By Melissa Dubroc, ASID
Whether you’re having an extension or looking for better storage solutions, ensure your floor plan makes the most of your home’s potential.
Whether you’ve moved into a new house or undergoing a renovation, effectively planning the layout of your home will save you a lot of time and money. There are many factors to consider, but measurements are key, as is the size of your actual furniture and whether the layout will work for your lifestyle.
1. MISMATCHING YOUR FLOOR PLAN AND LIFESTYLE
Your lifestyle is the single biggest factor that should influence the layout of your new home. For example, if you host guests regularly- don’t position the guest toilet on a different floor or in the family bathroom. If you have outside space, make sure it is easily accessible from the living area and not through a private space, like a bedroom, utility room or home office.
2. FORM VS. FUNCTION
A plan might look perfect on paper, but mistakes can become apparent only after you move in. For example, placing your kitchen too far from the front or side entrance means that you will have to carry heavy groceries a long way through the house. To make sure your layout functions well, try to imagine yourself going about your daily routines in your new space, highlighting any potential functional challenges.
3. NOT CONSIDERING HOW YOU USE YOUR SPACE
Even if your layout is functional, not paying enough attention to the way you use the space can lead to a negative experience. For example, placing the walkway from your living room or the kitchen between the sofa and the tv will create an eye-line obstacle when you’re watching programs.
4. POOR SPACE ALLOCATION
Even in a larger home, a few centimeters wasted in one area can make a significant difference elsewhere. Corridors are a good example of that. Though they may be attractive as well as a necessity, both for functional reasons and for fire safety, you should keep them to a minimum. The space you save will become very useful in your living room or bedroom.
5. NEGLECTING TO CREATE ENOUGH STORAGE
Forgetting to include not only the right amount of storage, but also the right type of storage is a common and often costly mistake. No architect or planner knows what you need to store better then you do, and the type of storage varies by lifestyle. You may need to store bicycles in the entrance or kid’s toys in the living room, so being involved in the storage planning process is essential. Adequate storage is priceless. It will help you avoid clutter, meaning a more organized, safer and calm space.
6. TREATING FURNITURE AS AN AFTERTHOUGHT
Finding the right place to position for your furniture can become a challenge, even in larger spaces. Finding the right furnishing layout is especially difficult when creating an open plan environment. Remember that with less walls there is also less wall space against which to place furniture and hang artwork. To avoid frustrating and expensive mistakes, create a layout drawing with scaled furniture down onto it early in the design process.
7. PLANNING AS YOU GO
A harmonious layout requires careful , up front planning. Each space is unique and there are nuances that typically only a trained eye can identify, and clever tricks only a professional can suggest. Getting your builder in before you know exactly what you want is a recipe for disaster and you risk going over budget which is all too common. If you feel confused or intimidated by hiring a professional- there are other alternatives.
8. BEING INSENSITIVE TO EXISTING INFRASTRUCTURE
Most of your infrastructure, like structural walls, drainage pipes and chimney support walls is hidden. Though it may seem easy to move things around, the cost of repositioning your bathroom to the opposite side, away from the drain may be expensive and may cause problems in the future. Work with your environment wherever possible to avoid spending too much time and money on layout changes where they are not entirely necessary.
Credit: House Beautiful