense of refinement and comfort.
Do the home plans fit with your future requirements?
If you plan on living in your new home for the foreseeable future, the design needs to be adaptable. This will allow it to grow and evolve as your living situation, lifestyle, and personal requirements change over time. It can also make the property more comfortable to live in as you get older or your family grows.
To future-proof your home design, think about the significant changes that are likely to happen over the next decade or so. For example, if you are planning on having more children, additional bedrooms and bathrooms may be required. Or, if you are likely to have an elderly relative move in, having a separate in-law suite might be worthwhile.
While you will not be able to predict every eventuality, you should be able to plan for most major developments. You can also make sure your design supports future development by allowing space for it to be built out. This gives you additional flexibility and should mean you can accommodate almost any significant lifestyle change.
Simple tricks for perfecting your design
In addition to the above, there are a few easy things you can do to make developing your design easier. For example, you can:
Use your current home as a reference point: If you struggle to visualise what plans will look like when built, before you knock it down, compare them to your current home. This is particularly useful when planning room sizes as current room dimensions should give you a sense of the space. Your current home’s layout can also give you a good guide on the flow of your proposed floor plan.
Consider your current pain points: If there are things you hate about your current home, use these to guide the design of your new home. To do this, think about all the things that currently annoy you and you would change if you could. Then use these as principles when designing your new home to make sure you do not create the same issue.
Be clear about your priorities: If you are working with a limited space or budget, you may not be able to squeeze in everything you want. This will mean needing to make some difficult decisions about what to include in your design, and what to leave out. But if you are clear on your “must haves”, versus your “nice to haves”, this process should be easier.
Put function before form: If you have not designed a home before, it is easy to get caught up in making the aesthetic choices. While these are important decisions, getting your structure and floor plan right is even more critical. As such, we recommend focusing on the overall layout and architecture first, then diving into the more visual design decisions.
Seek out inspiration: If you are struggling with any element of your design, look around to see how others have dealt with it. There is nothing wrong with pulling inspiration from other homes and the internet is a great resource for design ideas. You can also arrange in-person inspections (e.g. of display homes) to get a better sense of the space and flow.
Consult the professionals: If you need some extra support, do not be afraid to consult an experienced home designer. Whether you choose to work with an architect or a design and build builder, their advice can be invaluable.
Want to discuss this further?
If you need help making sure the design of your new home truly suits your needs contact Carmel Homes. We are experts in creating beautiful, bespoke spaces that are tailored to how the homeowner wants to live. We are also one of Melbourne’s leading custom builders and can help you manage the whole build process, from design to completion.