Top 10 Things To Consider In A New House Plan

By Todd Fratzel on House Plans

New House Plan Considerations

Blue PrintsSeeing that I have recently finished building our new home I thought I’d share some insights into the design of a new home. There are many new house plans available today and the sky’s the limit on features and styles. The biggest problem with the design process is once we’ve decided that we’d like to build a new home human nature kicks in and we want it to happen over night.

The problem with that is we typically don’t spend enough time evaluating and considering the design aspects of the new house. The most important thing to remember is spending extra time in the beginning will prevent you from having second thoughts once the house is done. The following list are ten important things to consider when choosing a new house plan.

Top 10 New House Plan Considerations

  1. House Style – I think the style of the home is the best place to start. The style of the home will connect with so many of the choices you make so its important to spend some quality time thinking about the style you’d like to live in. Are your preferences more modern or traditional? Do you want a house that is similar to your neighbors? What house style will hold the best value in your neighborhood? What style house will closely match your interior style and existing furnishings? These are all questions that you need to ask yourself and your family. This was a tough question for my wife and I as we grew up on two sides of the country and our styles are very different.
  2. Number of Bedrooms – This question may seem simple and easy to answer but it is worth thinking about and discussing. The easiest answer to this question would be based on your current family size and needs. You may need a two bedroom today and need a four bedroom down the road when your family grows. Or maybe you need four bedrooms today yet your kids will be off to college in a few years.
  3. Single Level Vs. Multiple Levels – Whether or not your new house has only one level or more is really a personal decision. Some people really enjoy having single level living with no stairs to climb up and down. Some people prefer the more traditional cape and colonial home styles with bedrooms on the second floor. Some land sites are quite small and someone looking for decent square footage may only be able to build a multi-level house. If you think you may retire and live in your house as you get older the single level house may appeal to you.
  4. Master Bedroom Suite – Today’s new house plans typically offer a master bedroom suite. These suites often have generous closet space, large private bathrooms with soaker tubs, jetted tubs, large walk-in showers and even walk-in closets. These suites generally increase the value of the home and make the house more marketable if you sell in the future.
  5. Bonus Rooms (Laundry, Play) – One of the most popular trends in todays house plans are dedicated laundry rooms and the renewed popularity of pantries. In fact, in my new house we made the mudroom a combination laundry and pantry. Some house plans offer laundry on the second floor of multi-level houses. A word of caution if you choose a second floor laundry. Make sure you insist that some type of extensive drain system be installed in the unfortunate case there is a broken washing machine hose.
  6. Number of Bathrooms – The average number bathrooms in new houses has steadily increased over the years. The average home in the US has 2 1/2 baths and the average appears to be heading towards 3.
  7. Kitchen Style/Design – I could write an entire article on this topic, however, the main point here is that many house plans have just a basic kitchen layout. My suggestion is find a house you like and then modify the kitchen to your liking. Plenty of home supply stores will design you a new kitchen free of charge based on the floor plan so don’t let a simple kitchen layout deter you from a house plan you really like.
  8. Floor Plans – When evaluating floor plans try to visualize how you will furnish the house and how you plan on using different rooms in your daily life. Get a tape measure and measure rooms in your current house to get an idea of how big a 12’x15′ room really is. Often people have a hard time visualizing the size of a room and later when the house is done they are not happy with the size. I really suggest spending time on the evaluation.
  9. Functionality – The functionality of the new house plan is really one of the most important aspects for your long term comfort and use of the house. If you put the dining room on the other side of the living room so that you have to carry meals through the living room you will soon realize that’s not very functional. The same is true about the proximity of bathrooms to bedrooms. Again, I think its important to compare where you currently live to the house plan and think about your likes and dislikes.
  10. House Site – The house site can sometimes play a big part in the style, floor plan and functionality. For instance, if you have a very small site you may need two floors. Or maybe your lot is really hilly and needs a drive under garage. Just make sure that when you pick a couple of plans you evaluate them based on the lot as well.

Recommended House Plan Books

Ultimate Home PlansIf you’re thinking about designing a new home then I recommend you check out some of the house plan books like the ones below:

About the author

Todd Fratzel

I'm full time builder for a large construction company in New Hampshire. I run their design-build division that specializes in custom homes, commercial design-build projects and sub-divisions. I'm also a licensed civil and structural engineer with extensive experience in civil and structural design and home construction. My hope is that I can share my experience in the home construction, home improvement and home renovation profession with other builders and home owners. I'm also the Editor-in-Chief and Founder of Tool Box Buzz. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions, suggestions or you'd like to inquire about advertising on this site.

All posts by Todd »

Not what you're looking for?

Search for more articles here. Enter keywords like, 'insulation' or 'kitchens' etc to find your topic.

6 Comments

  1. Deborah says:

    Excellent tips!

  2. Great post! This is an excellent jumping-off point for anyone beginning the adventure of designing a new home.

  3. A great list. Our new house, that’s going up right now, has eight bedrooms — and they are all needed!

    I have one bone to pick with you, though, Todd. A laundry room is NOT a “bonus” room. When you’re the one doing the laundry, it is a necessity! :)

    Just wait until you see my post about laundry rooms. I actually have a whole segment in my “organized home” conference talk about laundry rooms. My last one was amazing. (So amazing that people who had heard about it would literally SNEAK into my laundry room to see it! No lie.) But my new one is absolutely perfect. I can’t wait.

    • Todd says:

      @ Alison – Hmmm…..I agree! In fact…you should see our “mudroom/laundry” room! It’s way over the top and a tad un-necessary! In fact…I suppose I should write a post one of these days on our mudroom/laundry room.

  4. falls cure says:

    Nice post it really help me

  5. Laurie says:

    Thank you for the insight! Good information to think about!

Leave a comment

Be nice. Keep it clean. Stay on topic. No spam.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copyright © 2009-2018 Front Steps Media, LLC. All Rights Reserved. Home Construction & Improvement™ is a Trademark of Front Steps Media, LLC.