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Podcast

11 Common Floor Plan Mistakes to Avoid

Published on:

7/26/22

written by:

Carrie Barker

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Are you starting to work on your custom floor plan and you want to make sure you do it RIGHT? (i.e. you wanna avoid making costly floor plan mistakes that you’ll later regret) If so, keep listening!

In this episode, we’ll cover several common mistakes people make when creating a custom floor plan (or tweaking a stock plan). Unfortunately, I even see some builders (and the occasional architect) make these floor plan mistakes simply because they overlook the little details.

But don’t worry, friend … you’ll have a big advantage over *those* people because you’ll know what important details to look out for so you can avoid making these mistakes in your own floor plan.

Welcome back to the Before You Build Podcast! I’m your host, Carrie Barker (a.k.a. Caroline on Design), and today in episode 4, I’m going to share several custom floor plan mistakes that can be easily avoided.

11 COMMON FLOOR PLAN MISTAKES TO AVOID

Let me first say (as I always do) … there truly are NO ‘mistakes’ in designing your home. There are certain things that are best avoided (a.k.a. the list below), but there’s no such thing as a true ‘mistake’.

However, I want you to be equipped with enough knowledge to design the perfect home layout for your family, so let’s talk about what to avoid :).

MISTAKE 1: UNWELCOMING FOYER

When guests step into your home, you want them to feel welcomed (and you probably want them to ‘ooh and ahh’ over your house too!)

Consider how guests will move around in your foyer and think about what focal point you want from the front door (for example, when guests walk into my foyer, they see directly out a wall of large windows into our back yard because that’s what I wanted guests to see).

Another thing to consider is incorporating a little area for guests to comfortably sit and put on their shoes or drop their keys. I know this isn’t always possible (it’s not in my home), but I encourage you to use the space you have to the best of your ability. 

Also, if possible, avoid having your front door lead directly into your main living space or having your foyer dead-end into a coat closet or a random wall.

Let me clarify a little bit … my foyer does lead into the main living space, but there is a definite dedicated foyer area and a little space that separates the foyer from our family room. 

What I’m talking about avoiding is having your guests walk into the front door and basically tripping over a couch because they’re walking directly into your family room. Hopefully, that makes sense!

MISTAKE 2: KITCHEN + GARAGE ON OPPOSITE SIDES

I see this ‘mistake’ in stock plans often (and it baffles me). Who wants to tote 18 hundred bags of groceries all the way to the other side of the house when you unload from your garage? Not me and I imagine you don’t want to either!

When creating your floor plan, it’s important to think about how you and your family will LIVE in your home so that you really consider the practical details (like, in this case, your kitchen placement in proportion to your garage).

MISTAKE 3: LACK OF PRIVACY IN THE PRIMARY BEDROOM

Another ‘mistake’ is placing the door to your primary bedroom in your main living area. Many floor plans have the door to the primary bedroom directly off the living room or kitchen. 

This layout allows guests to see directly into your bedroom (including that unmade bed if you’re anything like me).

Simply adding a small hallway allows you to place the bedroom entry out of sight.

Primary Bedroom Entrance Directly off Main Living Area (AVOID!)
Small Hallway to Allow Privacy

MISTAKE 4: LACK OF PRIVACY IN GUEST BATHROOMS

Just like the previous ‘mistake’, try to avoid placing the door to your powder room in the main living area of your home. This happens far too often and it’s kinda awkward when everyone at the party knows when you’re in (and out) of the bathroom.

Unfortunately, I made this mistake in my own basement :(. Our basement bathroom isn’t directly off the main living area, but it’s off a hallway that is fully visible from the main living area. Oops! These little mistakes can happen to any of us! I want you to learn from my experience!

Example of What to Avoid!

MISTAKE 5: LACK OF PRIVACY IN INFORMAL ENTRY

This ‘mistake’ isn’t as ‘offensive’ as the other ‘lack of privacy’ mistakes. However, it’s important to think about the placement of your mudroom (or the informal entry where your family drops all of their crap … backpacks, shoes, coats, etc.).

If your mudroom (informal entry) is anything like mine, it’s a #DISASTER at all times, so it’s best to hide this from view (unless you don’t care). We added a pocket door in our mudroom so we can hide the mess behind a door :). The door is always open but I’m glad to have the option to close it if needed.

MISTAKE 6: MINIMAL WINDOWS IN SECONDARY BEDROOMS

I see WAY too many houses (floor plans) that have one teeny-tiny window in second-floor secondary bedrooms.

I understand that you’re at the mercy of your roofline, but you can typically add another little window to the area (like in the example below). 

My advice … ADD THAT SECOND (or third) WINDOW! You’ll thank me later :).

Large Bedroom with One Small Window

MISTAKE 7: NOT PLANNING AROUND YOUR FAMILY’S LIFESTYLE

I could write an entire blog post on this one! There is SO much that goes into planning around your family’s lifestyle when it comes to your room must-haves, room sizes, and house flow.

Here are some ideas to get you started in really thinking about how YOUR family will live in the home …

What rooms will you hang out in as a family (hint: this is a good place to add square footage)?

Where will your kiddos do their homework?

Where will the kids’ bedrooms be in relation to the primary bedroom?

Is aging-in-place a consideration or bringing in parents to live with you that might have special aging needs?

I could go on and on with things to consider, but we don’t have enough time. So … I recommend you sit down and write/type out a list of anything and everything you can think of when it comes to how YOUR family will live in the home.

Download my FREE Floor Plan Creation Questionnaire to help you create the perfect floor plan for your family.

MISTAKE 8: AWKWARD WALL PLACEMENTS

This one is a little bit harder to explain, so I’ll just share a story from my own custom floor plan. 

I considered having a Jack-and-Jill bathroom between my two daughters’ bedrooms on our second floor. When I saw the floor plan drawing, I realized that having a Jack-and-Jill bathroom left a blank wall at the end of my upstairs hall and that meant the hall would be darker and feel more closed in.

So … I opted to have the bathroom door open to the hallway. I made sure a large wall mirror was what could be seen from the hall. This allows natural light in my upper hallway to reflect off of the mirror. Consequently, this makes the upper hall area feel larger and much brighter.

My upstairs hallway (in MY FLOOR PLAN)

MISTAKE 9: LACK OF ADEQUATE STORAGE

I think this one is self-explanatory :). Make sure you have plenty of storage (i.e. pantry storage, closet space, coat closets if applicable, etc.) in your floor plan.

MISTAKE 10: INSUFFICIENT ROOM SIZES (+ LAYOUTS)

It’s hard to make a blanket statement of what constitutes an ‘insufficient’ room size because we all have different ideas of what size is important to us. 

Here’s my recommendation … when you’re determining your future home’s room sizes and layouts, be sure to consider how you’ll be able to place furniture in the space as well as the flow of walking through the room. 

MISTAKE 11: NOT TAKING ADVANTAGE OF NATURAL LIGHT

Be sure to take advantage of natural light when creating your floor plan. My motto is to add as many windows as your budget allows … in every room of the house!

A house with natural light feels brighter, more open, and more spacious. It also brings the outdoors in.

WANNA DIVE DEEPER?

I hope this list of common floor plan mistakes to avoid gives you plenty to think about when creating (or tweaking) your floor plan. I hope you now feel excited, knowledgeable, and ready to create your floor plan with a critical eye for the little details mentioned above.

If you want to dive deeper into creating the perfect floor plan for YOUR family, download my *FREE* Floor Plan Creation Questionnaire. This guided worksheet includes 20 questions that will help you truly consider your family’s needs so that you end up with a home layout that is designed perfectly for YOUR family :).

Psst … if you want step-by-step guidance in creating the perfect floor plan for your family (plus personalized feedback from me!), check out my ‘Create Your Perfect Floor Plan’ course.

  1. Debbie Bradburn says:

    These are so helpful! Thank you!

  2. Carolyn says:

    Fantastic list! Totally agree especially with lack of privacy in powder room, windows, etc.
    The only thing I disagree with is #1, which is a pet peeve of mine from owning multiple houses. My design interest is in people living in the home, not in how it impresses random visitors, neighbors, salesmen. It feels incredibly exposing to have the front door open and you and your kitchen, TV, etc are exposed. Not a fan! I’m so glad I found your website, it’s obvious you have put so much thought into all your posts!

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