Choosing a Home Plan that is Right for You - Part II

Now that you have thought about the broad ideas, think specifically about each room in your new home. What is its purpose and how do you want it to function? What rooms do you spend most of your time in and why? Ask other family members living with you for their input. All of our past living experiences mold our opinions and desires for the "next house" we live in or build. Some of us can readily make a list of all the things we want while others may draw a blank. Below is a list of questions, organized room by room, designed to help you come up with a good idea of what you want in each room of your new home. As you read through the list, put your thoughts on paper and prioritize them. Envision the rooms you would like in your new home, the elements you want in them and how you want each room to function.


  • Do you prefer a split or open floor plan?
  • How many levels do you want?


  • What particular style do you prefer? Craftsman? European? Sunbelt? Victorian? Waterfront?
  • Will this style blend with the rest of the houses in the neighborhood?
  • What type of exterior finish do you prefer? Brick? Siding? Stone? Stucco?
  • What type of roofing materials do you prefer? Clay tile? Metal? Shingles?
  • What kinds and styles of windows and doors do you like? Will they meet energy codes?
  • Are there any architectural features you would like to have? Covered porch? Bay window? Walkout basement? Dormers? Turret? Gazebo porch?
  • What type of decorative details do you desire? Window shutters? Porch columns? Cupola?


  • Do you like dramatic, two-story entries?
  • Do you need a coat closet? How large?
  • What rooms will be located nearest to the entry?


  • What activities will occur in this room?
  • Will this room open to other rooms? Which ones?
  • How many people will cook on a regular basis? More than one at a time?
  • Do you prefer an eat-in kitchen?
  • Will you dine at both a table and an eating bar?
  • Will this room be a primary gathering place? How many people do you need to accommodate?
  • Do you want a separate breakfast nook, hearth room, morning room or sunroom?
  • Do you want an island? Work island or cooking island?
  • How much storage do you need for small appliances?
  • Do you need a serving bar?
  • What primary appliances will you have?
  • Do you want a cook top and wall oven or a range?
  • What type of pantry do you envision?
  • What style cabinets and counter tops do you have in mind?
  • Where to you plan to store waste and recycling receptacles?
  • Do you need a recipe desk or built-in hutch?
  • Would you like access to the garage? Utility room? Mudroom? Patio or porch?

Dining Area

  • Will an eat-in kitchen be sufficient?
  • Do you have specific needs for a formal dining room?
  • How many people do you wish to seat?
  • Should this room adjoin the kitchen?
  • How often will you use this room?
  • So you envision special ceiling treatments?

Family Room/Great Room

  • How would you describe the room you envision?
  • What is its primary function?
  • Will it have special ceilings?
  • How many people do you wish to accommodate?
  • Do you want to capture a view from this room?
  • Do you wish to have a fireplace or built-ins? Entertainment center?
  • Do you envision any other special features? Wet bar? Plant shelf?
  • Should this room open to other rooms? Which ones?

Living Room

  • How do you plan to use this room?
  • Will it have any special features?
  • How many people to you wish to accommodate?
  • Will this be a room for formal use? How often?
  • Will it have special ceiling treatments?
  • Should this room open to other rooms? Which ones?

Den/Home Office/Study

  • Do you need this room?
  • Will you be using this room for business or personal needs?
  • Should it be secluded?
  • How often will you use this room?
  • Can it serve as a guest room as well? Another purpose?
  • What kind of furniture or electronics will be used in this room?
  • Will this room have any special features?

Master Bedroom

  • Do you prefer split bedrooms?
  • Do you prefer this room on the first or second level?
  • Will this room be used for more than sleeping? Reading? Watching TV?
  • Should you have a sitting room? Can it double as a nursery?
  • Do you want a private deck or patio?
  • Will this room have a view?
  • Do you envision volume ceilings?
  • Do you prefer a walk-in closet? More than one?
  • Would you like a fireplace? Other special features?

Master Bath

  • How many sinks do you desire?
  • Would you prefer an adult height vanity?
  • Do you want a separate tub and shower?
  • Would you prefer a whirlpool tub? Window tub?
  • Would a private toilet area be practical?
  • Do you desire a comfort height commode?
  • Do you need a drying area or a dressing room?
  • Will a separate linen closet be necessary?
  • Do you envision special windows or skylights?

Additional Bedrooms and Baths

  • How many will you need of each?
  • What type of storage will you need in/for each?
  • Do you want a powder room near the main living areas?
  • What type of tub/shower combination do you envision for each bath?
  • Will a Jack and Jill bath work well in your home?
  • Will a compartmentalized bath add functionality and efficiency?
  • On which level do you prefer the guest room to be located?
  • In the future, do you plan to finish bedrooms or baths on the lower level?

Linen Closet

  • Will you need more than one? What locations are practical for you?
  • How much storage space will you need for bedding, towels and out of season blankets?
  • What else will you store here? Cleaning supplies? Medical supplies?

Special Activity Room

  • What type of activity room will this be? Hobby room? Game room? Media room? Recreation room? Workout room? Playroom?
  • On what level should it be located?
  • How many people do you wish to accommodate?
  • Do you envision outdoor access?
  • What type of furniture do you plan to have in this room? Electronic equipment? Gym equipment? Pool table?
  • Will you need storage? Shelving? Closet space?
  • What special features do you desire?
  • Can this room serve a dual purpose?

Utility Room/Mud room

  • Do you need room for more than just laundry facilities? Furnace? Water heater? Freezer?
  • Will you need an ironing board?
  • Do you wish to have a laundry chute?
  • Do you want overhead cabinets? Shelving units? Folding table? Hanging space?
  • Will you store anything in this room?
  • Is there a use for a utility sink? Shower?
  • Do you anticipate using this room for any other functions?
  • Is there a need for a coat or storage closet?

Unfinished Storage/Attic/Basement

  • For what items do you need storage space?
  • How much additional storage space will you need?
  • What type of storage do you need? Shelving? Hanging space?
  • Would a cedar closet be practical for you?
  • How much mechanical storage do you need?
  • Will you need a workshop?
  • Do you plan to finish any rooms on the lower level in the future? Game or hobby room? Another bedroom? Playroom?
  • Will you need roughed in plumbing for future baths or a second kitchen?

Fixtures and Interior Systems

  • What type of lighting to you prefer? Track lighting? Recessed lighting? Fluorescent?
  • Do you desire ceiling fans? In which rooms?
  • Do you prefer standard switches? Dimmer switches?
  • Do you want built-in protection systems? Home security? Fire alarm? Smoke detectors? Burglar alarm? Carbon monoxide sensors? (See Home Safety Indoors and Out.)
  • Do you want a humidification or air filtration system?
  • Will you have any built-in electronic systems? Intercom? Stereo? Computer network? Phone system?
  • Do you prefer a central vacuum system?
  • Will you have a specific heating and cooling system? Attic fan?


  • How many cars will you need to store?
  • Do you prefer an attached or detached garage? Carport?
  • Will a drive-under garage suit your lot?
  • What size vehicles do you wish to accommodate? Height? Width? Depth? Will they fit in a standard sized garage?
  • Will you need storage space or a workshop? What type of storage? Shelves? Cabinets? Hooks for hanging items from ceilings and walls?
  • What other equipment will you store here? Boat? Jet ski? Motorcycle? Bikes? Stroller? Lawn equipment or garden tools?
  • Will an out building better serve your storage needs?

Outdoor Spaces

  • How many outdoor spaces do you need?
  • Do you prefer covered or open porches and patios?
  • Do you prefer a patio or deck? Screened porch?
  • Do you desire outdoor access from specific rooms?
  • Do you grill often?
  • Would a built-in grill or outdoor kitchen suit your needs?
  • Will you entertain or eat outside?
  • How many people do you wish to accommodate?
  • Do you desire an outdoor fireplace?
  • Have you always wanted a gazebo, porch swing or garden pond?
  • Do you plan to have a hot tub, pool or sauna?
  • What other activities do you envision in outdoor spaces?
  • Do you envision a fenced yard? What type of fence?

Handicap Accessibility

  • Does someone currently, or will someone in the future, live with you, who is physically handicapped?
  • Will you need additional handrails?
  • Is a wheelchair ramp necessary?
  • Will you need wider doors and hallways?
  • Will you need a handicap accessible tub or walk-in shower?
  • Do you desire lower counter tops?
  • Have you considered the convenience of a ranch home plan verses a two-story home plan? (See Building Up Verses Building Out.)

Review your list of needs and wants. Prioritize each item. With careful planning, chances are, you can have the home of your dreams. Keep all of your ideas in mind as you search our top selling house plans from North America's top selling designers at These designs include many of today's most popular and requested home plan elements and features. It is very likely that you will find a house plan that is right for you.

For more information read Selecting a House Plan and Choosing a Home Plan that is Right for You - Part I.

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