We’ll be the first to admit it -- the design phase of the custom home building process can be one of the most arduous ones, and is one of the most important ones due to the implications in later stages of the project if all of the aspects of design are not carefully considered.
Unfortunately, it seems like oftentimes the smaller design aspects are the ones that are not fully considered, planned for, and budgeted for -- causing unplanned changes, time wasted, and cost to accrue down the line.
We’ve put together some of the most common areas where homeowners get tripped up during the design phase, in the hopes of helping your project flow smoothly.
8 Home Design Considerations
Make note of the following items during the design phase to allot time to plan properly:
- Outlet placement
- Gas line orientation
- Door types
- Features vs floor plan
- Room orientation and sunlight
- Closet and storage
- ½ bath vs full bath
- Garage considerations
Why are these 8 items so important?
1. Outlet Placement
When left entirely in the hands of the architect or builder, small items like outlet placement are accomplished, but not optimized for the homeowners wants and needs.
For example: In your master bedroom you may know that you want to place your bed between the two windows based on the home plan that you picked. Because of this, you want outlets on either side of the bed, where your nightstands will go, to charge your phone and plug in your lamps. If you do not express this to the design team on your home, they may place your bedroom outlets on the opposite side of the room -- making plugging anything in inconvenient.
Carefully consider the layout of each room in your plan, and think practically about how the space will function for you and your family. Be vocal about the placement of outlets, but be sure to lean on experts for deciding what is and is not feasible.
2. Gas Line Orientation
Similar to outlet placement, when working on utility layout, be cognizant of your kitchen layout -- and mindful of how the gas connections will or will not work in the kitchen. If you’ve already decided on a specific location for your stove, consider how this will affect utility orientation in your project as a whole.
Remember, it cannot be moved once it is laid out, so it’s important to be sure about how you wish to lay out, design, decorate, and furnish your future space.
It’s also important to consider other spaces that require a gas line, such as your patio and living room for gas fireplaces.
3. Door Type
When dividing rooms in your house, be mindful of the type of door and door frame that you would like to see in each space.
Do you want a pocket door separating your kitchen and living room? A sliding glass door or french doors leading onto your deck? Traditional doors for all of the bedrooms?
It can be complicated and pricey to reconfigure entryway spaces to accommodate alternative door styles later in the project, or years down the line. Again, be cognizant of factors such as:
- Efficiency levels of each door type
- Aesthetic appearance in the space
- Function in the space
- Layout feasibility with your selected home plan
4. Features vs Floor Plan
We touched on this concept briefly in our recent article, 4 Parts of Building a Home that You Thought Were Important (But Really Aren’t). It’s important not to feel too attached to certain smaller features that you would like to see in your home. Occasionally, some home features are not feasible with every floor plan and design goal.
For example, pendant lamps may not work with every kitchen layout based on countertop type and electric utility configuration. A giant spa tub might not be possible for your ensuite bathroom.
Be sure to be open minded when working with design experts, and heed their recommendations. If they are advising you that a feature is non-ideal or not optimized for your selected floor plan, be open minded to other possibilities.
5. Room Orientation and Sunlight
Be mindful of how the house and each room will be oriented on the lot. Do you want to see the sunrise out of the bay window in your living room? Make sure that you’ve designed the window to be facing East.
This is an area where homeowners can feel a small twinge of regret once living in their house. If only they had taken the extra time to optimize their window placement and site orientation!
6. Closet and Storage Layout
Most homeowners spend plenty of time considering “important” closets, such as their master bedroom and entryway closets.
It is equally as important to consider the less glamorous, smaller storage spaces, cupboards, and closets. Did you include space to keep your cleaning supplies, vacuum, and broom? Is your linen closet large enough to store all towels, blankets, sheets, and more?
Nothing ruins a new home more than cluttered spaces and no way to remove eliminate the mess and optimize organization. Give ample time and thought to planning these small spaces.
7. ½ Baths vs Full Baths
Unique to the other items on this list, bathrooms are generally well-considered by the homeowner. However, we have seen homeowners trip up when it comes to deciding on half baths versus full baths for their spaces.
Be sure to think intuitively about the layout of your space, and how the bathrooms will function. Do you need to have a bathtub in your basement / bonus room space? Or would a half bath suffice? Does your guest room need an en suite full bath? Or would one full bath on that level get the job done?
8. Garage Considerations
Garages can feel like a completely separate project if you let them. Alternatively, if you do not thoroughly consider the garage beforehand, they will be a completely separate project to build or remodel down the line.
The main considerations for garages include:
- Attached vs detached
- Utility requirements (electric, gas, plumbing as needed)
- Orientation and placement on the lot
- Square footage
- Usage intention (car storage vs. stuff storage)
Again, keep in mind how you will be using your garage when you’re deciding these factors. Is it only to keep your cars out of the elements? You may not need full utility connections. Will it function as a workshop? It might be worth sticking a half bath in.
Let Us Help
The team of experts at Barden will not let small factors of your design fall through the cracks. We will help you select the perfect floor plan for your dream home, and help you customize it to make it perfect.
Reach out to us so we can get started designing the home of your dreams, the right way.
PS -- Designing the home is only one small part of the building process. But don’t worry -- we’ve produced a guide to help you every step of the way: