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  • Andres Betancur

12 Considerations When Designing The Floor Plan Of Your New Custom Home

Designing a new home is an exciting endeavor that allows homeowners to create a space that reflects their personal style and meets their functional needs. The floor plan layout is one of the most critical aspects of building a new home. While a well-designed floor plan can enhance the functionality, comfort, and overall aesthetic appeal of a home, a poorly designed layout can lead to wasted space, awkward flow, and decreased usability – and in general less satisfaction in your home throughout the time you live there. Key questions to consider when designing your home’s layout is, “How will this space be used? What is the purpose of this space?” With a conscious understanding of the purpose, identity, and true function of the spaces in your home, you can design a home that is perfectly suited to your needs and desires.

The layout of the home should be designed to maximize space, minimize clutter, and create a functional flow between rooms. It is important to consider the location of each room in relation to other rooms in the home, as well as the placement of doors and windows to ensure that natural light is maximized and privacy is maintained. Additionally, the layout should take into account the needs of the homeowner, such as the need for a home office or a guest room. Here are a few considerations to ask yourself about the rooms in your home:

1. Master Bedroom/Bathroom

How much time do you want to spend in your bedroom? Should you bedroom include a

Master bedroom with White linen bed and a leather bench. Wall mounted TV and blue curtains. A white chair sits in the corner of the room in front of two windows.
Master Bedroom

sitting nook or will that space become a catchall for junk? Would you like to have a desk or table in your bedroom for bills/ bookkeeping/ studies?

Would you like a wall mounted TV in your bedroom? Entertainment center? Where will your bed be positioned in relation to the TV? Do you need any conduit or extra wiring for your master bedroom?

2. Kids’ bedrooms

Are the bedrooms for sleeping only? Are my kids going to play in their bedrooms or

Nursery room with two cribs opposite each other on each side of the room.
Nursery Room

does the house also include a playroom? Will my kids be doing their homework in their rooms, or will our home also have an office/study room? Do I want to design the kids' bedrooms so that they spend lots of time in their room (potentially by themselves) or do I want the design of the room to help push them into other areas of the home?

3. Will we have a guest room? Who are our potential guests?

Many people desire to have a guest room - or a spare bedroom - but forget to ask themselves important questions concerning how that room will be used and who will use it. Will your guests bother, or be bothered, by your kids? What bathroom will the guest room use? Do you want your guests to share a bathroom with your two toddlers?

Should the guest room be at the end of the hall more secluded past the children’s rooms, or closer to the living spaces more connected to the rest of the home? Do you anticipate the guest room being used by extended family, or by friends, colleagues, and random strangers? Do you want to list your guest room on AirBnB and other travel sites? If so, what arrangements would you prefer as a paying guest in someone else’s home?

4. Home office

In a post-covid world working from home has become quite common. Working from home full time or part time requires careful planning and consideration with regard to office design. In years past is has been common to place the office/study toward the front of the home off the foyer. Is this a good idea? Does this really function well for your home?

Do you have children at home? How busy is your front door? How loud is the kitchen noise and television noise in your office? Do you want all of your guests to walk by your office and see what you are working on? How secure or exposed can your paperwork and bills be?

Home office designs are dramatically changing in real time. What is “best” is different for different people and different job responsibilities. If your home is going to have an office or study room (or both) consider who is going to use it and what they are going to use it for.

5. Study room

Maybe your home doesn’t need a private office, but rather needs to have a general “study space” or “reading room” for your kids or for yourself. If the room is for your kids

A home study with two oversized leather chairs sitting in front of a brick fireplace. A buck is mounted to the wall.
Home Study

to complete their homework, where would you like that to be? Off the kitchen so mom can keep an eye and ear on them while cooking dinner? Does this room need a desk or would a large table be better for projects or multiple kids using the space simultaneously?

Do you envision this study room as a quiet escape from the television in the living room? If an escape is desired, how close is this room to noise from the other rooms? Is this a space for book studies and research?

The last thing you want to do is build an extra room in your house with a specific purpose in mind, but then that room not be conducive for the envisioned purpose… Ask yourself “all the questions” before committing to your floor plan layout.

6. Home Gym/ Exercise Space

Do you workout? Do you plan/want to workout? Having a space that is conducive to activity will help foster motivation and consistent exercise. Do you have a spin bike? Where will you ride - garage/ living room/ bedroom/? Where will the bike live?

Yoga or pilates? Do you have room to lay down and stretch on the floor? Is the coffee table always going to be in the way? Should the “study room” actually become the “gym”? Should you have a wall mounted fan instead of a ceiling fan in your workout space (more airflow)?

Will the flooring tolerate your sweatload? Can you lift weights overhead with an 8’/ 9’/ 10’ ceiling? Where is all of your workout gear going to live (dumbbells/ bands/ jump ropes/ bench/ etc)...

If exercise is a part of your life, does your floor plan design help make it more efficient, or does your floorplan put more friction in the way and make it easier to “skip today’s workout”?

7. Hallways

When considering basic design principles and square footage under-roof, hallways are thought to be “wasted space.” The longer a hallway is, the more square footage is “wasted” without purpose. This is a common premise, but not necessarily true for all homes and all designs.

Spiral staircase in the middle of an oversized hallway.
spiral staircase in an oversized hallway

Hallways can be used to help create light and noise separation between spaces. Some people have lots of artwork and/or pictures that they want to display; hallways provide ample wall space. (Open floor plans with lots of windows offer surprisingly few options for potential wall hangings.)

What is a hallway? What if a “hallway” in your home happened to be a 15’x20’ space with a closet(s) and openings on each end? Or the upstairs “hallway” between the kids rooms functioned as a game room or some other communal space? These silly sounding questions just are simply asking you to reconsider the layout of your home and how people can move from room to room.

… Every square foot of your future home can be designed and built with purpose. Lots of hallways or no hallways, or reimagined hallways are all available options.

8. Garage

Do you actually plan to park your cars in the garage? Is this space actually a home gym or carpentry shop? Are you a mechanic hobbyist? What is the actual desire for this space - know the answer and design accordingly.

Would you like your garage to have an additional rollup door connected to the backyard or patio area? Do you want to use your garage as a “man cave” hangout area? What electrical and plumbing might help your garage better function for your true intent?

9. Outdoor Spaces

Do you want to be outside? Does your home floor plan help make your outdoor spaces better or worse? Maybe your indoor spaces should conform to the demands of your outdoor space desires? Would you like your house to create a three-walled courtyard - maybe even a fully enclosed four-walled courtyard?

Are you a grill-master? Do you want a full outdoor kitchen and a covered outdoor living

Outdoor courtyard filled with potted plants.

space? Which way is your home oriented? Where will the wind/rain be coming from? Will the setting sun hinder your ability to see your outdoor TV during the most important sports games? Or, are outdoor spaces not desired at all? Maybe the outdoor features of your design can be ignored simply because you don’t want to be outside and would rather spend your money on internal design choices…. It’s your home, design it as you want it.

10. Home (Compass) Orientation

The orientation of the home is consequential - if not critical. The orientation of the home can impact the amount of natural light and heat that enters the home, as well as the energy efficiency of the home. For example, a home with large windows facing south can maximize natural light and heat during the winter months, while minimizing heat gain in the summer.

rock patio with a stone fireplace and grill area.
Fishpond Patio

The sunlight will help determine if you spend more time on the back porch or front porch. Do you want to spend more time on your back patio at your grill, but hate how brutal the afternoon sun is… turn the orientation of your home so that the patio is shaded from the afternoon sun. Sometimes HOAs block your ability to add roofing or structured shading after your build is complete. (Be sure that you have a full understanding between the realities of different lots within the same neighborhood.)

East light is far more enjoyable than west light. Prevailing winds come from the south and blow northward during the spring and summer months. In the fall and winter months the winds are cold and from the north. How will these realities affect the livability of your home and how you desire your home to function.

11. Storage

Storage is an important consideration. Adequate storage space should be included in any and all floor plan designs to ensure that the home remains organized and clutter-free. This includes storage space for clothing, linens, and household items, as well as ample pantry and kitchen storage. Open floor plans have many positive attributes, but where can you put all of your “stuff?”

… When designing your future home, “you can never have too much storage.”

12. Attic Space & Insulation

Does your design have steep roof-pitches? Would you like to somehow better use that space? How are you choosing to insulate your attic? While blow-in insulation may be cheaper, sprayfoam insulation provides a better R-Factor and “grows” the size of your home. Sprayfoam holds to the underside of your roof and creates additional air conditioned usable space on top of the ceiling joists.

By choosing to use sprayfoam insulation up to 100s-1000s of usable square footage can be found in your attic. Use plywood decking to cover your ceiling joists and now you can have extra storage space for holiday decorations and other seasonal/ cyclical needs.


Designing a well-functioning floor plan is a crucial aspect of building a new home. By taking into account the size and shape of rooms, flow, orientation, location of common areas, storage, and overall aesthetic appeal, a well-designed floor plan can enhance the functionality, comfort, and overall appeal of a home. The floor plan should be efficient and practical, while also taking into account the needs and lifestyle of the occupants. The flow should be natural and intuitive, allowing occupants to move from room to room with ease. The location of doors and windows, as well as the placement of walls and partitions, should be carefully considered to create a logical and efficient layout.

Lastly, the design should reflect the personal style and taste of the occupants, while also taking into account the surrounding environment and architecture. This is going to be YOUR home that YOU live in. Enjoy it. Enjoy the design process as you consider all the possibilities that your future could entail.

Southern Oak Custom Homes


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