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5 Things I Wish I Included in my Custom Floor Plan

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written by:

Carrie Barker


Are you in the process of creating your custom floor plan and you wanna learn from others’ experiences so you can avoid making any ‘mistakes’? You’re in luck because I’m sharing five things I wish I included in my own custom floor plan that I created nearly 10 years ago.


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Honestly, there is very little I would change about my custom home.  Our floor plan is cozy, functional, and perfect for the way my family lives, and I’m still happy with my timeless design decisions NINE years later.

However, you’re here to find out what I WOULD change if I were to build again … so let’s talk about it. Do keep in mind that these are ALL things I can certainly live without BUT I do plan to incorporate some (or all) of these in my next home build.

Let’s get started and go right down the list …

A list of 5 things I wish I included in my custom floor plan when I built my home.



I SO wish I had added sloped ceilings in my daughters’ bedrooms on the second floor.

My girls’ bedrooms are a great size, but I love how even a small bedroom can look more open and spacious with a sloped ceiling that follows the roofline. Not to mention, all the character that it adds to the room.

I will 99.99% include sloped ceilings in all of our bedrooms (hopefully) the next time around (i.e. the next time we build).


My husband and I currently share a closet that is large and completely adequate, AND we each have our own side (although I’ve crept into some of his drawer space). However, I want my own closet in our next home! And I’m pretty sure he wants his own closet too.

Not only will my future closet be a little cleaner (because it’ll be the only one using it), but it’ll also be beautiful (hello, wallpaper-obsessed girl here), it’ll have at least one window (for natural light), and it’ll have plenty of enclosed storage to avoid dust settling on my hanging clothes.


Our current home has a combined mudroom and laundry room. It seemed like a good idea when I created my floor plan.

However, I don’t love it so much anymore because this is legit the hardest working room in our house. It’s always a disaster (which guests love because they comment on how happy they are to see a messy room in my house) and it’s always full of a mixture of clean clothes and dirty clothes and shoes and backpacks. It’s a mess!

Next time around, I will have a separate laundry room with plenty of dedicated space for our drying racks AND my future separate(!) mudroom will have plenty of closed cubbies to hide the mess.

Plus, we need larger shoe drawers (than we currently have). I didn’t realize one of my daughters would grow up to be 6’ tall and wear size 11/12 shoes. This is something to think about if you’re creating a floor plan with young children … they do get bigger (and so do their feet)!


We love to be outside on summer evenings (especially when we have friends over), but the bugs can get really annoying.

I prefer to hang out on our screened-in porch but, unfortunately, it’s only big enough for either a small sectional and a chair OR a dining table with dining chairs. 

My ideal screened-in porch would be large enough to fit a full-size dining table plus a cozy seating area :).


A bonus room was definitely NOT in our budget, BUT it’s something we could have roughed out and then finished later (which is exactly what we did with our basement … we waited two years to finish it after moving in).

We have a massive garage and could have roughed out the coolest playroom/teen room! But nope … I didn’t think to do this back in 2013 when we created our floor plan :(. I’m a little jealous of my floor plan customers who have purchased my custom plan and tweaked it to add a bonus room above the garage.


There you go … five things I wish I included in my custom floor plan.

Please understand that I truly don’t have any ‘regrets’ or feel like I made any ‘mistakes’ with my custom home. There are just a *few* things I will do differently in my future home and that’s what we talked about in this episode. It’s all good!

Hopefully learning from my experience will help you to create the perfect floor plan for your family :). If you want to dive deeper into really considering how to design your perfect floor plan, download a copy of my *FREE* Guided Floor Plan Creation Workbook.

  1. Jen says:

    I love posts like this! They are so helpful, thank you for sharing! It’s interesting that a large screened in porch is my biggest (and pretty much only) regret from our second custom build 5 years ago. It blocks all the natural light from the room it’s “behind” which is our family room. We added sola tubes to the family room to bring some natural light into the space. Just thought this may be helpful for people to consider the cost – benefit of a screened in porch. For me natural light is too important and outweighs any positives of having the screened in porch.

    • Hi Jen! I totally understand where you are coming from. I LOVE natural light and windows. I also don’t want any obstructed views and that is why we put our screened-in porch off to the side in the back of our house … if that makes any sense. It is completely hidden from the main area of the house, so it doesn’t obstruct any views at all. I’m SO glad we positioned it that way … I just wish it was bigger :). xo, Carrie

  2. Cindi says:

    It’s not clear to me what your problem was in having the mud/laundry combined. It sounds like you didn’t have all the features you wanted for either function, but that is unrelated to whether they are combined or separate. So what is the real problem with having them combined? Thanks

    • Hi Cindi … like I mentioned in my blog post, this is the hardest working room in my house and always a mess. I would love to be able to walk into my laundry room (if separated from my mud room) and not trip over shoes when I have a pile of laundry in my hands blocking my view of my feet. If the rooms were separated, I wouldn’t constantly trip over all of our shoes.

      • Cindi says:

        Thanks. I guess I’m still not sure why the rooms need to be separated. Sounds like you just need more storage (specifically show storage.) I don’t have kids but maybe the issue is that kids make a mess of a mud room in general, but stay out of a laundry room.

        • Kayla Kline says:

          Hi Cindi, I’d say because SHE WANTS THEM to be separate. That’s exactly how I would design it, too. My husband is a farmer, and when we say MUDroom, it is actual mud/dirt getting in everywhere. That doesn’t seem like a good thing to have all over the floor in a room where you are supposed to have clean clothes. Right? I never understood when they are combined in the first place. I always see them as disaster rooms especially if someone has little kiddos or a spouse that isn’t the best at keeping up after one’s self. Yes, ideally it would be great if we could stay on top of our home disasters in one room, but logically, having a MUDroom and a laundry room separate makes more sense than anything. If you’re trying to do a ton of laundry all at once, where are you going to put it? You don’t want to have your laundry (whether clean or dirty) fighting for space (and creating tripping hazards). I don’t want to go into the laundry room with the intention of doing laundry and feeling overwhelmed by another ridiculous mess that has nothing to do with laundry. Laundry alone is enough to keep up with at times, so think about how peaceful it would be to not have to also focus on dealing with other people’s shoes, or the dirt they tracked in, or whatever else they dropped on the floor and didn’t put away. I only have a little baby at the moment, but I already am planning ahead for kids to be kids.. which isn’t always perfect/clean/organized. You bet I’m going to try my best to get them on that right away, but nobody is perfect. I think you are right, not having mess makers in your house surely helps keep areas clean. A mudroom is kind of like a catch all space. I wish I actually had one right now. Sadly, my KITCHEN is my entryway, so it is disgusting how much dirt gets brought in, and how much stuff ends up creeping in (even my amazon boxes, lol) and hanging out on the floor by the door. Keep mud in the mudroom, and keep laundry rooms separate and clean 🙂 The only thing different I may add to my laundry room, is turn it into a mini craft room (if I wanted to) with an island for folding laundry/possible crafts, and maybe even a little nook to just store/sort through mail, but I totally agree with keeping them separate, and how in the world is more and more of my clothes hang dry only?? LOL I almost don’t need a dryer for my clothes. 🙂 Just thought I would share another perspective for having them separate.

          • Thank you for your perspective, Kayla :). Umm … yes, kids are MESSY! I have two kids and that is precisely why my mudroom is a disaster zone! Not to mention my husband and dog too. I am certainly the cleanest out of the four of us, but I still have shoes all over the mudroom and my ‘cubby’ is full of coats and purses. – Carrie

  3. Jen says:

    In regards to the MUD room combined with Laundry – I see this on SO many floor plans – and think, welp, these ppl MUST not live in an area with snow! Snowy boots become WET FLOORS – and snowy boots/coats etc need to be hung/set in an open area so they can dry out. Not to mention, the first few steps into the mudroom cause soaking wet floor mats – which are ROTTEN to step on – imagine dropping a piece of freshly laundered clothing on this as well! Not to mention – since i hang/lay dry a TON of my clothes, it means my boys and their buddies could be rolling through my mudroom looking at our skivvies all laid out to dry. UGH.

    Mudroom = Dirty (even when it’s tidy – it’s FOR MUD for crying out loud!)
    Laundry = Clean (even with stains/spills etc… pre-treating/cleanup in a dedicated laundry sink is easily contained, and tidied up. Plenty of space to hang to dry, and a clean, flat surface for folding/baskets etc…

  4. […] these features in your Floor Plan to make it a more comfortable space for your family and guests. CUSTOM FLOOR PLAN […]

  5. william schnettler says:

    My roof truss fabricator has stated, “it is called a lbonus room because you need a “bonus” at work to afford a bonus room. A bonus room over the garage creates expensive challenges to overcome including difficulty in getting HVAC ducting to the room, difficulty in getting more that one window on the gable wall in, difficulty insulating effectively, difficulty maintaining comfortable temperatues because the room is exposed to uncondition space on 5 of six surfaces and with some of that surface being a sun heated roof. The list goes on. Spoken by a builder with 40 years of experience building custom homes, a few with “bonus” rooms.

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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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