How to Find the Perfect House Plans
We so wish we would have read a guide like this when we first started our house plan search. There are so many databases of plans that we figured it couldn't be that difficult. We'd just plug in our needs (i.e. number of bedrooms, max. square footage, etc.), maybe filter down to a certain design style (farmhouse, crafstman, modern, prairie, etc.) and voila the perfect plans! Let me tell you friends it's never as easy as it seems!
When we asked people what they wanted to read more about on the blog, we received lots of requests to share more about our search for house pans and the process of our build. We wanted to share whats we learned through this initial process that we wish we'd considered sooner. Some probably should have been no brainers but some of them were super surprising to us!
Things to consider when you're looking for house plans:
what square footage size are you looking for?
This is a very important place to start when looking for a home. It's also good to have a frame of reference. We started asking friends and family the approximate square footage of their homes and were surprised to learn that many of the spacious homes we admired were less square footage than we expected. So, we initially started looking at houses around 2,500 feet and quickly scaled back to around 2,000.
what style of house do you prefer?
Searching through house plans can be overwhelming enough, but if you don't have an idea of the style of homes you like, then it can be extra challenging. Start by looking on Pinterest or even taking a walk around your neighborhood to see if there are certain design and architectural styles you're gravitating towards most. If you have a significant other to compromise with can this bring added challenges! Thankfully, this is the one part of looking for plans that wasn't overly difficult since Kyle and I both knew we wanted a farmhouse.
open or segmented floor plan?
While many features of a pre-designed building plan are editable, the integrity of the floor plan is not one you'll want to change. Do you want a kitchen that opens up to the living room, do you want rooms to be more separate? Do you want a dining room that's connected to the kitchen or a formal dining room? We knew we wanted a free-flowing space so this helped narrow down our selections.
be open to something new.
From the start we both always imagined we'd be living in a 2-story house. When we planned on renovating this brought up questions like -- "are we okay with the master bedroom being on a separate floor?" and "should the laundry room be on the first or 2nd floor?". As we looked through plans we noticed a lot of the houses we were loving were also surprisingly single story homes.
We realized that we were locked into this idea of a 2-story for no reason. The plot of land we'll be building on has ample space and it's going to be our forever home, so being on one story is actually quite logical. So, we ended up changing directions and are so happy we did!
what features are most important to you?
Early in our house plan hunting process we started making a list of the things that were most important to us:
1. A large outdoor porch for enjoying beautiful Midwest summer evenings. We've lucked out with our plan and actually have a front and back deck.
2. A mudroom, purely out of practicality since we're living in the country! This includes space to store coats, boots, and cold weather accessories in an organized way.
3. A large, open kitchen. We love cooking & entertaining and want a kitchen space that connects to the living room to make dinner a family affair!
4. An office. Our original plan actually didn't have space for an office but did have a breakfast nook in addition to a formal dining room. We ended up converting the dining room space to be an office/studio space!
5. A foyer. We'll primarily be coming into the house through the garage but love the separation from the living room that a formal entrance gives to our little house in the country.
be ready to make a LOT of design decisions (or hire someone who can)!
This part seems extremely daunting but the most exciting part of house plans. When you're looking at floor plans online, often time there's no model home to walk through or photographs of completed house interiors utilizing the plans. A lot of the design decisions are left open ended in the plans (i.e. types of flooring/cabinetry/lighting fixtures, etc.). So, you'll want to make sure that you're comfortable making a lot of those design decisions in conjunction with your contractor/builder or hire a designer to help you bring your vision to life.
Have more questions or things you'd like to learn about the process? Send us a note!