A floor plan can make or break a house. Position and quality of finishes in the property are also important, but how the house is laid out can be the difference between a good house and great one.
Here are five floorplan considerations to make when buying, building or renovating a home to maximise flow and functionality.
What should you look for in a good floor plan?
Separation of living areas is really important. Each section of the house ideally shouldn’t clash or overlap too much. A well laid out property will have good and clear separation between bedrooms, living areas and the kitchen. Preferably bathrooms need to be easily accessible from both the living rooms and bedrooms. It’s not overly desirable to have bedrooms opening up to the lounge room, bathrooms only accessible via the laundry or the laundry accessed via the kitchen or dining room. Period cottages are typically a good example where separate living spaces work well.
Flow between spaces is vital. Open plan living is now ubiquitous in interior design, but still easy to get wrong. Allowing enough space for living, dining and entertaining areas is obviously important, but it is crucial to allow enough space between them. The sense of flow can easily be interrupted by too little or too much space between these areas. Aim to have at least 800mm to one metre separating different living zones in open plan living areas so you can comfortably move around and so that you don't feel closed in. For more information on how to get open plan living right take a look at these tips on how to decorate an open plan home.
Space and proportion
Ceiling heights are key to influencing the sense of space and size in a property. Generally, the higher the better. If an owner wants to raise the ceiling on their property, the bad news is it’s very difficult to do. The good news is that some properties have had their ceilings lowered in order to be easier to heat, so if a ceiling seems a bit low, it may be possible to raise, letting in more light and increasing the sense of space. Seek a professional opinion before taking this on.
When looking to buy or build a multi-level property you definitely need to consider the practicality of the floor plan. Amenities such as a powder room on each level is a must. No one likes running up and down stairs if they don’t have to. These sort of considerations will definitely help with the resale of the property and open up the buyer pool. A two level townhouse may be perfect for semi-retired downsizers, but they may not want to be dealing with a staircase in five to ten years’ time, so if possible adding a bedroom downstairs is a good idea.
External access can make more of a difference than you might think when it’s done well. For example, there should be some separation between the entrance and the rest of the interiors; ideally you don’t want to be walking straight into the living room from the outside. External access through private spaces such as bedrooms and bathrooms also aren’t desirable. Better floorplans have a designated entryway, hallway, portico or foyer to welcome and smoothly transition guests into the home.
We hope these five floorplan considerations help you to get the floorplan in your next build or purchase right. Are there any undesirable features in floorplans that are deal-breakers for you when looking for a property? Please feel free to share in the comments below.
Robert Di Vita is a fully licensed real estate agent and REIV member. He joined National Property Buyers at the company’s establishment in 2011 as a Senior Property Consultant and has since secured quality property purchases for scores of owner occupiers and investors. In addition, Rob also has personal experience as an owner builder, having completed extensive renovations of his own home and numerous investment properties.
National Property Buyers is a full service property advisory firm based in Melbourne, Brisbane, and Adelaide, and offers Buyer’s Advocacy, Vendor Advocacy, Property Management, and Project Management in markets across Australia.
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