It’s been quite a while since I’ve written a post about small floor plans, so I decided to focus on functionality and design. How many times have you walked into an enormous house, yet were disappointed with the layout and functionality of the floor plan? I know that in my personal experience, the McMansions that were so popular during the housing boom were some of the most poorly designed floor plans I’ve seen. Plans that had too much wasted space; cubbies that seemed to have no purpose; open areas in places where there wasn’t any flow of traffic – these floor plan mishaps not only take away from the functionality of the design, but also cost money -square footage that still must be heated and cooled.
Of course, if you had a choice over what kind of floor plan to choose, functional floor plans make the most sense. But what constitutes a functional floor plan?
- Rooms that serve a purpose
- Traffic flow throughout the house – the rooms should be laid out in such a way that you don’t have to walk through a bedroom to get to a living room or den, etc. Or walk past an unused living area to the “main family area”
- Plenty of storage
- Minimal wasted corners, landings, or seating areas
Some good choices include bungalow style plans. Bungalows vary in size, but are typically under 1,500 square feet. Their exterior design can range from Craftsman to Cape Cod. These small floor plans normally focus on the living/dining/kitchen area as the central “living area” with the bedrooms anchored towards the back or to the sides of the house. Bungalow plans include both open floor plans, where the kitchen is open towards the dining and living areas, as well as more “closed” floor plans, where the rooms are only connected by doorways.
Ranch style plans are another preferred, functional choice, depending on your individual style. Ranch style plans are traditionally one-level, however newer styles offer two-levels. The main living area (living room, kitchen, dining area) are clustered together either towards the middle of the house or on either end with the bedrooms grouped together as well. Ranch plans can range in size from small (1,000 sq. ft.) to very large (over 3,500 sq. ft.)
The benefits of choosing smaller, more functional floor plans can mean huge savings in your electric and gas bill. It may also mean you accumulate less “stuff” because you have fewer wasted areas that end up getting filled with things you never use. Another good reason for a small floor plan.
When you bought your home, did you consider the floor plan and its functionality? Are you thinking of buying or building a home and seriously considering a smaller one?