Aside from the purchase of your home, a renovation is probably the most expensive undertaking you will ever embark on. So you want to get it right. Top of the list of Things To Not Stuff Up when it comes to apartment or house design is the floor plan, because if there’s anything about the layout of your home that doesn’t work, it will bug you Every. Single. Day.
To avoid floor plan regret, take a look at Design Plus Drafting’s top tips for achieving a harmonious home…
Nothing breathes life into a space like natural light, so factor in the orientation of your home. Try to place rooms you’ll use mostly during the day – the kitchen and living area – in locations which will have north-facing windows or glass doors. A fundamental aspect of passive home design, this not only lets in maximum light but has the added benefit of generating free daytime heat from the low winter sun streaming in.
A floor plan is a ‘bird’s eye’ view of your unit or house design from above, so it’s important to imagine what your layout will look like from ground level. One common mistake is to have less-than-attractive elements of the home in direct view of the front door – a laundry full of muddy gumboots, for example, or worst of all a toilet or bathroom. Sure, you’re used to the sight of your husband in a teeny towel, his back hair all moist and curly from the shower, but consider surprise (and surprised) visitors. Some things can never be unseen.
It should be a law of physics that however much cupboard space, drawers and shelving you think you require, you’ll end up needing more. Growing families and expanding collections have a tendency to transform minimalist serenity into cluttered chaos, so make the most of the planning stage of your house design to calculate your storage requirements, then double it. Cupboards in the eaves of your attic conversion, built-in wardrobes, clever kitchen cabinetry or even a butler’s pantry work miracles when it comes to concealing the detritus of domestic life.
A library, home office or workshop feature on many a renovation wish list, but sadly we’re not all blessed with the generous home footprint to fit all these luxuries in without sacrificing living space or bedrooms. However, by thinking outside the box of dedicated rooms you can still have your creature comforts, albeit on a smaller scale. Most hallways or landings can comfortably house narrow bookshelves custom made to fit from floor to ceiling. That awkward area under the stairs is perfect for a study nook – just build in a desk top deep enough for a laptop and stylish anglepoise lamp. And while a man cave might be out of the question, a smart shed storage hack can convert that unused dunny at the end of the backyard into a mini tool temple.
It sounds like an obvious mistake, but you’d be amazed at how many facepalm moments arise from realising that expensive modular sofa you’ve just had delivered won’t fit in your reconfigured living room. Judging scale is surprisingly difficult, so it really pays to spend time carefully measuring existing furniture you want to retain post-reno, plus noting the dimensions of new pieces you’re considering buying. Then ask your draftsman to integrate these pieces in the scale drawings of your house design, to make sure the floor plan can accommodate them.
So romantic in theory: an open-plan master suite with stunning freestanding bath as the focal point, and vanity and WC discreetly situated behind the oversized bedhead. But all the sounds and scents that come with a toilet’s use are In. The. Room. Similarly, even the most meticulously planned dinner party struggles to maintain an air of elegance if the powder room door opens to the dining area. Be realistic about what happens in the toot, and make sure your house design puts it in a place where you won’t have a captive audience while you’re on the throne.
There are many more things to consider but to give yourself the best chance of achieving the perfect floor plan for you, get in touch with our specialist residential building designers. We’ll help make your dream home a reality.