Floor plans can be tedious to read and overwhelming, but with a little knowledge about how to use them – and what to look for – floor plans can become an invaluable tool in your home-buying process. We’ll explain what a floor plan is, and give you 8 tips to make sure your next home is exactly what you’re looking for. Savor that for a moment and imagine the possibilities. This is the time to envision what your ideal home looks and feels like. The best part? You can make that dream a reality – that’s how it works when you buy a house that isn’t built yet – it’s one of the many benefits of buying new.


What’s a Floor Plan?

A floor plan will show you an aerial view of the layout of a home. You’ll typically see the rooms, doors, closets, and general flow of a house. Floor plans are often predetermined by the builder when you’re buying a new home, but sometimes you can customize a floor plan based on your lifestyle, such as with Shea3D floor plans.

The floor plan shows how the rooms are laid out and how you will be able to move from room to room. Floor plans tend to be at scale, meaning you can expect the real one to have the same proportions, which helps you get an idea of how big a room is relative to another, for example.

Why Use a Floor Plan?

Although it may be tempting to want to leave all the floor plan decisions to the builder, or the architect, or even your interior designer, you’ll want to be clear about what the plan is and understand how it will affect you. You’re the only one who can truly advocate for your own needs. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your home your own! Floor plans can help you decide on available home options, like if you want to get the bay window, if the extended patio will be worth it, or if you want to go with the optional door from the master bedroom to the master bath.

What a Floor Plan Can Tell You

  • See ratios of space, the proportions of a house, and decide how your furniture might fit (note: not all floor plans are to scale and should be used as a guide, and not an absolute)
  • Understand if the home’s layout works with your lifestyle and how you may use the space
  • Get an idea of the flow of the house and how you might move about inside it
  • Get a feeling for the building’s style

8 Ways to Use a Floor Plan like a Pro:

1. Think about what your “must haves” are, and differentiate from what’s “nice to have”

You might need to prioritize what’s most important to you to stay focused on what will really matter when you’re settled in your home and living there every day. This will help you refocus when small details threaten the big picture and become a distraction.

2. Make sure it works within your budget

The dreaded “b” word. While financing your home is something you’ll need to think about, you don’t have to narrow it down to the exact dollar amount at this point. You do want to make sure you’re reviewing floor plans within your financial reach. While it may be fun to imagine yourself in a palace, save the grandiose, larger-than-life dreaming for Pinterest.

3. Find out if it’s the right size

This seems simple, but it’s important to figure out how much space you really need. The adage “bigger is better,” doesn’t always apply to homes. Having large amounts of unused space may become a maintenance nuisance. Size is important for making sure both your family – and your belongings – fit comfortably. Think about your current home and your needs. Size can also impact the overall feeling of togetherness – can you hear your daughter calling you from her room – or is it simply too far away? There’s no right answer, so make sure to take so time to think about what’s right for you.

4. Make sure it fits with your lifestyle

People use their homes differently, so there’s usually no one-size-fits-all solution. The important thing to consider is how you use your home. Consider entertaining needs and kitchen needs. Do you want to have an island? Do you need a lot of counter space? Is a walk-in pantry a must-have? You may want to think about how you will make sure Fido feels at home, too. You’ll also want to think about the size of space, relation to each other, and flow of the rooms. How close are bedrooms to the kitchen and what rooms open to what? Consider things such as noise and privacy. Some people like open layouts and some prefer for each room to have its own unique feel. Consider ceiling height, walls, and the angles. You may want to consider window placement and how this affects your views out, who can see in – and what they can see, in addition to how the natural light flows in.

5. Decide if it will play nice with your design style

If you have a specific home style design in mind, such as a CraftsmanMediterranean, or Victorian, you will want to view the floor plan from the perspective of whether or not it will accommodate your needs. Learn more about different home styles if you’re unsure of what will fit your taste.

6. Find out if you can get it customized to be just the way you like

If you’re going to go to the hassle of moving, you want to make sure your house is closer to “ideal,” than “I guess so.” Is your family all about games? You may want a leisure room where you can all gather. Do you love basking in the sun? Factor in the outdoor spaces, such as verandasporchessunrooms, and decks, and whether or not you want them covered or uncovered. You may also be able to plan for your ideal set up using a virtual home planning tool, such asShea3D floor plans.

7. Consider adaptability

Depending on how long you plan to live in your new home, you may want to consider whether or not the home you choose will be able to adapt to your needs in the next five to ten years. Consider changes such as the kids leaving the house, your family getting bigger (whether it’s starting your family, or expanding the family with the in-laws or grandchildren), and whether you’ll really want to climb stairs every day to go to bed. An office can transform into a guest room, or even work as a hybrid, but some decisions you will have to make at the outset.

8. Know what to avoid

Knowing how to read your floor plan can help you avoid less desirable designs, layouts, and features. You may want to avoid tight hallwaysangular walls, or an overly complicated layout.

Browse Shea Floor Plans Today

Now that you’re ready to read floor plans like a pro, check out some of the floor plans available in Shea communities by selecting your region.

Your turn! What are you looking for in a floor plan? Tell us in the comments below.

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