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3 Tips to Design the Perfect Floor Plan for Your Family

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Carrie Barker


Creating your floor plan is a HUGE part of building your home. I imagine you want to build a home that flows well and is functional for YOUR family … plus, you want it to fit into your budget. Below are 3 tips to design the perfect floor plan so that your home *does* flow well and *is* functional for the way YOUR family lives.

Within these tips, I’m also indirectly answering questions that I hear over and over again from people who are creating a floor plan. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have one (or more) of these questions swirling around in your head too :).



Welcome back to the Before You Build Podcast! I’m your host, Carrie Barker (a.k.a. Caroline on Design), and today in episode 31, I’m sharing 3 tips to design the perfect floor plan for your family. 

But real quick … I want to let you know that I have an amazing free resource for you. It’s a Floor Plan Questionnaire that will help you *really* consider what is most (and least) important to you in your future home layout. I promise that going through this exercise will help you as you create a functional floor plan that is perfect for the way your family lives. Download the Floor Plan Questionnaire here.

Ok, let’s get into today’s episode.

I mentioned in the intro that these 3 tips indirectly answer common questions that I hear over and over again from people in the midst of creating floor plans. 

All three of these tips to design the perfect floor plan answer the question of ‘How do you come up with a good floor plan?’. 


Unfortunately, there isn’t a clear answer as to what makes a ‘good floor plan’. 

The answer is relative and subjective depending on the person. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer as to what constitutes a ‘good floor plan’. 

However, what makes a ‘good floor plan’ for YOU allllll starts with considering how YOUR family will live in the home. 

So tip one is …


When you thoroughly consider what is most and least important to you in your future home, as well as how your family will live in the home, you’re better able to create a custom floor plan that is both functional and perfect for YOUR family.

When thinking about your room sizes and your home’s layout, focus your square footage on the rooms that will be used most often by your family.

The only way to do this effectively is if you *really* think about how your family will live in the home.

Some ideas to get you started …

Where do you picture your children doing their homework?

Where do you picture your future grandchildren playing?

How do you envision you and/or your spouse cooking? 

Where will your family eat dinner?

Where will your kiddos hang out when their friends are over? 

Where will you relax as a family?

Where will you go when you need a break from the family?

And keep in mind that this is YOUR home so it doesn’t matter what other people think is important or necessary when it comes to room sizes.

The bottom line … really consider how your family will move around the house and what rooms are most important for YOUR family. It doesn’t matter what other people tell you is important because it’s all relative :).

This leads us to the next tip which is a big ‘DO’ when it comes to the dos and don’ts when designing a floor plan.

3 tips to create the perfect floor plan


My biggest piece of advice when it comes to the ‘dos and don’ts’ of creating your floor plan is pretty simple …

DON’T sacrifice your must-haves in your home, but 

DO sacrifice your ‘not-worth-the-money’ items (even if it’s is something others tell you that you ‘must have’ in your house).

Your budget is obviously going to be a huge factor when it comes to square footage and other aspects of your floor plan. 

Unless you have an unlimited budget (which is very few people!), you’ll have to make some cuts to your ‘dream home’ based on your budget. The last thing you should be cutting is your must-haves. 

I recommend that you start thinking about your absolute must-haves in your future home as well as things that would be nice to have (e.g. sloped ceilings) and things that aren’t worth the money to you (e.g. finished rec room or basement)

Are there rooms that you can’t live without (e.g. four bathrooms because you have a large family)?

Are there rooms that aren’t that important to you so they can either be smaller or removed altogether (e.g. formal dining room)?

Do keep in mind that spouses don’t always have the same idea of what’s most and least important in their future home, so make sure to communicate with your spouse to ensure that you’re both on ‘the same page’.

Psst … Wanna dive deeper into creating the perfect floor plan for YOUR family’s needs? Download my *FREE* Guided Floor Plan Creation Workbook.


Tip 3 answers the question of what makes a good floor plan design. This all starts with considering the flow of your plan as you modify and tweak it.

With any floor plan, it’s VERY important to mentally walk through your plan while it’s on paper. This includes custom floor plans and, even more importantly, stock floor plans because they rarely make sense for real family living.

When walking through your plan on paper, you should think in-depth about how the rooms flow into each other.

Does the plan feel choppy? 

Do the rooms seamlessly flow into each other … or are there odd little hallways that don’t really make sense? 

Is there ‘dead space’ anywhere? 

Is there plenty of walking space to get from one room to another? 

Can you see into private rooms from the main areas of the home (e.g. can you see into a powder room from the dining room)?

These are just a few questions to get you started. As you create (or tweak) your floor plan with your building professional, be sure to ‘walk through’ your plan on paper and make sure the flow of your plan makes sense for real family living. 

Psst … want step-by-step guidance on creating the perfect floor plan for your family PLUS personalized feedback from me on YOUR floor plan (yep … I ‘walk through’ your plan’s construction drawings to offer suggestions on how to make it flow better)? If so, I think you’ll love my ‘Create Your Perfect Floor Plan’ self-paced course.

Another question that I’m often asked is ‘what should you draw first in a floor plan?’ Consider this a bonus tip.

You should draw your first floor (i.e. your main floor) first when creating your floor plan. 

Once you have a solid working draft of your first floor, you can move on to drawing up the second floor and any other subsequent floors.

Keep in mind that your first-floor square footage directly impacts (and determines) your second-floor square footage. Any increases in the size of your first floor will increase the size of your second floor.


There you have it … my three tips to design the perfect floor plan for your family. These all answer the million-dollar question of ‘how do you come up with a good floor plan?’

Let’s go through these tips one more time … 

Tip 1 is to consider how your family will live in the home.

Tip 2 is to consider your floor plan must-haves (as well as what you’re willing to give up).

Tip 3 is to consider the flow of your floor plan.

If you put these three tips into action, you’ll be well on your way to creating a functional floor plan that makes sense for your family :).

Wanna dive deeper into creating the perfect floor plan for YOUR family’s needs? Download a copy of my *FREE* Guided Floor Plan Creation Workbook. This awesome resource includes 20 guided questions that help you *really* consider what is most (and least) important to you in your future home layout.

  1. Bretley says:

    Hey Carrie!
    I love all of your articles, and they have some very good points. I would love to print them, but when I try to print from the webpage, it cuts some things out. Is there a way you could add a “print” option where it pops up a PDF format, maybe?

    • Sorry for the delayed response, Bretley … I’m just getting around to responding to all my comments :). I’m not sure if there’s a way that I could offer my articles in a PDF printable format. Even if there is a way, I’m probably not going to do it since I have a paid program that has all of the info from my blog (and SO MUCH MORE) available to join. As far as printing, you could always take screenshots of the blog posts and print the screenshots so none of the info is cut off. Hope that helps! – Carrie

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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