Whether you’re building from the ground-up or purchasing a prefab home, there’s one exciting element that comes with new house plans: Designing it to make it your own. In fact, for many, customizing your own home is a significant factor for why you may want to build instead of buy

This way, you can decide your floor plan, how many bedrooms, and even design the backyard with your own landscaping ideas. Of course, building your own home is not always a walk in the park—with it comes plenty of work and long to-do lists. And, unfortunately, plenty of important things often get overlooked.

8 Basics to Should Consider For Your House Design

When you’re going on a trip and packing your suitcase, you wouldn’t forget a change of clothes or your toothbrush. The same can be said for your home design: There are just some things you shouldn’t forget. This guide will take a close look at important tips you should consider when designing your home.

Tip #1: Consider Your Lifestyle

Building your own home is exciting, but it’s also an investment. Since your house plan will affect your lifestyle, it’s wise to consider what your life may look like in the next decade or two.

If you’re single, do you plan to stay in the home if you get married and start a family? Will the house be big enough to fit a growing household? Or perhaps you prefer to entertain, which means that you’ll want open concept living spaces, extra bedrooms, and a spare bathroom so that your guests can have some privacy when they stay over. 

In any case, your lifestyle may affect major floor plan elements, such as:

  • The number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Whether the home is one, two, or three levels
  • Entertaining spaces, like rec rooms, outdoor areas, and open-concept living
  • Basement or attic spaces for guest areas or a playroom for the kids
  • How much storage you may need, which can account for closet and basement space
  • Overall square footage and property acreage

Whether you’re looking for a home for yourself or your family, addressing your lifestyle is the first step to finding the right house plans. Of course, that means you’ll also have to think about what your overall budget is. 

Tip #2: Establish Your Budget

While most people have a laundry list of wants for their dream home, actually paying for everything on that list is a whole different story. That’s why it’s wise to be realistic about what you want versus what you need so that your budget can make sense. After all, if you don’t stick to your budget, then you’ll find yourself in over your head with debt. 

“You want to make sure you’re being strategic about how you spend your money,” says Brad Ford, an interior designer in New York City. “A budget gives you a roadmap for how to divide the costs of things between rooms.”

With that said, there are many types of costs that go into building a home. To start, you need to purchase the land. On average, land costs about $3,020 per acre. And, while it depends on the project’s size, the average cost to build a house is about $296,000. This price includes construction, labor, material costs, and major systems, like plumbing and HVAC.

If you’ve already selected a house plan, then you can quickly get an estimate of how much it may cost to build your house. Of course, this entirely depends on the type of house you’re building. A 400-square foot home won’t cost nearly the same as a full-fledged family home with four bedrooms will. You can find out how much your home may cost to build with a cost-to-build estimator

Tip #3: Centralize the Kitchen

Today’s homes are changing. What worked for Americans one hundred years ago simply doesn’t anymore. In turn, the average house size has more than doubled since the 1950s. But that’s not all: The way we use our homes has changed, too.

              Many modern house designs include a kitchen that opens up to family spaces

“The biggest difference between old houses and new ones is the change where the kitchen is the center of the house and almost all daytime space revolves around the kitchen,” says James F. Carter, a Birmingham-based architect.

Clear sightlines and communal areas have increased significantly, whereas older homes have designated living, dining, and cooking spaces. It may be worth considering centralizing your kitchen space so that you could keep up with the way many people are changing the way they live. 

Tip #4: Conduct a Site Analysis

One thing many homebuilders may not even consider is a site analysis. While your contractor will certainly conduct one, it’s often far-removed from many people’s minds when designing their own home. 

Your property site can tell you plenty about how your house plan may function, including where to expect sunlight

Before you even pick a few house plans, you should know the ins and outs of your property. Your site analysis can tell you where the sun will shine throughout the year if there are any slopes or hills to consider. Slopes may affect the placement of foundation and determine whether your home is better as a single or multiple-leveled house. 

Plus, the location of the property may affect its value. You’re probably familiar with the saying, “Location, location, location!” Well, there’s a reason real estate agents live by this mantra: Buying property in an up-and-coming area is going to be more expensive than in a neighborhood that isn’t as developed yet. 

What Does a Site Analysis Include?

A site analysis will include everything you need to know about your property, including any regulations or codes you must adhere to and even where to place your utilities and major systems like HVAC and plumbing. A site analysis can be overwhelming for a first-time homeowner, but that’s typically where contractors come into play.

The site analysis will also tell you what is permitted and what is restricted. For example, utility restrictions may control how far away your septic tank must be from the closest well. 

Another helpful example is if you’re building a home in a subdivision. In that case, you’ll likely have to adhere to the local homeowner’s association (HOA) or Architectural Review Board (ARB), which decides on the permitted house size, paint color, garage placement, landscaping, and other essential details.

Tip #5: Browse For Your Favorite Style

Ranging from the beloved country farmhouse to the modern Scandinavian style, there are dozens of home styles to choose from when it’s time to design your house. 

For many, the combination of the country-style and clean lines from modern homes is well-loved too: Referred to as the modern farmhouse, this style is quickly sweeping the nation.

But if modern farmhouse isn’t your style, then there are plenty more to choose from. Here are some of the most popular styles in the United States today:  

  • Mid-century Modern Ranch
  • Spanish Colonial/Southwest
  • Bohemian Craftsman
  • Italianate 
  • French Chateau
  • Tudor

Your home’s style is shown throughout the house’s exterior and interior, including the linework, window styles, roofing styles, and even impact outdoor spaces and landscaping detail. For example, the Craftsman is distinct for its low-pitched roof, large columns, and intricate woodwork.

Think about the kinds of elements in a home that you like best. You could do this by reflecting on homes you’ve seen in passing, searching through a variety of available styles, or by watching your favorite home makeover shows on TV. 

Then, make a list of your favorite types and elements, which will help you narrow down a list of home styles that will work for you. When browsing on a floor plan website, you should know your plan number so that you don’t forget which ones you like best.

Tip #6: Don’t Cut Corners On the Important Stuff

When building your home, it’s natural to want to save money anywhere you can. For many, this means opting for less expensive products, materials, and even labor. However, some things are worth the extra money, such as: 

  • High-end, “green” appliances
  • Energy-efficient windows and insulation
  • Engineered wood flooring
  • Kitchen cabinets and counters

Although expensive at first, green appliances and energy-efficient construction materials pay off in the long run with lower utility bills. Engineered wood flooring is also a must-have if you live in a humid region. Wood tends to bend and warp over the years, but engineered flooring avoids this altogether. 

You’ll also want to splurge extra on kitchen necessities like high-end appliances and cabinets. Since families centralize in the kitchen nowadays, kitchen cabinets, furniture, and counters are often the first things that experience wear and tear. 

Tip #7: Choose a House Plan With Flow

Also known as “the art of placement,” feng shui is a traditional Chinese practice of believing that energy forces within a given space can help better harmonize individuals to their environment. In other words, the way colors, lighting, materials, and furniture are set up in a room are said to impact a person’s well-being.

Although there is little science to back this, feng shui has some great guidelines that make for excellent flow and functionality within a home. For example, couches and beds should be in a “commanding position,” and—whether or not you’re a believer in feng shui—most designers work by this rule of thumb.

Functionality within a home is important. It means that all rooms should be welcoming and easy to navigate. There shouldn’t be any obstacles when you come through the doorway, so keep this in mind when incorporating furniture into your home. Having a natural flow in the home promotes better livability and entertaining (and even makes for easier cleaning!).

If you decide to work with an interior designer, they can help you strategically place furniture, artwork, and lighting so that every room in your house plan is at its utmost potential.

Tip #8: Interview Architects and Designers

While your home’s contractor may wear many hats, they can’t do everything that comes with building and designing a house. That’s why there are several other vital roles to fill, like architects and designers. You might want to consider working with:

  • Residential Architect: Specializes in outlining, planning, and developing homes in residential neighborhoods 
  • Interior Designer: Responsible for developing the interior and exterior style for their client’s home
  • Green Design Architect: Helps plan for green plan techniques if you choose to build with energy-efficient living extras, like solar panels 
  • Landscaping Architect: Designs the outdoor space of your home, like the front lawn, backyard, deck space, and any shrubs, trees, or gardens

All of these professionals can best help make your floor plan as best as possible. The best part is that many contracting companies have their own designers and architects on board, which makes your research all the easier.


When designing your own home, there’s a lot to keep tabs on, like the endless paperwork, design plans, and actual building process. It’s safe to say that while it’s an exciting project, building a house can also be exhaustive. 

That’s why it’s important to stick to the basics for your house plans, such as: 

  • Considering your lifestyle, which may influence the number of bedrooms and living spaces
  • Establishing your budget, which is a no-brainer that helps you avoid unnecessary debt 
  • Centralizing the kitchen, as studies have shown that families are now spending more time in the kitchen than ever before
  • Conducting a site analysis, which can help you decide if the land is suitable for your chosen house plans, and even impact where windows are placed 
  • Make a list of your favorite floor plans so that you have a variety to select from when consulting with your architect or designer (and remember to bookmark it so you know your plan number)
  • Avoid cutting corners and allow yourself to splurge on essential purchases, like appliances and flooring
  • Opt for functionality and flow as much as possible. Your designer or architect can help customize your favorite plan
  • Decide which architects or designers you may need for your project so that you know exactly which role everybody plays 

No matter which part of the process you’re in, Monster House Plans is a great place to start. With thousands of floor plans in dozens of different styles, you’re bound to find the perfect house for you. Search for your favorite plan today.

How to Build a Low-Square Footage House

Think about how much energy you spend cleaning and maintaining your home. If you’re like most people, you spend too much time on upkeep and too little on enjoying your living spaces.

You also might be spending a lot of money fixing problems and paying for heating and cooling, leaving you to question your investment. The reality is that a large home may be more of a burden than you bargained for, and if you’re an empty nester, it may no longer offer your family the value it once did. 

That’s why so many people are scaling down on square footage instead of spending more money on maintaining their larger homes. These smaller homes require less maintenance and can shrink your carbon footprint. With the right floor plan from Monster House Plans, you can quickly move out of a home that no longer fits you and into one perfectly aligned with your vision.

What Is a Low Square Footage Home?

Low square footage houses are homes under 1,000 square feet. Some small homes are as tiny as 80 square feet. Regardless of the size of your tiny home, you can still have ample flexibility in your house plans.

With the right floor plan, you can maximize your living space and save your hard-earned dollars.

Types of Low Square Footage Homes

If you think having only about a thousand square feet to work with might make things limited, think again. There are a large variety of small home layouts and you can get quite creative when you’re working out your dream design. 

      • Apartments and Condominiums: Your floor plan can range from open and spacious to compact and functional if you decide to live in an apartment or condominium. However, if you plan on renting out the space, be sure to choose an approachable layout that your future tenants will enjoy.
      • Trailers, RVs, and Buses: These types of homes are totally transportable and fully customizable. While you can take your home with you, you cannot add additions.
      • Mobile and Permanent Homes: Depending on the size of your house, you can attach it to a trailer and transport it to a new location. If you settle on a permanent dwelling, you can build up to 1,000 sq ft.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs): Also known as granny flats, ADUs are separate dwelling units on a property with a home. For example, when you buy a house on a large lot, you can build a small structure in the backyard. You can live in the ADU and rent out the house with the proper zoning laws and inspections. ADUs can be economical to build. In certain areas, such as Canada and the Pacific Northwest, they are growing in popularity. On the other hand, many states and cities in the US outlaw ADUs entirely. Even without bans, you’ll still have to deal with a lot of red tape and requirements before you can build one.

Four Benefits of Owning a Small Home

When you decide to own a low square footage home, your decision will benefit you for years to come. These compact and tiny homes are cost-effective, easy to maintain, energy-efficient, and they allow you to get creative when designing and maximizing your space.

#1: Cost-Effective

When building your low-square footage home, the price per square foot is similar to what it is for larger homes. Depending on your location within the country, the average cost per square foot is $100 – $155

While the price remains the same per square foot, you are paying for less space, so your overall costs to build, as well as your ongoing utilities and expenses, will be much lower. And, finally, the mortgage on a smaller home is typically more affordable. 

#2: Easier Upkeep

One of the main reasons people want to downsize is daily maintenance and upkeep. When you live in a small home, there is less to clean, simply because there’s less space, and potentially even fewer personal belongings. 

Not only will you save both time and money, you can focus on relaxing in your home rather than spending your free time cleaning it.

#3: Sustainable and Energy Efficient 

Smaller homes mean more money saved. Due to the smaller space, it is more affordable to heat and cool your home during the year.

One overlooked aspect of home design that impacts energy usage is the shape of your house. While you may choose a particular shape for its aesthetic appeal, the number of floors and the flow between the rooms can determine how energy-efficient your house actually is.

For example, Bern homes are designed to be built below ground level, so they require less heating and cooling. Likewise, A-frames naturally let in more light because their asymmetrical shape makes it easy to install windows instead of walls. Homeowners often use this natural warming, potentially coupled with solar panels, to better heat their interiors, save on energy costs, and light up their homes more sustainably.

The most exciting design shape is the octagon. Octagon-shaped homes can fit in the same perimeter space as a square-shaped home but have 25% more space. When you design your small home, make sure you consider the shape.

#4: Get Creative With Your Allocated Square Footage

A significant way to express your creativity and personality is to take advantage of multi-use spaces. A multi-use space is a part of the home that can be used for multiple purposes. For example, you can have a function as both a dining and living room. It is all about how you design the space to work for you. 

Low square footage homes are excellent for multi-use spaces because most people moving into a tiny home are looking to size down and minimize unnecessary expenses and space. However, you can get creative with the space you do have and combine multiple functions in one area using modular furniture.

You can easily implement these multi-use spaces in your own layout by considering how you use your current spaces in your home. 

  • Do you work from home and eat in the same room? 
  • Do you workout and relax in the same space?
  • Do you sleep and hang out with friends in the same space?

Once you have considered your current situation, you can make adjustments to your floor plan for your tiny house. You can maximize the home’s potential by combining similarly used spaces. 

Understanding the Costs Associated With Building Small Homes 

When you decide to build your own home, you need to know about a few extra costs that you wouldn’t see if you purchased an existing property.

For starters, you’ll purchase land for your custom home. You also need to ensure your land is electricity- and water-hookup ready. Otherwise, your contractor cannot begin working.

And, finally, you will need to find a contractor to build your dream small house with a layout and design that fits your needs.

If you want to avoid the costs associated with new homes, a potential prefabricated home. They’re less expensive, and you can start living in your home right away. However, there is a problem with prefabricated homes – they don’t hold their value well.

A custom-built home is solid, sturdy, and retains its value for decades. A prefabricated home loses value over time. Keep in mind that you cannot make as many design changes since the contractor completes the frame off-site.

With a custom home, the house is built on-site and is designed according to your family’s needs and specifications. If you’re choosing a low square footage house plan because you’re looking to downsize, then this option makes the most sense.

Since you can see your home’s progress, you can ask for specific changes before the building phase. A key component to making custom changes to your floor plan is to be able to see what it looks like from all angles. That’s what the 3-D Modeling feature allows you to do: get to look at your new home before the building process begins and can request any changes you desire. 

Another issue with prefabricated homes is that you have to pay more upfront than you would with a new build. When buying a prefabricated home, you need to be able to pay for the entire home before building is complete. This is typically accomplished in installments where the homeowner pays a portion of the total amount due. With a prefabricated home, the homeowners must be sure they can fully afford and pay off the house before they can live in it.

In contrast, a new build only requires approximately 20% down payment for building to start, and you don’t have to have the entire home paid off before the structure is completed.  

Step-By-Step Guide to Building Your Low-Square Footage Home

When you decide to build your own tiny house, you have to consider a few things before getting started.

First, determine your budget. Having a clear budget will help guide you through the rest of the process. You then need to decide on the size of your home. Once you have figured out these key factors, you can begin looking at home designs and working on your tiny house plans.

Step 1: Measure Your Property Area

You must find a suitable property for your home. Measuring your property area will give you an idea of how big a home you can build and if you have space for a yard and garden.

Pay attention to both the size and the terrain. If you love to garden, but the ground is not suitable for growing plants, you will not have a place for your hobby.

Likewise, if you’re not interested in outdoor recreation and don’t plan on spending time in your yard, you can settle on a smaller lot. A smaller lot will typically be less expensive than one that’s larger, depending on location and proximity to nearby cities.

Step 2: Select Your Home’s Shape and Style

After selecting and purchasing your lot, it’s time to focus on the structure and style of your home. You have several options. You can have an A-frame, L-shape, octagon, or H-shape, and these refer to the physical layouts of your home’s exteriors and interiors.

Some homeowners want to take things a step further and go with a particular style. For example, they may want an L-shaped home that also has all the design flourishes and features of a classic Craftsman-style house. Other popular house styles include Colonial-style homes, farmhouse-style house plans, Cape Cod-style homes, and many more.

Step 3: Customize Your Tiny House Floor Plans

After you decide on your home shape and style, you can focus on your tiny house plans. The floor plan is the layout of your home, but it also serves as the directions for your contractor.

Without a solid floor plan, there will be work stoppages as you and your contractor work together to figure out what you want next. Having a concrete floor plan from the beginning will make your life easier and your contractor’s job much more manageable.

Step 4: Purchase Supplies and Materials

Now that you have purchased the lot, contractor, and floor plan, you and your contractor can discuss the necessary supplies and materials.

A contractor will include supplies in their cost. But to assist you with figuring out what you will need, Monster House Plans has provided this information for you. When you order from Monster House Plans, you have the option to receive a cost-to-build analysis that will detail what you need to purchase and how much it will cost.

Step 5: Start Building

Once you have your supplies, there is no time to waste. After laying the foundation, you can begin constructing the frame.

As with any project, you need to address unexpected things as they come up. With Monster House Plans, you have an invaluable opportunity to Ask the Architect questions about the floor plan so you can make the necessary changes to ensure a successful building process that’s on-schedule and on-budget.

How to Maximize the Space of a Small House

When you have minimal square feet, you need to be creative with your floor plan so you can enjoy living in your new home. There are several ways to be creative with smaller spaces in the house and to maximize your furniture placement and usage, but you can also manipulate the layout of your home to maximize the space.

1) Decide on Necessary Rooms

When establishing your floor plan, decide which rooms you need to have in the home. Then consider if these rooms should be on different floors or on different sides of the house.

Once you’ve decided on the necessary rooms, consider which rooms you can combine into one larger room. For example, instead of having a designated office space, you can change it to a multi-purpose office space that includes a guest room.

2) Reconsider the Traditional Layout of Rooms

Tiny houses provide an opportunity to think outside the box. For example, most homes have a laundry room on the first floor with the bedrooms upstairs. Instead of making yourself walk across the house, place the laundry room next to the bedrooms.

Another interesting take on traditional layouts is to have an outdoor kitchen. With a little bit of forethought and planning, you can set up your oven, stove, and grill outside under a canopy.

Depending on the year-round weather you experience, this might be an excellent option for you. Not only will it inspire more home cooking, but it will save space inside the home.

3) Embrace the Open Concept Design

You can also maximize your square footage by embracing an open concept design. An open concept design is a floor plan that minimizes the use of walls and hallways. The idea is for the rooms to blend into each other and to take advantage of a large space for a variety of uses. 

For example, popular open concept layouts feature the kitchen, dining room, and living room combined in one big space. This is an excellent option for people who like to have guests, so that while you are cooking in the kitchen, you can see and talk with others. Likewise, your guests won’t feel obligated to stay in the kitchen with you and feel crowded if you had walls separating everyone. 

While open concept homes may eliminate the use of hallways, you can use that to your benefit by creating multi-purpose rooms with modular furniture. Similarly, you can also create separation between spaces by positioning your furniture to designate specific areas for sitting, eating, and cooking.


Downsizing or opting for tiny houses can mitigate stress and provide you with a place to truly maximize your home’s intent and use. Not only will you save yourself time and money, but you can still incorporate the luxuries of a larger home with the right floor plan.

Low square footage houses are eco-friendly, cost-efficient, and easier to maintain. Better yet, building one is simple.

To build your home, you’ll need to:

  • Make sure your property or lot area will support your intended design.
  • Have a floor plan and a contractor who can build it.
  • Use your creativity to take advantage of all the ways you can maximize your space.

When you’re ready to jump into searching for small home plans, start with Monster House Plans. Our database of house plans, featuring a variety of styles, can help you browse a range of low square footage homes. Search by style, square footage, shape, and even detailed features like outdoor kitchens, in-law suites, wraparound porches and more. No matter what your vision, Monster House Plans can help you build your dream home for less today.

With the housing market currently focused on McMansions, large colonial-style homes, and Cape Cod designs, it can be hard to find a home that meets your personal specifications. 

If you want a house that feels bigger than it is, focuses on airy, open spaces for family and gatherings, and helps you save money on HVAC in hot climates: Find a rambler house. A rambler style house is an excellent choice for families looking to increase their space and save money on heating and cooling.

What is a Rambler or Ranch-Style House?

Rambler homes are large, single-story homes with a simple open-concept design originally created by San Diego architect Cliff Mays. But there is more to these homes than meets the eye. In the 1930s, an influx of California immigrants meant a spike in demand for affordable and easy-to-build homes for families.

Mays drew inspiration from his upbringing. His Mexican heritage and large family inspired a style of home designed to accommodate everyone’s needs: a combination of Mexican adobe haciendas and the ranch-style of the southwestern cattle ranches. By blending these two styles, he designed a home that was affordable to build, stayed cool in the hot climate of the west and southwest, and provided ample amounts of space for families.

As more developers built ranch houses with unique styles and features, demand increased. From World War II to the early 1970s, rambler style houses dominated the housing market across America. Although the design’s popularity briefly declined in the 1970s, many modern families are returning to this style today because it meets their needs: large open spaces and natural light.

When you look on the market for a rambler house, it’s essential you know it by another name — a ranch-style home. Although these houses are quite different from the original ranches, this name is an homage to one of its inspirations. Therefore, ramblers and ranch-style are synonymous in the housing market.

You can view our selection of rambler/ranch style house plans here.

Critical Elements of the Rambler Style

Rambler-style homes have several features that differentiate them from a standard home on your street. Some of the key elements to look for are sizeable street-facing facades, large windows around the house, low-gabled roofs, extended eaves, open floor plan, L or U-shaped orientations, garages, patio, and three to four bedrooms.

Generous Street-Facing Facade

One of the most recognizable features of the rambler home is the front facade. In the 1930s, many houses were taller and narrower than the ranch house because space was right and builders can accommodate narrower homes on smaller plots of land.

Among row houses, then, the rambler style home’s long, front facade was as much about making a statement as it was about creating an iconic house plan.


The front side of the home typically faces the street and is about double the depth of the house. For example, if a home is 30 feet deep, the front should be around 60 feet long. This length produces an enlarging effect on potential homebuyers and neighbors.

Sizeable Windows Around the House

Large windows and sliding glass doors found on the front facade and around the home’s exterior let in natural light. Since these homes originated for warmer climates, the windows take advantage of the sun and light the house. Additionally, sweeping windows are aesthetically appealing and make the home feel open and spacious.

Low-Gabled Roofs

Low-gabled or low-pitched roofs are a crucial element of the rambler-style home. Since these homes are quite expansive and cover a lot of square footage, the low roof reduces building costs and helps maintain cooler temperatures. 

However, these roofs are the exact reason why rambler homes are not ideal for colder climates. The low-gabled roofs will easily retain snow and ice, which could result in expensive damage and repairs over time.

Extended Eaves

Low-gabled roofs go hand-in-hand with extended eaves. Since the roofs are not quite as steep as a traditional roof, the eaves extend from the roof and create a shady overhang, blocking too much sunlight from entering the windows.


Overhanging eaves also provide extra protection if you’re located in a state with hot and sunny climates. The additional shade helps lower the temperature within the home and allows you to sit outside and enjoy the weather without the sun beating down on your face.

Open Floor Plan

Rambler-style homes feature large, open spaces in their floor plan, which is distinctly different from other homes built in the 1930s. 

Whereas traditional homes in the 1930s were closed and had many rooms and hallways, the rambler breaks down these walls to create an open space for gatherings and ventilation. With few load-bearing walls (most ramblers don’t have a second floor), the only walls necessary are for the bathrooms and bedrooms. 

This open-concept design makes the home feel more substantial than it is and helps with allowing cool air to flow throughout the house. However, such an open floor plan also minimizes the privacy one gets while at home, so if that’s a priority for you, consider using furniture and room partitions to strategically create more closed-in spaces.

L or U-Shaped

This unique shape is ideal for this type of home as it improves its accessibility and connection with the exteriors. Since rambler houses have many doors to the outside, an L or U-shaped home can feature one to three entries that give outdoor access.


Rambler homes usually sit on expansive pieces of property because developers build outward, not upward. This means you have plenty of outdoor space for a relaxing patio area. 

Additionally, the shape of the home helps create a friendly ambiance. L and U-shaped homes create a natural courtyard area. And with two to three sides protected by your home, you increase privacy while maintaining access to the yard from all parts of the house.


Since many ramblers are L or U-shaped, Cliff Mays and developers have since learned they can create more space with the addition of a garage. Garages help homes create privacy in the backyard and provide much-needed storage. Since rambler homes have open floor plans, you may not find an abundance of closets outside the bedrooms, so the garage provides much-needed storage space.



In addition to the floor plan, many homeowners building a rambler style house look for designs that incorporate a patio or outdoor area. Not only do these increase the value of the home, but they improve your lifestyle. There are many options available including wrap-around porches, decks, stone patios, a lanai, and a sunroom.

Three to Four Bedrooms

Generally, growing families opt for a rambler house style because it’s large enough to accommodate their needs. These homes have several bedrooms. And as your children grow and move out, you can repurpose a bedroom as office spaces, home gyms, or libraries. 

Different Types of Rambler or Ranch-Style Homes

The rambler house is a distinct style that stands apart from many other homes, but some variations meet different needs and styles. While these homes all have the previously mentioned essential elements, their structures will vary.

There are five main types of rambler homes:

  • 1. California Ranch
  • 2. Suburban Ranch
  • 3. Split-Level Ranch
  • 4. Raised Ranch
  • 5. Storybook Ranch

California Ranch

The California Ranch features the unique L or U-shape with the most original design and truest to Cliff Mays’s conception. It often has a courtyard as the central gathering place in the backyard.

Suburban Ranch

Much smaller in design than the original rambler, the suburban ranch was adapted from World War II. It stems from building homes that require less maintenance due to smaller size and more straightforward design.


Many homes do not have garages and sit on solid slabs on smaller properties.

Split-Level Ranch

These homes look similar to California ranches but offer a half staircase to get to the second level. Often built on a sloping lot, these ranch-style homes contain many of the same interior characteristics of the traditional rambler house with a slightly different look.

Raised Ranch

The raised ranch home has a staircase similar to split-level ranches, but the stairs can go in two directions. 


Often called a split-entry, when you enter the home from the front door, you have the option to go “upstairs” to the main living quarters or “downstairs” to the garage and storage units.

Storybook Ranch

The fancier of the five styles, the storybook ranch is more ornate and decorated. Upon the first glimpse, you may not recognize it as a rambler house until you notice the low-gabled roof, extended eaves, and open-concept design.

Is the Rambler Style Right for You?

When you consider the right home for you and your family, you must consider your immediate needs and how those needs will change in the future. To know whether or not the rambler style is right for you, consider these questions:

  • Do you like to entertain guests?
  • Do you have a large or growing family?
  • Do you want to spend time outdoors?
  • Do you live in a warm climate?
  • Do you have a substantial piece of property?
  • Do you like open-concept floor plans?
  • Do you prefer natural lighting to artificial lighting?

If you answered yes to these questions, the rambler house is the right choice for you. Additionally, consider these points:

  • Is your family growing? Buying a home with multiple bedrooms is perfect because it will expand with your needs.
  • Are your children moving out soon? If you expect your children to move out or go to college in the next two to four years, have a plan for all the empty bedrooms. Otherwise, you’re paying money for empty space.
  • How much property do you already own? While any size lot can fit a rambler home, these homes shine on large pieces of property. It is noticeable when they look squished between treelines or houses since their wide facade appears prominent from the street. If a scaled-down version of the rambler doesn’t fit your property, you may need to reconsider other house styles.
  • Do you experience severely cold weather? While most southern states experience freezing temperatures at some point during the winter, homes in the western and southern United States don’t have to worry about weeks and months of snow and ice buildup. If you live in a climate where you experience a lot of snow and ice, you need to address the roof of your house. Low-gabled roofs cannot handle heavy ice buildup, so you risk severe damage if you don’t take the necessary precautions.


Rambler homes are an excellent choice for growing families on large pieces of land. These homes feature beautiful street facades with large windows and gorgeous backyards that are perfect for entertaining guests and spending time with family.

Similarly, these homes come in various styles to meet your personal needs and the slope of your lot. You can design your home with a half staircase or split entry, which are perfect solutions for homes built on sloping lots.

Overall, there’s a reason the rambler home is still popular today even after nearly 100 years of existence — it consistently meets the needs of growing families, at an affordable price. If you need floor plan designs, contact Monster House Plans to start your designing process.

One of the most frequent inquiries we get in our sales of house plans is ‘do the plans include electrical’. The answer to that is yes, almost always. Yes because most designers include location of lights, plugs and switches according to codes in effect at the time the plan was drawn. We qualify this with ‘almost always’ because we have some designers who design for up-scale builders and their contractors don’t want the standard electrical stuff on the plans.

In this day and age, most people want to plan where they want switches, outlets, ceiling fans, specialty lighting, etc. Electricians prefer to locate outlets and switches after consulting with their customer and don’t want to have to scratch off the generic stuff. Electrical panels are conveniently located near where the service comes to the house.

If you live in a home built prior to 1990, have you ever said to yourself “I wonder why this builder didn’t allow for extra outlets here in the kitchen”. Or, if you have limited mobility, wonder why the switches and plugs aren’t placed more conveniently on the walls. Or, decided to put in a ceiling fan and had to go through the hassle of pulling electric to the ceiling? The reason for this is because tract homes allowed for only what was required by code at the time the home plans were created.

Monsterhouseplans offers over 18,000 exciting floor plans that are, in most cases, ready to build and can also be modified to fit your exact requirements.

These days, a home’s total square feet area is declining while home prices are up. The cost to build a home in 2019 averages about half a million dollars, but the square footage is now the lowest since 2001, at around 2,500 square feet. 

This tells us that homeowners are trying to do more with less. From a multi-family plan to home plans with extensions as you grow, the most popular house plans this year are functional and economical, without sacrificing those luxurious creature comforts. 

Take your cues from these home plans and adapt them to your family.  

Ranking 2022’s Most Popular House Plans

Before looking at the most popular house plans right now, consider many factors that influence whether a home design is right for you. 

Some people, for example, want to know the cheapest or most economical house to build. Others want to keep things simple and are looking for quick and easy-to-build floor plans.

Quite a few architectural styles can fulfill your needs, so we’ve included these floor plans if you have a specific requirement in mind. 

Easiest to Build

An easy-to-build house plan should be simple in its parts, planning, and “assembly.” This doesn’t mean you don’t need technical or specialized help, such as expert plumbing and electrical installations. 

However, with the help of a small crew, you could just easily build it yourself. Easy-to-build house plans are not fussy because they don’t include complex excavations for basements. They also rarely include more than one floor — unless you want these features for some extra sq ft area. 


The A-frame is an incredibly easy design to build because, in its most essential form, the layout has no other levels. All you need are the beams that sit against the two roof sides — which are also the walls in this house plan.

Log Cabins 

A log cabin is another house plan design that is easy to build. Again, like the A-frame, you can get more sophisticated with your sq ft use, such as adding things like a second floor, a bonus room, or a large deck for outdoor living. 

But its simplest form is low on sq ft and has no frills. 

Cheapest to Build

The smaller a dwelling, the cheaper it is to build. However, sq ft area is not the only indicator of cost. For example, you could opt for a compact home design, but amp up your bottom line if you go for high-priced interior decor and upgrades. 

Small Home

The “small home” is a layout where all your sq ft area rests on the main floor. Even a cottage-style home can be a small home if it has a compact design. Even if you have a larger lot, you can opt for a small home and your costs will be lean.

However, the “small” designation depends on the designs. For example, if you get a custom floor plan from architects, you could very easily keep a low sq ft area and still include up to 2 bedrooms, with a master suite, and 2 full bathrooms.

Two Bedroom Homes

Speaking of two-bedroom homes, opting for a two-bedroom home can keep your costs low but still serve as a multi-family dwelling. 
Again, it depends on what the designers do with the space they’re given. For example, if they use an open floor concept, you can enjoy a more spacious living arrangement but stay low on costs.

Most Classic Design

Classical designs are never going to go away. They’re well-loved and stand as a hallmark in everyone’s mind of a new and ideal starter home for families. Perhaps one reason these plans still stand today is that they were around during early settler history across the country. 
Of course, today’s designs are updated or “revived” and adapted to meet modern-day needs and creature comforts.   


The classic colonial floor plan has iconic features such as dormer windows, double chimneys, and a symmetrical design. In fact, even home builders and architectural firms selling house plans will adapt the classic colonial style for their newest lot releases.


The Hampton home is a unique house plan that is made for lots with large width and depth. Outdoor living is often part of the novelty of these plans and the sq ft can vary. Hampton designs are perfect for entertaining, often featuring a guest area or bonus room. 
However, they’re also very sturdy against East coast storms and prevailing winds — which is where you can usually find these home plans.

Most Modern Exteriors

Quite a few house plan designs are updated to include features like a home office, guest quarters, open floor layout, dens, bonus rooms, and more. But the exteriors are really where you, as a homeowner, can make an impact.  


The Contemporary style plan features smooth, clean, and elegant lines in the exterior design. They can feature flat or sloping roofs, but usually include a mixture of building elements like:

  • Vinyl siding
  • Wood
  • Glass
  • Wrought iron
  • Stone


The “Modern” plan is a new way to blend several styles together for a unique look. Many classic styles, such as the Craftsman or the Farmhouse, can be updated to reflect these modern sensibilities.

How to Pick the Best House Layout For Your Family

The most popular styles for a new home should also reflect your family’s living style. When considering the best layout for a house, you should be looking at four key aspects beyond just the sq ft size. 

1) Bedrooms, Bathrooms, and Location

Think of it this way: if you don’t have enough bedrooms and bathrooms, and they’re not strategically located in the house’s plan, every morning could be a potential for conflict. 
If you have a small family now but you plan to grow by three, where will your kids sleep, and who will share what? 
If you know you need two full baths, will your guests get to use a powder room — or will they use one of your full bathrooms? And are these located on the upper levels? If so, they will have to enter a more intimate part of your home. So, at least one of them should be located on the main floor.
These questions will determine whether a layout is your first choice — or a non-contender. 

2) Open Concept is Best

Whether you stick to a two-level house plan, a split bedroom layout plan, or a modern ranch style plan, make sure that you have an open concept design. 
Open plan designs don’t have any doors between rooms on the main level. Instead, the design features a natural flow — of light and air circulation — throughout the house. 
One can go from the living room to the kitchen to the family room seamlessly. It also makes your space seem larger and taller, which is great if you want to keep to a tight sq ft area. 

3) Walk-out Basement, In-Ground, or Neither?

Some people want a plan with a basement while others don’t want the added pressure of finishing that added sq ft area. 
However, there are a few more options at your disposal. If your lot is on a slope or a hill, you may have the perfect spot for a walk-out basement plan. On the other hand, an in-ground basement can be a great storage place and can give your house an added spot for recreation.

4) Don’t Forget Those “Add-On” Rooms

When you search on a site selling house plans, look for a design that includes add-on rooms.  These are optional spaces like mudrooms or butler’s passages. Add-on spaces give a new house the functionality a family needs. You should consider what your family’s practices are on a consistent basis. 
For example, suppose all your laundry sits upstairs in everyone’s bedrooms. In that case, it might be smart to keep the laundry room upstairs, beside the bedrooms rather than downstairs by the garage area.

10 Popular House Plans in 2022

The next 10 houses are the most popular house plans this year. These are a collection of different styles of houses, and each architectural plan varies in sq ft area and features. 

1) Colonial Styles

Colonial-style homes will continue to prevail among the most coveted type of plans in the country. If two or three fireplaces, brick or wood facades, and two stories feature prominently in your family’s new home aspirations, you’re not alone.

2) Cape Cod Homes

Cape Cod homes were first built in the 1600s. If their cozy and compact exteriors look familiar, you’re right. Cape Cod homes are found on the Atlantic coast, and they have their origins in old British cottages on the southern coast.

These homes have steep roofs and large chimneys. Some designs might also feature dormer windows, which are common for colonial homes. 

3) Waterfront with a Modern Twist

Waterfront homes may seem like a very “niche” house plan. However, an increasing number of people are taking advantage of the “vacation”-style architecture for their main property.

One of the main characteristics of a waterfront plan is its walk-out basement. It also features a combination of wood and vinyl siding, plenty of decks, and wrap-around porches. If you live on land with elevation, this could be the perfect design for your family. 

4) Modern Farmhouse

The “modern” farmhouse has inflections of Victorian and Colonial architecture, but this design prefers function to flourish. 
There’s an emphasis on the “agrarian” lifestyle, which makes use of every feature. For example, porches could be considered extra sq ft area because they act as a transition between the indoors and outdoors.

The modern farmhouse mixes the original farmhouse design’s classic features with current elements like large glass windows, a “shabby chic” wooden exterior, glossy accents, a contrast between dark and light elements, and clean lines. 

5) 2 Bedroom Starter Homes

Two-bedroom “starter” homes are not just for singles or newlyweds. There are quite a few empty nesters or families who want to downsize their current lifestyle and choose the two-bedroom house.

There’s no one architectural style, so you can design and decorate based on your sensibilities. Suppose you want to go for a modern, cottage blend. In that case, you might consider keeping the plan to one level, with some additional space for extensions and add-ons (such as a sunroom) in the future.

6) The L-Shape with a Contemporary Design

The L-shaped house is a fantastic example of clean and innovative design. Every part of the house is connected and accessible. At the same time, the backyard area is kept private and secluded by the smaller “arm” of the “L” shape.
You can go for any kind of architectural style, but the contemporary home is perfect for this adaptable layout design. It naturally features sloping roofs, clean lines, and mixed exterior building elements that enhance the natural “L” shape.

7) The Luxury A-Frame

It’s not just millennials who love the A-frame design. The chic, almost Scandinavian look of A-frames is making them increasingly attractive to families who want to live a more affordable, sustainable, adventurous lifestyle. 
However, the A-frame’s sloping walls make storage and room separation a challenge. That’s why many families look for a more accommodating A-frame layout to adapt to everyday living. This increases the sq ft area but also allows you to create bedrooms and bathrooms.

8) Mid-Century Modern

Mid-century modern architecture was alive and thriving from the 1940s to the 1980s. The style focuses on using large glass windows, clean, smooth, and rectangular lines, flat planes, and the integration of nature.

9) Maximalism with Prairie-Style Homes

The Midwest-inspired prairie-style home is all about practicality and exudes a down-to-earth modesty. However, it’s the details where designers and architects, like the originator, Frank Lloyd Wright, can make their mark. 
Even though the minimalist design has been in vogue, maximalism is making a comeback. So you can opt for the long, flat roofs, rows of windows, horizontal lines, and an emphasis on an organic, “Zen”-like a garden, while emphasizing luxury in exterior design materials.

10) Modern Ranch

Ranch-style homes are popping up all over the country — with a modern twist. The style began in the 1930s, originating in the Southwest and rural areas of the Western states. These plans have generous, open concept interiors, attached garages, split-level floors, and easy connections to the outdoors. 
The modern “twist,” on this rather practical layout is the decadent and clean design elements.


Right now, the demand for homes is quickly outstripping the pace at which a builder can provide new homes. That’s why so many families are deciding to skip the waitlists and new releases to build their own homes from scratch. So why not take a page from their book and pick any of these best-selling designs for yourself?
When you’re ready to design your dream dwelling, head to Monster House Plans. Our insane inventory of designs and layouts features almost every architectural style you can imagine. Speak to our architects to customize any layout that captures your imagination. 

L-shaped homes are all about connection. Style is always important when you’re considering home plans, and that’s where most homeowners stop. But finding the right house plan for your family is about so much more than just one style over another. Instead, you need to consider whether the overall design, which includes a home’s functionality, works with your family’s lifestyle.

That’s why L-shaped homes are the hidden secret of the house plan world. The unique design helps create an exterior and interior layout of balance, harmony, connection, and privacy. When you can infuse your home with these principles through a house plan design, you’ll never want to leave the oasis you’ve chosen and built from scratch. 

The History of the L-Shaped House

Looking at the letter “L,” you can see that two lines are joined together, but one section is longer than the other. The L-shaped home began as an asymmetrical offshoot of the ranch-style home

But the highly functional design was so useful, that it quickly adapted to almost every other kind of contemporary home style possible.

The design of these kinds of layouts is so functional that many “tiny home” enthusiasts are repurposing the shipping containers into homes that feature the L-shape design.

An L-shape house plan is so flexible because it’s about solving a design problem, rather than capturing a distinct style or design aesthetic.

That’s why these home designs work with any architectural style. And you can’t trace the L-shape home plan to a specific architect because it’s so widely used.

For example, a Mediterranean architectural style of house plan could easily be customized into an L-shape home design.

Five Benefits of L-Shaped House Plans

View the L-shape home designs used in two different and distinct architectural styles. You can see the benefits of the features this kind of layout offers.

Take a look at the L-shape design of a modern farmhouse and that of a plantation house plan.

These two house plans are quite unique in exterior and interior features. However, the layouts of the main floor are similar:

The house plans of the main floor area show how the garage enjoys direct access and connection to the rest of the house, without taking up extra space in the home’s design.

Since the plantation style home has more sq ft to play with, architects can also include other functional rooms like a summer kitchen, a mudroom, a laundry room, several built-ins, a pantry, or even a storage closet. 

Upstairs, the added garage area means you can build additional bedrooms to accommodate an extended family. And these are just some of the reasons why L-shape house plans are so popular. 

1) Privacy

Notice how the L-shape layout of these house plans frame the front yard nicely. Meanwhile, the orientation protects the backyard from sight. 

In fact, many homes that use the L-shape design on the main floor will do so because they also want a pool or a private, outdoor space intended for entertaining. Depending on your lot’s orientation and sq ft, you can gain privacy with these layout plans.

2) A Balance of Elements

The perimeter formed by the connection between the two lines frames the front yard and protects the back courtyard area. When you look at how the two sides of the “L” arms extend outward, it feels like an embrace. Meanwhile, the front and back yard spaces remain separate from each other, so you can design and landscape these areas as you’d like. 

Inside the home, the intersection point allows you to create a real balance in the sq ft you’re using. L-shape plans can feature a garage, certainly, but you can also use the two arms to create a separation between “wings” on the main floor. 

If you’re building a 1-story house, for example, one wing might be for the living area, while the other is a sign you’ve entered into the bedroom- and bathroom area.  

3) Adaptable to Any Kind of Architectural Style

L-shape home plans are adaptable to almost any kind of architectural style. You can even adapt it to something like a cottage style home, widening the width and depth to account for how many stories you have or bedrooms you want. 

Essentially, your options around square footage are entirely up to you. You can even add details like skylights, or rely on a mixture of shingle clad domestic forms, brick, wood, and modern glass to get an entirely new and unique exterior to your home.

4) Almost Everything is Linked and Accessible

Of course, there are variations to the “L” design that could add on more sq ft to your home’s total area. For example, you could add an extra wing extending out, perpendicular to the shorter arm of the “L.” You could use this area as yet another wing for guest bedrooms and bathrooms secluded from street view.

This is more like a “T” design and you can expect the additional sq ft to increase the price as well. But you now have additional exterior free space, almost like an extra front yard space.  

5) Shelter Against Prevailing Winds

The layout of the L-shape design provides more than protection from unwanted prying eyes. The corners and arms that extend out create a buffer against wind, rain, and snow. 

Anatomy of an L-Shaped Floor Plan

The L-shape floor plan’s inherent flexibility means you can do almost anything with the exterior and interior features. There are no two homes that necessarily need to look alike when you use this design. 

However, the common features make this home unmistakable.

Exterior Features

You’ll see garages featured prominently in the design of these homes. However, it’s not a hard and fast rule. Exterior elements commonly include:

  • Front and back porches
  • Multiple dormers
  • Front hip roofs and gables
  • Multiple car garages
  • Uninterrupted access from the garage to the interiors
  • Strong, clean lines

Interior Features

Upon entry into L-shaped homes, you’ll naturally experience a more open-concept type layout. Many families opt to use organic or makeshift room separators, also doubling as modern decor, for an almost “loft”-like look. 

Interiors can include:

  • Open concept living and dining areas
  • Extended bedrooms over the garage or second arm of the house
  • Mudrooms and extra storage space
  • Asymmetrical distribution of sq ft throughout the house
  • Nooks, pantries, and dens 
  • A separation between both “wings” of the house

Choose L-Shaped Design On a Floor Plan That’s Right For You

If you’re looking for true customizability, both inside and out, then the L-shaped home design is for you. When you’re ready to view this layout on a diverse array of floor plan styles, visit Monster House Plans. 

Our powerful advanced search should be your first go-to, as you select the specific interior and exterior features you want. Looking for guest bedrooms or a floor plan with a basement and a butler’s pantry? Our search will pull it up for you. Monster House Plans is your trusted hub for all things home design.

It’s time to stand out. It’s time to be unique. It’s time to build a barn house. 

A barn home features a style in existence for hundreds of years. Many people used barn house plans for necessity, using simple and sturdy building materials. Barn style design plans are now an ideal home construction project full of personality, craftsmanship, and flair. 

Homeowners looking for function, beauty, and family-friendly features will love barndominium floor plans. If you’re one of these homeowners, you’ll be happy to learn that this house design, its architecture, and interior and exterior features are very accessible when you’re building from scratch. 

Once you construct the basic frame of a barn style project, the rest is up to your imagination. The construction process is uncomplicated and highly flexible, allowing you to create additions like a loft or a basement with ease.

In this article, you’ll find a beginner’s guide to designing and building the barn house of your dreams, along with barn house floor plans for that spark of inspiration.

The History and Design of Barn Homes

A barn home is a rustic design known for its spacious interior, offering tons of storage space, classic timber exterior, and open concept design. However, today’s barn homes were not originally meant to house people. The history of the barn style design dates back to the 1600s as a residence for animals, their feed, and manure.

Today’s designs, however, boast creature comforts like:

  • A loft
  • Storage space
  • Beautiful double garage doors
  • Tall exposed ceilings
  • Sliding farm doors
  • Timber beams 

These details make this dream structure the ideal home for you, your family, and your friends.

This design is a daylight AND walk-out basement.

Barn homes offer excellent square footage, and their charm and flexibility allow you to maximize your site as well as your interior living spaces. 

The design and style of a barn home are highly adaptable. If you like the structure’s hallmark design, you can begin construction of a barn home project on any property size.

Pulling inspiration from the “rustic” look and feel of the traditional frame construction, barn house plans adapt the original style to provide ample space and simplicity in the home. 

Most barn homes keep the kitchen, dining room, and living room area connected through an open concept design. Instead, it features the bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry room, and any other room to the side. 

That’s why barn homes are ideal for families who want a lot of space indoors for themselves and guests.

What Goes Into Building Barn Homes?

Undertaking a building project like a barn home is both a rewarding and stressful experience. From finding the right build location to budgeting for your home construction and choosing from barn house plans that will suit your family’s needs, there is a lot of information to consider. 

Here are five steps to building and starting construction on the barn style design:

  1. Research and calculate barn house costs
  2. Decide on the best barndominium floor plans
  3. Choose a style that fits your needs
  4. Properly manage your land and space efficiently
  5. Find the right designer

Even though it is exciting and fun to watch your dream house come to life, there are always unforeseen issues that come up. Following these steps will allow you to control and order the process, which will make your barn home building experience significantly smoother.

Step #1: Research and Calculate the Cost of a Barn House

One of the first pieces of information and research to begin with on your project is about costs. The cost of construction, materials, and labor can be very affordable as long as you know what you’re getting into.

Once you purchase your building site, you’ll need to know the average cost to break ground, lay a foundation, and begin frame construction. The simplicity of these structures can cause many homeowners to wonder: Are barn homes cheaper to build?

The answer to that really depends on your living space’s square footage, the barn style’s floor plan, and the cost of materials you choose for the exterior. 

In other words, a barn home can be as cheap or as expensive as you make it. If you’re using everyday materials like siding, most barn homes can be highly affordable structures, especially when compared with traditional projects.

Let’s take a look at the costs for a simple pole barn layout. The chart below details information available for planning pole barn homes, each with its features and costs. As you can see, the price for a post and beam design is the significant amount of space available for a low cost. For example, a 6,000 sq. ft. pole barn home costs about $50,000!

Of course, these pole barns are great for hobbies, machinery, and animals. Still, they are not as conducive to people’s original structure to live in and raise a family. 

Even though the post-beam method of construction is intended mainly for farming needs, these values should give you ideas for your costs. It also shows you that, with suitable finishes, layout, and attention to detail, your home can be an investment with high resale value.

So, with some slight adjustments, a pole barn can easily turn into a residence full of warmth and charm. To break down how much it costs to build a barn home, let’s take a look at some average costs in America for each aspect of these structures.

The tight housing market in America right now means that competition between buyers can make it tough to secure your dream home. That’s why many families chose to build their homes from scratch, instead of overpaying for a residence that may not serve their family’s total needs.

While the costs listed here will change for each build (once again, consider material and design factors), a pole barn house is a significantly cheaper option for everyone.

And even though an increasing number of families choose barn houses for their charm, style, and open concept design, affordability is one of its primary benefits.

Step #2: Decide on a Floor Plan That Suits Your Needs

There is an infinite number of options available when designing a barn home. Figuring out which floor plan style is right for you and your family can be a difficult decision. There are thousands of options available, so you need to decide what is most important for your barn home. 

To do this efficiently, begin by compiling a list of ideas that are needs versus wants. Needs are things that your future home must have for you to be happy. Wants are things you would like in your home. 

Having a clear, objective list will make this step in the process easy for both you and your designer. 

So, ask yourself:

  • Do you want ample kitchen space that opens to the dining room and living room area?
  • Do you want a smaller indoor space with a large overhang for outdoor space and activities?
  • Do you want a traditional barn house or a barndominium?

The decisions can be overwhelming. However, when building your barn home, you have the flexibility to build it as you want. So whatever you can dream up, your designer should be able to put it into a plan.

For example, you may decide you want a dedicated media room, plenty of ground floor living room, and you need the location of your stairs to be right at the foyer. 

You may decide that you don’t need a basement but large, open windows with lots of light and a porch would be a fantastic addition for that lazy, relaxing lifestyle.

Sorting through the must-haves, nice-to-have, and comfort features first will put you in a great position to review ready-made floor plans then.

Custom floor plans can give you ideas about your dream home’s final result before the frame construction begins. Reviewing the layout, finding out how to customize the interiors and living space, and then proceeding to build ensures that you’ll land on a frame that truly works for your family.

Consider the interior living area of this basic floor plan:

Based on this sample floor plan, it’s clear that your priority is having an open space for entertaining guests and having company over in the kitchen, living room, and large deck. Meanwhile, rooms like the den, master bedroom, and bathrooms are off to the side. These take up significantly less space.

This method is perfect for finding a floor plan that closely matches your needs and then customizing the interiors through an addition here and there.

Step #3: Which Barn Home Style Would You Prefer?

Even in the simplicity of a barn home, the barn house has multiple stylistic options available. You can choose between a traditional barn house, a pole barn house, and a barndominium. Each of these styles have great things about them and some things to consider.

A traditional barn house is a permanent structure and very sturdy. It is typically larger than the other two options. So it’s understandable that this style costs a bit more.

A traditional barn house provides a lot of flexibility in design and can last for generations. These homes are quintessential for those looking to have gatherings for family and friends year after year.

A pole barn house is built differently than traditional barn homes. Instead of a typical foundation, a pole barn house uses poles in the ground to hold it in place. This style choice is quicker and simpler to build, but it does lack the longevity of a traditional barn house simply because it does not have the same foundation. 

A pole barn house is a great option for a family or individual on a budget. These houses can provide the same great amenities and luxury at a fraction of the cost. Most houses have concrete foundations like the traditional barn house. With planted poles replacing the concrete foundation, a pole barn house will save a lot of money.

Barndominiums are a great choice for someone looking to build a uniquely styled home. Barndominiums are approximately the same size as a traditional barn house, but they use metal in the framing and design, whereas a barn house utilizes more wood and stone. These homes are typically cheaper than traditional barn houses and take significantly less time to build. 

Originally, barn homes helped ranchers in Texas stay closer to their livestock and horses during storms and bad weather. This style of home made it easier to check in on the animals because the livestock’s living quarters were connected to the main house.

The connected live spaces translate really well to modern-day families looking to settle down. While you may not want livestock near your home, you can design your barndominium to accommodate coverage and protection for your vehicles!

Within these three styles, there are several variations and options available to you. Don’t be overwhelmed by the options. Look at this as an opportunity for you to get exactly what you want when building your home.

Step #4: Manage Your Land and Space Strategically

If you want to build a barn house, you are going to need land. You won’t necessarily need more land than if you were building another style of home. 

For some homeowners, building a barn house means the chance to build their dream home out in the country, cultivate at least a few acres, and get started with that country life.

The good news is that you can position your barn home to capture sunsets or picturesque views.

However, other homeowners want to enjoy a barn house’s flexibility and curb appeal in smaller spaces like urban or suburban areas. 

In other words, the amount of land you are building on will affect your chosen floor plan. This is something to consider when building a barn house. 

The amount of living space you’ll need for the interior, compared to how much land remains unoccupied for the exterior, will make a difference when you plan out the maximum square footage.

Step #5: Find the Right Designer for YOU!

One of the most challenging aspects of building a home is finding a contractor or designer you can trust. Finding the right designer can help you translate your imagination and vision into an affordable reality.

When finding a designer for your barn house, you need to find someone who has experience with this style of home. 

While a barn house may be relatively simple in style and approach, there are several options available, so a knowledgeable designer will help you narrow down the details such as:

  • Windows
  • Ceilings 
  • Materials
  • The roof
  • Whether you need a basement or not
  • Options for entertaining 
  • The length and size of a porch
  • How many stories you need
  • Where your bathroom is best placed, and more

If you do choose to work with a designer, opting for Monster House Plans® can bring your imagination to life in a more effective way. 
With Monster House Plans, you can also use the “Ask the Architectfunction to ask detailed questions about the plan. This features truly lets the homeowners build their dream house within their budget.


People love flexibility and options when designing and building their homes. Barn homes and barndominiums provide space, quality, and most of all a unique design. What’s even better is that building a barn frame and style doesn’t have to break the bank.  No matter the size of your site or budget, barn homes are inherently adaptable!

Monster House Plans® will provide you with thousands of options and help you narrow down your search. Their advanced search feature helps you hone in on floor plans specially catered to your wants and needs. So the next time you are looking to buy or build a house, contact Monster House Plans® to get started and get one step closer to your dream home!

Getting the most house for your money is not as impossible as it sounds.

A limited construction budget is a design constraint that can truly enhance the result and, in many cases, can make for a more enjoyable and creative process. Instead of looking at a tight budget as a sacrifice, see it as a fundamental condition of building. You get to choose your priorities and discard the elements that don’t make the cut.

Data from the National Association of Home Builders tells us that the average price of constructing a single-family residence is roughly $289,415 — or $103 per square foot. However, the “average” figure doesn’t tell us much because home building and affordability vary vastly across the United States. This is why building a house as cheaply as possible requires a lot of research, ingenuity, planning, and careful project management throughout all phases.

Can you do it? Absolutely. Will you have fun? Most definitely. But does it call for a serious commitment of time, money, and resources? Without a doubt.

How Much Does It Cost to Build a House Right Now?

When you’re trying to understand the difference between buying a pre-built new home and a custom home, you should know that there’s a range that the “average” figure simply doesn’t reflect.

Factors like location (both state and city/town), lot size, materials used, land and zoning permits, waterfront construction, proximity from schools, amenities, and cultural centers will also affect your total cost to build a new home. Think of new home custom construction costs as lying on a spectrum of low, average, and high.

In some states, the range between these three discrete points can vary vastly. In California, for example, the cheapest average cost of a custom home starts at $152,000, but it can go all the way to about $1.5 million. In Pennsylvania, however, the variance between the two ends is much more stable, starting at $345,000 and going up to approximately $450,000.

Major Home Construction Costs Before You Begin

The idea goes that building a custom home from scratch is usually more expensive — but that doesn’t always have to be the case. There are plenty of factors or “levers” you can modify without compromising quality, safety, or livability. However, a few fundamentals are non-negotiable.

1) Plot or Parcel of Land

The plot or parcel of land you buy to build your home on will vary in cost based on location and permits involved. Despite the variation, the average cost of a plot of land is $3,040 per acre. The lot itself might need some work before its construction-worthy, so you may have to factor this cost in as well.

2) Excavation and Foundation Work

Excavating and digging the foundation presents a significant cost, and it’s doubly complicated if you buy a sloped lot, a hillside property, or an in-fill property. It involves excavating, pouring, and backfilling your foundation. However, these types of properties are also priced to sell quickly.

If you’re ready to get a bargain, there’s an easy workaround. Choose a floor plan designed for a sloping lot and then work with an architect to modify the plan based on the land you’re working with. Keep in mind that you may need retaining walls and additional landscaping for flood prevention. Prepare to shell out anywhere from $4,000 to $12,000.

3) Mechanical and Plumbing

Another area of home construction you simply cannot skimp on is major systems installations. These include wiring and electrical, plumbing, and HVAC. If you know you want to improve on sustainability and energy efficiency, this might also involve learning how to set up and install solar panels. A good electrical and plumbing team will run you $30,000 to $50,000 for an entire home build project.

Five Ways to Build a House As Cheaply As Possible

Now that you know the rough numbers around the “must-haves” are, you can shave valuable dollars off your budget using the following seven tips to build a house as cheaply as possible.

1) Be Your Own Contractor

If you know you want to build a house from a custom floor plan, you’ll need to commit to the upfront research required to be your own contractor. The good news is that there’s no dearth of information or resources available out there. Take your time and learn in phases, based on where you are in the building process. For example, during the starting phases your own general contractor, consider the following:

  • Getting permits
  • Installing insulation
  • General site clean-up
  • Sourcing and purchasing all materials
  • Scheduling inspections
  • Shingling the roof

You can then offload any tasks you’re not too fond of or well-versed with to local subcontractors. These should be specialists like carpenters, foundation specialists, concrete specialists, plumbers, and electricians.

2) Choose Floor Plans Strategically

If you kept costs low by purchasing a smaller lot, now is your chance to choose a floor plan strategically. Smaller lots are cheaper, so they’re a great way to save some money. However, if you know you want a large front and backyard, choose a home with multiple stories rather than a bungalow or a one-leveled floor plan.

You can also save money by centralizing your plumbing. For this, find a floor plan that has the kitchen, laundry room, and bathrooms in close proximity to each other. These are the rooms that usually take the most wiring and plumbing installations.

3) Phase the Finishes

You don’t need to finish everything at once. Instead, plan to finish your basement two to three years after you officially move in. You can also roll your upgraders and interiors out in phases, based on a rolling budget.

4) Allocate 10 Percent of your Budget to the Pros

Consult with an architect and landscape architect because they’ll be able to guide you and help avoid costly (and dangerous) building errors. You may also need to allocate to architects, designers, or builders and land surveyors. If you opt to include these experts, each of their going rates will factor into the cost of your home. Fees for each professional will depend on the rate within your area. A few example rates are as follows:

  • Architects: $60 – $125/hour
  • Engineers: $100 – $150/hour
  • Surveyors: $300 – $700/hour
  • Designers: Five to 15 percent of your construction costs

5) Get Smart About Your Materials
There is a lot to be said about starting at salvage yards and recycled lumber yards. Not only are the costs for materials lower, but you can also find related high-quality construction materials with your salvaged wood. You can also find home kits at many reclaimed lumber yards. These kits come with useful pieces like wood flooring, brick, and more that you can use to get your project started.

As you carve out your budget for a custom home, the first place to start is with a plan. Using Monster House Plans’ wide database of floor plans, you can narrow down your search based on features of a home, home style, additional inclusions, foundation type, and so much more. As part of your pre-building research, you can use Monster House Plans to gain detailed insight into cost and materials.

Opt for our signature 3D Intelligent House Plan and work with expert architects and designers to create custom additions for your home. You can design your dream home on a lot that works for you using floor plans from Monster House Plans. Browse our extensive selection today!

A typical American home’s “average” square footage isn’t all that average.

Across the country, homeowners have traded up in both home size and expectations. Size does matter in this case, and that’s because it’s all relative.

The average square footage of a 1,000 square foot home is not the same thing to a family of four as it is to a single individual. However, if you end up buying a house that’s too big for your family, you’ll also have a higher mortgage and a significantly larger out-of-pocket cost when it comes to home furnishings.

How much square footage is right for you is entirely a personal choice. However, with the right design choices and a smart, customized floor plan, even a 1,000 square feet can feel like a mansion.

What is the Average Square Footage of a Home in the U.S.?

Today, the average square footage area of a home in the U.S. is up almost 1,000 sq. ft., compared to just 67 years ago. Living space per person has nearly doubled since 1973. Most new home builds come in at a generous 2,300 to 2,700.

This begs the question of whether our families are actually bigger (they’re not), or our needs have actually increased (they haven’t).

Indeed, living is a lot more expensive now, but the categories are the same: food, running, cleaning water for drinking, transportation, health insurance, child care, and housing.

As it turns out, we just have a lot more stuff. So we may just need extra space for all that extra stuff. Rises in movements like minimalism or the Konmari Method show that we could all do with a good purge — or four.

There’s also another interesting aspect of the picture here: Our homes are much more energy-efficient than they once were. We can actually afford to come with bigger, better, and more spacious bathrooms, closets, garages, well-equipped home appliances. What in the 1970s was a feature of creature comfort — central air conditioning — 93% of new homes now include this as a baseline.

The improvements in factors like increased number of “luxury” features seen as standard, or the increase in average square footage comes with a cost — quite literally.

Besides contributing to unnecessary urban sprawl, the bid to continuously trade up in square footage leads to larger and often unmanageable debt loads. The cost of new home construction is also skyrocketing, telling us at these costs are trickling down.

How Much Square Footage is Right for Your Family?

Many families plan on downsizing by purchasing or building a tiny home floor plan. However, the key is not necessarily to scale down — it’s to scale right.

When considering how much square footage is right for your family — or yourself — you should be asking a few guiding questions. Make your decisions about square footage based on factors like:

  • The bedroom-to-living room space ratio: The builder’s or designer’s rule of thumb is that for every bedroom the house floor plan includes, you will need commensurate square footage for two people in a living or dining room. The number of bedrooms in a floor plan is actually the primary driver of the total square footage, as well as the spatial way it’s arranged. Knowing these facts, you might look for a floorplan that has fewer bedrooms and more diverse space (such as a den and an office, along with all the regular rooms) on the main floor.
  • How much you want to splurge on creature comforts: Often, homeowners will go for homes with more area because these are also the floor plans that include master ensuites, expansive, country kitchens, or walk-in closets. But you can still have all those creature comforts with a more compact floor plan. It will all depend on how much you want to spend on these specific creature comforts, how much overall space you have to play with, and what you’re willing to forgo. It will also depend on functional furniture and creative uses of space.
  • The current orientation of your home’s floor plan: Sometimes, space is just poorly planned. There are unnecessary divisions in a floorplan, nooks that no one is going to use, or connections between the rooms that don’t make sense. Look for a floor plan that maximizes every inch of your allocated square footage, and you can make 1,200 square feet feel double that.
  • How much time you plan to spend in each room: Just because a floor plan includes a mudroom, doesn’t mean you need to use it as such. Similarly, an office or den may not be useful to a family that doesn’t work from home. So you may turn it into a space for exercise, a movie room, or a guest bedroom. Map out your functional needs and determine how much time you plan to spend using that room. If it’s negligible, reappropriate the room’s use or look for a house floor plan that features the living spaces you actually need.

How to Make the Most of Your Home’s Square Footage

To make the most of your home’s square footage, you want to include popular features, but also inclusions that align with your use of space.

Unlike many other creative uses of space recommendations, this is not about making your home feel or look bigger or more spacious. Instead, it’s about enjoying every space for what it is and making additions based on the preferences for the use you’re going to have within that space.

1) Hardworking Storage Space

It’s not just about the novelty of having your bed frame double as a chest of drawers. Having these kinds of storage solutions are smart and resourceful.

However, becoming more strategic with your storage space will encourage you to cut down on physical belongings, making you more intentional with your purchases. You may opt for items that have a long shelf life, are high-quality, and which you know are going to last.

Storage space such as shelving also frees up clutter on the floor because, suddenly, you may not need those wicker baskets or that bookcase.

2) Open-Concept Floor Plans

Opting for an open-concept floor plan is one of the best ways to spatially “free up” light in your home. It provides excellent cross-ventilation, and it makes your living, dining, and kitchen spaces feel more expansive, even on a tighter square footage budget.

3) Decide On What You Want From the Room

There may be a room that has no obvious function to you — until you think about the activities that are a priority in your life.

So, forget about cluttering rooms up with furniture. Instead, decide on the function of the space — how do you intend it to be used?

It may be a meditation room. It could be your kids’ designated crafts room. If you have aging parents, it may be their reading-and-rest sanctuary.

4) Work the Corners

People often stick plants or random, decorative sculptures in corners. They’re nice to look at, but, beyond modest decorative purposes, have no actual use.

It’s true that not every addition or design choice needs to have obvious utility, but corners shouldn’t be wasted. If you add a comfortable mattress and a few plush cushions, for example, an odd corner could become a post-dinner relaxation spot or your personal book nook.

5) Go for the Gold

Speaking of decorative, if you are into design elements for their own sake, opt for pieces that have gold accents or metallic tipping on them. These decorative inclusions give a space an instantly luxurious feel, so your 1,500 square-foot home is still a space of opulence to visitors. They just won’t know that it’s also easier for you to clean and maintain.

6) Extend the Kitchen Cabinets

Here’s a good rule-of-thumb if you’re ever stuck with a floor plan that includes all your dream features, but has a kitchen that could use some work: Extend the cabinets past the kitchen, and use the walls adjoining the kitchen (as long as it’s not a support beam). This will open up the kitchen.

However, don’t make the mistake of placing cabinets to the ceiling. This is a faux-pas that many homeowners commit, and it simply leads to making the space feel cramped and squashed. Instead, opt for open shelving on the upper parts of your kitchen walls.

7) Create Movable Walls

The latest trend in farmhouse DIY renovations, Scandinavian-style movable walls are one of the most innovative ways to add more functional divisions between otherwise open-concept spaces. Movable walls run on an installed track so that you can gain some instant privacy in a room made for two people or even two adults, two kids, and a cat.

8) Create a Space for a Foyer – Even in a Modest Space

Creating a foyer division subconsciously signals to the individual entering that each area in this space has an obvious and purposeful function. Using racks, decorative pieces, and even smart seating that double as storage, you can easily create the sense of a welcome area, and this will instantly open up the perception of your space.

9) Use Skylights to Improve Headroom (Especially On Staircases)

If you have an open-concept floor plan, you don’t need a skylight in the living room. This doesn’t add anything to a space that is already airy and lit. Instead, consider adding a skylight to what would otherwise be a cramped or darker space — corridors and staircases, especially at the mid-landing point, opens up a smaller square footage interior.

10) Opt for Dual (or Multi!) Purpose Rooms

If someone has convinced you that, to live sanely, you need a separate craft room, mudroom, library, and laundry room, they’re wrong. Of course, you can have all these things be separate spaces. However, if you’d like to go for more economical square footage, then you can just as easily combine the functions of a room. For example, there’s no reason why you can’t use shelving, cabinets, roll-away storage, and hooks to design a laundry room that also acts as a mudroom.


Even today’s average home of 2,700 square feet can feel like a home closer to 3,500 if you know how to use the space in a way that actually aligns and suits your lifestyle.

And, the opposite is true as well. If you know you’d like to downsize to a 1,200 or a 1,500 square foot home, for example, you can use these ideas and functional tips to maintain your “larger” living standards in a spatially-compact way.

At Monster House Plans, we believe that no homeowner considering their dream home should be constrained by the features of a fixed floor plan. When you browse our vast selection of multi-styled homes, you can look for floor plans that suit your specific needs, searching by the most granular details and inclusions.

Many of our over thousands of home floor plans come with multiple elevations, and you can speak directly to the architect and designer for modifications.

Start with Monster House Plans today, and let’s make your dream home a reality!

Did you know that 33% of potential buyers are less likely to enquire about a property when it doesn’t have an available floor plan? Although photos are helpful, actually seeing the space from a bird’s eye view is easier to understand.

Drawing a floor plan for your own home is also beneficial. This way, you can see elements of your design before anything becomes permanent—and all professionals will require one before construction begins anyway.

So, whether you’re renovating a part of your home or building from the ground up, you’ll need a floor plan to get the ball rolling.

What Is a Floor Plan?

A floor plan is a two-dimensional birdseye drawing of a room or floor of a building. They can be done by hand with engineering paper, or online with planning software.

Floor plans are different from blueprints, which are more technical and intended for engineering teams. Floor plans usually only show the interior spaces and include examples of where furniture would be placed.

Benefits of a Floor Plan

“Floor plans are more of a neutral backdrop for them to see what’s in the apartment and how the rooms relate to one another,” says realty marketing director Gerald Makowski.

Drawing out a floor plan before planning the space is not only helpful to you, but also to the architect and designer. A floor plan helps your professional team maximize the use of the land, plumbing, electricity, and overall design with a single sketch of the floor. Some other major benefits include:

  • Help your professional team layout your ideas
  • Allows for adjustments
  • Displays measurements for features and furniture
  • Creates a better relationship between buyer and seller

Unfortunately, floor plans don’t magically appear—so if you’d like to take a hand at drawing your own, here are some of the most important tips to draw your own floor plan.

Tips to Draw Your Own Floor Plan

Sketching is the easy part, but doing it right is a whole other process. By considering essential tips like measuring correctly, window directions, adding architectural details, and furniture placement, you’re more likely to have an accurate draft.

Tip #1: Essential Measuring Tips

First, begin by gathering measurements of each room in the floor plan. Measure side to side across the base of the wall and then floor to ceiling. When you take the numbers to the drawing board, use each box to represent one foot and round your measurements to the closest ¼ inch.

When mapping out your furniture ideas, keep in mind that the walkway between a piece of furniture and a wall should be 30 to 36 inches in residential spaces and 36 to 42 inches in commercial areas, which can help you determine the size of rooms, furniture, and hallways.

Tip #2: Always Map Out the Windows

Window arrangement might not be high on your priority list, but it should be! Where your windows sit will determine furniture placement, heating and cooling costs, and the types of window treatments you might opt to do.

North-facing windows receive the most sunlight year-round while east and west receive the most during summer. South-facing windows receive little at all, so unless you live in a hot climate, you might want to avoid putting important rooms on this side.

Furniture Placement

It’s always best to place furniture that faces the windows. You’ll also want to point screens away from them to prevent an unwanted glare. So, for example, your living room TV might sit on the same wall as the window while the couch is parallel.

Cooling and Heating Costs

Where your windows are can help determine your home’s cooling and heating costs. Up to 30% of heat gets lost through inefficient windows, so choosing a window treatment for your climate can help reduce high prices in extreme temperatures.

Tip #3: Don’t Forget Architectural Features

One of the worst things to do when you’re in the final stages of your floor plan is realizing you forgot to include architectural features.

Architectural features are parts of the space that won’t be removable, like built-in shelves, staircases, fireplaces, doorways, windows, and sometimes plumbing and electrical details.

Tip #4: Furniture Placement Is Essential

After you’ve added the essential parts of your floor plan, you can add sketches of what furniture pieces could fit. Keep in mind that furniture usually sits between two and three inches from the wall.

If you’re adding furniture that you already own, then take careful measurements of each item. If you plan on buying new pieces, then you have some creative freedom on what kinds of pieces to add to your plan.

Characteristics of a Well-Flowed Room

“When you do one room, you have to think about everything that touches it, all of the spaces that connect,” says designer Stephanie Henley on the importance of room flow.

A room’s flow refers to the natural route and relationship between doors, windows, and furniture. Think of it this way: when you walk into a room, the last thing you want is to bump into a desk or couch.

Some examples of a well-flowed room might refer to feng shui, which is the harmonization of elements. The rules of feng shui translate well to traditional Western design, including:

  • Avoiding clutter
  • Keeping a clear path to the entry door
  • Maximizing natural light
  • Using furniture that fits the space

By utilizing the room’s natural flow, you’ll be able to maximize your furniture and space.

Tip #5: Functioning in Small Spaces
If you’re designing a small or cramped space, then consider the essential aspects of your design. There are several things you can incorporate into your floor plan and design to make use of every inch of space, like:

  • Mirrors
  • Pocket doors
  • Recessed shelving
  • Allowing maximum sunlight by drawing that face north, east, or west
  • Integrating appliances into cabinet space
  • Glass doors in bathrooms

When possible, doubling these pieces’ functions works best. “If you ensure that every piece of furniture in a room has a purpose, it becomes the most used room in the house,” says designer Cari Giannoulias.

When it comes to designing a floor plan, there are several factors you have to take into account, like design, functionality, and practicality. But most importantly, you have convey these critical elements into your floor plan.

So if you plan on drawing your own floor plan, always be sure to:

  • Measure everything
  • Map out the windows
  • Add architectural features
  • Consider furniture placement
  • Maximize small spaces

After you’ve finished, you might wonder what’s next. The good news is that the team at Monster House Plans has architects and designers whose expertise is finalizing floor plans. By consulting with one of our building and designing professionals, you’re one step closer to bringing your floor plan to life.

Contact Monster House Plans today to get started!