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Floor Plan Trends

Floor plans are the heart of any home. A beautiful home can lose its liveliness without a working floor plan. Most people dream about floor plans long before they even go on the market for a new home. They imagine large open kitchens, extra bedrooms, and fewer stairs with room arrangements that reflect their priorities. Every household has a pattern of life that needs to be accommodated with the perfect floor plan.

The latest trends in new-home construction are helping buyers grab hold of the most ideal floors plans. Floor plans are now offering more flexibility, adaptability, and plenty of room to develop. Enticing floor-plan trends are increasing in popularity. Below are some of the most desired features for future floor plans.

Sight Lines

Sight lines are very useful when designing the floor plan of your house. Sight lines are responsible for making one home seem large and one home seem small when both homes have the same square footage. They are invisible lines that can be drawn from any given point in the home, whether you're standing in a doorway or seated in a room. The lines stop when you visually come to a point where you cannot see any further. For example, when your sight is obstructed by a wall or a door, the sight line ends. Walls and doors make the home will feel smaller. By opening things up with a hint of what lies beyond, the home will look and feel larger.

Sight lines can be checked with the floor plan, a ruler, and a pencil. Begin by standing in the middle of any doorway or opening and start drawing a straight line to various focal points in the home. Focal points may or may not include windows, courtyards, fireplaces, and adjacent rooms. Ask yourself the following questions when making your sight lines. Then check the sight lines from various sitting positions in the home.

  • Does the line stop in that room or does it pass through several?
  • Does it intersect a featureless wall or will you get a glimpse of a window and the courtyard beyond?
  • What will you see from the dinning room table?
  • What will you see from the family room sofa?
  • What will you see from your bed?
  • What will you see from the kitchen?

Once you have carefully made your sight lines throughout your house, make note of what views you feel are the most important as you casually sit and stand in different areas of your house. Always remember that the least amount of obstructions there are, the bigger the house will look and feel. Not to mention, it's far more interesting to get a preview of what's to come with subtle hints and captivating clues of the spaces beyond than to be cut off from the rest of the home.

Traffic Patterns

Sight lines help you understand the way your house will look and feel when you’re standing still or seated, but what about when you move through it? Traffic patterns are used to help you judge how your home looks and feels when you're moving through it. Traffic patterns trace the way a person gets from one location to the next within a house and also how simple it is for them to do so.

Modern home floor plans rarely utilize hallways to move from one space to another because homeowners are realizing that the space is wasted and dull. Today’s floor plans are turning other rooms into passageways. By doing so, small space rooms are made to seem larger because they are open to other rooms with good sight lines. However, sometimes rooms as passage ways do not do justice for your floor plan. For example, when you walk from the master bedroom to the kitchen and have to walk between the sofa and the TV. This is especially bothersome if your master is upstairs and you have to walk down the stairs and pass through the entry where people are entertaining.

Horizontal banding is a technique used to accommodate to such traffic patterns. Let’s say, for example, that your family room is in-between the master bedroom and the kitchen. Horizontal banding would place the doors or openings to the kitchen and the bedroom on the same side of the home. This creates an easy traffic pattern that makes it simple for one coming from the bedroom to get to the kitchen without having to diagonally cross the family room. It can also make furniture placement easier.

In addition, a stairway from the entry may not be very practical. It’s more reasonable to have it come to the family room or kitchen and toward the center of the home for better access. This is also a better use of space. Keep in mind, there should also be several entrances into the kitchen as well. Three is good but five is even better.

Privacy and Togetherness

As much as we love our family, there is a time when all of us appreciate a little privacy. This is especially true in a house full of kids. The relative placement of rooms can play a major role in how a home lives. Start off by asking yourself some of the questions listed below.

  • Do want your children's bedrooms directly over the master bedroom or would you rather have the master bedroom in a separate wing?
  • Do you want the master bedroom next to the family room or away from loud activities?
  • Do you want your kitchen isolated or open to other rooms?
  • Do you want the kids recreation room isolated or as a room that is open to the bedrooms and welcoming to family?

Your need for privacy and togetherness will determine your answers to the above questions. Most homeowners want the master bedroom to be away from heavy noise volume and away from children’s rooms. Likewise, it is common to want the kitchen to be open to promote togetherness and conversations. And children’s play rooms work well when they are designed as a central hub instead of as an isolated room.

Windows Arrangement

Window placement can be a tricky thing at times. It’s important to know that it doesn't take a lot of windows to make an impact on the character of a home. However, knowing where to place them is key to creating the look and feel most desired in your home. This is where sight lines come in handy. Look for areas in the home that are blocked off and dark and use windows to open up the view and make the space appear larger.

Many homeowners think that if they have an expansive rear wall in the family room that it must be filled with two-story windows to bring in the beauty of the outdoors. However, the same affect can be created with a strategically-placed set of six or eight-foot windows. This arrangement will offer the same impact, and also save you energy.

In addition, it is often a great idea to place small windows under cabinets in the kitchen. They can have a major influence on the look and feel of a kitchen. Another example would be a bow bay window in a small dining area. It will make the room seem much larger. You should also pay special attention to the direction in which the window faces. What view will the window give you and will it give morning or afternoon light?

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