Home Design and Planning

Understanding how a floor plan takes shape, is what this home design article is all about. Before any residential floor plan is to be formulated, the groundwork must be done. Not to be confused with site planning, the groundwork here pertains to the prep work that is required long before any sketches or drawings are first attempted. The architectural style, solar orientation, design aesthetics, budget, and inhabitants are to be considered in the preparation of a new residence. Establishing these principles are essential to home design and planning. Once the aforementioned are addressed, you can comfortably move forward with the actual design process.

Planning the Design

planning a home design
The process of planning and designing a house plan is a calculated one. It should combine the wants and needs of the future occupants in a methodical way as the building design progresses. Think of it as a puzzle with all of the pieces spread out and you are strategically matching parts that have complementary shapes. Most people would group the pieces with similar colors and begin to assemble the puzzle in small sections, eventually combining all sections to create the full picture. That is the same mindset that can bring a home design together. One of the best ways to accomplish this is to divide the home into specific areas of use. By doing so, you will be able to design areas of the home in small sections, making the overall design easy to pull together to make a complete home. This also provides an easy way to calculate the square footage of the house as you design.

Divide the Design into Zones

Dividing a building into functional areas will vary depending on the type of building you are designing. The area planning of a residence will generally involve three major zones. These zones include the living area, service area, and sleeping area. Within these areas you will subdivide into specific rooms unique to each zone. This enables the designer to piece the house together to create a full picture once the design is complete. To do this, the designer must be knowledgeable of room placement, their function, and the relationship between the spaces of the home so that the areas blend naturally. This in turn helps to create a free-flowing house plan traffic pattern within the entire design.

Spaces Associated with Each Zone

Living Areas
These parts of the home are generally used by each inhabitant. It where the family gather to relax, entertain, dine, and live. In fact, these are the rooms most guest will encounter. Plan for the space to be inviting and comfortable. The living areas include the following:

  Breakfast nook/ Alcove
  Dining room
  Family room
  Keeping room (also known as a Hearth room)
  Living room
  Patio
  Porch and deck
  Recreation room (aka, Game room or Entertainment room)
  Study/ Office

More specific rooms that are not typical of a standard home include a library, music room, or hobby room.

Service Areas
These parts of the house are heavily relied upon by the living and sleeping areas. Planning of these rooms should be of the utmost efficiency to handle heavy traffic. The service areas include the following:

  Garage or Carport
  Kitchen
  Mudroom
  Utility room (also referred to as the Laundry room)
  Storage

Sleeping Areas
At minimum, a third of our day is spent in this part of the house. These rooms should be planned for comfort and ideally located in the quiet part of the house, away from the more active living areas. The sleeping areas include the following:

  Bathrooms
  Bedrooms