“What common floor plan mistakes do people make when designing their own houses?” originally appeared on Quora 

by Mark Justine De Mesa:

Top Floor Plan Mistakes To Avoid

Prior to building your new home, study floor plans that you think will be ideal for your family. Get this part right and you can enjoy your house for years to come. Get this part right and you can enjoy your house for years to come. Get it wrong, and it can be a huge disappointment and disaster.

The devil is undoubtedly in the detail when building our dream home. From the totally obvious to the less obvious, every detail should be seriously considered. What’s more, we should always try to imagine how the home design we end up choosing will affect our lifestyle and the way we use our home. If we do not properly consider these issues we may end up making really bad choices with our floor plan. And as we all know, mistakes made in the design of our floor plan can be quite expensive to correct or even impossible to fix later. We’ve prepared a short list of floor plan mistakes commonly made to help you avoid them when building your own new house.

1. Not enough planning and preparation

We are usually so excited about building our new home that we choose very fast one of the cool looking floor plans without taking the time to drill down on the crucial elements that will work for our family. Yes, we have already decided on the number of bathrooms, bedrooms or that we want an attic, but have we stopped to consider exactly what our true needs are? Only once we manage to determine the particular desires of our family members, we can get a clear picture of which floor plan will suit us best.

Our suggestion is to sit down with your wife or husband and even the children (if you have them) and let everyone tell how they want a house to look like. Maybe they will enrich your perspective with an opinion you hadn’t given a look yet. Office, separate bedrooms for kids, quiet reading spot, big kitchen? The list is endless, but it’s also unique to each family.

2. Assuming that we know everything

We don’t have to be floor plan specialists. It is really ok if we are not able to understand a floor plan prepared by our architect. Just as we cannot expect architects to understand the complexities of the share market, we may not know everything about their profession. Thus, we shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for their advice while working with them on our floor plan. Architects should interpret the drawings for us, explain everything and answer to all our questions.

3. Bringing a floor plan or magazine clippings to an architect

Another very common mistake is to bring some pictures from a magazine to our architect or designer and expect him to have any creative license in developing our project. Such type of behavior handcuffs the architect and can ruin the client-architect relationship because whatever variations and ideas the architect suggests may be viewed as less adequate than this final product in the pictures/drawings. It’s suggested to start with who we are, our personal needs, get the functions right, and in the end find the style or technologies that best fit our needs. Magazine clippings are good for only one thing: communicating a style or look that we find attractive.

4. Designing the house that is too small or too large

The size of your house can have a huge influence on our cost of living, comfort, ability to work from home and much more. Most people are eager to have a very large home and they design many rooms to suit every purpose and activity.

Reasons to go big:

  • More bedrooms for current or potential future children;
  • Parents or parents-in-law are moving in;
  • More storage space;
  • Working from home;
  • Space to host meetings and entertain large groups;
  • To avoid moving a few years later.

However, such enthusiasm can lead very often to a house that is a monument to excess when children leave home, and incredible utility bills while they’re still under the roof. We should seriously consider rightsizing our homes, and in most cases, it means downsizing from our ultimate wish list.

Reasons to go smaller:

  • Lower purchase price or building costs;
  • Lower costs of heating, cooling, furnishing and decorating;
  • Easier to clean and maintain;
  • Easier to “close up” the home and go traveling.

Do we really need kitchens that are larger that those found in big restaurants or such big bedrooms like in five-star hotels? According to specialists, a good ergonomic rule of thumb is to locate the cooker, sink and fridge within a triangle that is no larger than 22 feet. This allows us to move more efficiently from station to station. And before deciding to build a huge master bedroom, we should ask ourselves what activities we typically perform there other than sleeping or dressing.

5. Building costly house plans

We should be aware that certain floor plans can be much more expensive to build than the others. Even the small home can be very expensive to build. It’s not only about the square meter space used but also about many other features such as structure, form, and design. For instance, if our home has a lot of arched windows, outdoor spaces, angles or uneven patterns, even a small layout can turn out to be a costly affair.

Read more: Top Floor Plan Mistakes To Avoid

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What common floor plan mistakes do people make when designing their own houses?