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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.

Conclusion

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.

Conclusion
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!

Do you feel as though you don’t have enough room for all your belongings? Maybe your home has grown cramped and feels small? Luckily, you don’t have to move or perform significant home renovation to solve these issues. Rethinking the space you already have is a great way to give yourself more storage while creating an inviting and open feel within your home. If you’re unsure where to begin, here are a few ways to maximize the square footage your home has to offer.

Change the Perception

There are a handful of ways to create the illusion that a room is bigger, brighter, and more open. Through color and layout design, you can transform any space in your home to not only utilize the most space possible but also give it the specific feel you’re looking for.

Utilize Color

If your room feels small, there are plenty of ways to open it up. You can try using paint as a means to make a space feel bigger. Soft tones of white, blues and greens, can not only enlarge a room but also give it a more inviting feel.

As an additional tip, ensure your wall trim and moldings are a lighter color than your walls as it will give the illusion that the walls are farther back, making the room feel big and open. If you’re not looking to paint, you can also change up your flooring to give your room a new feel. Wide planks or large tile flooring with a darker tone can also enlarge a space.

Revamp the Design

The layout of your furniture can also make a difference in your living space. If you have large, clunky pieces that close off walkways and the view of the room, it will seem cramped and small. Opt for multi-functional pieces that you can tuck away when you’re not using them.

Corners can be awkward spaces that can sometimes be difficult to fill. You can find desks, cabinets, bookcases, and accent tables that can all tuck away into the empty corner of your room. These are viable options for a home office space, as well as a means to increase your storage capacity. If you’re looking for something more simple, consider an accent piece such as a chair or lamp for you to enjoy.

Rethink the Kitchen

If you have a large room that feels lackluster and not fulfilling its true potential, consider a minor remodel. For a room such as the kitchen, the options are endless. In most cases, you may feel as though you don’t have enough cabinet and counter space, or maybe your kitchen as a whole feels tight and cramped.

An easy solution for these issues is to replace your cabinets. The cost to install new cabinets is, on average, $100 and $500 per cabinet. By installing new cabinets, you’re able to reconfigure the layout of your kitchen, performing a major remodel—such as moving appliances and running new plumbing. Compared to other remodeling costs, replacing your cabinets is a budget-friendly project to help you maximize the space of your kitchen.

You can also choose between options such as rolling islands and kitchen carts. These can provide you with additional workspace, as well as storage for when you need it the most.

Consider Storage Options

Your home can be full of hidden gems that you transform into additional storage space. This is an excellent option if you’re looking for ways to maximize your space without buying new furnishings for your home. A few ways to add storage in your home are:

Implement Storage Benches

Whether you decide to commit to construction and install a built-in or you buy a freestanding bench, this can help you fill empty walls beneath windows and awkward corners. It’s also a versatile piece that combines both style and function. Additionally, you can utilize benches in many rooms of your home as a means for storage, organization, and extra seating.

Check Under the Stairs

Based on the space beneath your stairs, you may find the perfect opportunity to utilize the extra space it has to offer. Based on the location of your stairs, you could use this space as a pantry, a laundry room, and—for any pet lovers out there—a den for your furry friend to relax.

This is a unique space that you can transform into anything you see fit for you and your family. You could also implement cabinets, drawers, and pullouts to create extra storage to hide in plain sight.

Conclusion

Ultimately, maximizing the space you have in your home is all about being creative and working with what you have. By implementing unique storage, design elements, and redesigning your space, you’ll be able to have a more functional and open home.

The face of suburban living is changing. The days of residential developments from new home builders are slowly, but steadily, replaced by custom home builds.

Part of the reason for this shift is a change in the buyer profile – millennials are now at prime buying age, and they’re quickly becoming the face of new homeowners across the country.

The other aspect of the shift is their changing priorities: More individuals than ever before are prioritizing convenience and quality over size and status. New home buyers are looking for sturdy and high-quality upgrades that will last for decades.

These priorities are not limited to a millennial’s ideal home preferences. If any of these show up on your personal preferences for a home, then a custom home could be an affordable and highly creative pathway to home ownership. However, like any worthy undertaking, there is a process behind the project.

Here are 9 questions you need to have answered when building a house:

  1. Can You Afford The Construction and the Contingencies?
  2. What Type Of Custom Home Will Have the Best Resale Value?
  3. What Are Your Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves?
  4. Do You Need An Architect And A Contractor/Builder?
  5. Do You Need a Kitchen?
  6. What Do You Know About Your Chosen Lot?
  7. Is Your Current Lifestyle Stable?
  8. What Is and Isn’t Included In the Costs?
  9. Is There a Process For Communicating Through the Building Phase?

Money Questions
Building a custom home is a significant investment of both time and money. The National Association of Home Builders says that the average completion time of a custom build is around seven months, but if your home is larger it may take closer to two years. You have to count the months ahead of the process when the actual decision-making and applications for permits occur.

It’s hard to price out a custom home build because all the major decisions are in your hand. The quality of builder you will use, the number of crewmen and project managers, the designers, the materials for exterior construction, and upgrades for the interiors are all examples of factors that could change the final price tag. A custom build may work out to between $100 to $400 per square foot.

Every decision you make on a custom build affects this bottom line. There are so many small and large choices you’ll need to make, so don’t overwhelm yourself at this stage. Ask yourself two basic, foundational questions.

1) Can You Afford The Construction and the Contingencies?

The construction of your home includes several considerations including the cost of labor, the cost of materials, your contractor’s fees, installation, the crew, your floorplan, municipal zoning, and building permits.

Keep in mind the contingencies. These are special and often unexpected circumstances that may crop up and delay your build schedule. Sometimes, if a build gets delayed, this could increase the overall costs. Be prepared to respond to these situations as they come up.

Many homeowners will look at the price tag of all the materials and resources that a custom home will cost and consider this part of the “money question.” However, the total cost for all construction, materials, and labor, call for something even more important: a steady cash flow.

If you don’t pay your contractor and their team, your work could stall and only pick up again once you’re back in the green. Worse yet, your contractor team may not be available when you’re ready to resume. Cashflow is the most important thing to consider when you first plan out your custom home build. If you can sustain the project through allocated finances week to week, your home will finish on schedule and at cost.

2) What Type Of Custom Home Will Have the Best Resale Value?

While some homeowners are looking to design their “forever” home, others will choose a custom home that has a good resale value. Resale value depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The location
  • The upgrades included in the home
  • The decorative elements
  • The exterior’s materials and design
  • The home’s floor plan

For example, some areas are far more popular for their choice in colonial-style homes than ranch-style homes. If you build a home that reflects this preference, it’s far likelier to sell quickly.

If you know that you may consider moving or selling your home in about a decade after its construction, then you may want to stay away from more unconventional floor plans such as an A-Frame.

Design Questions
The design of your home is closely related to the materials and cost of your home. Once you know what your budget is, you’ll be able to pinpoint which features you’re looking for and which rooms your dream home must have.

Keep in mind that design is not just aesthetic or decorative. The design of a home has a lot to do with how long its materials will last. Smart design choices can also help increase energy efficiency and keep your home well-insulated or ventilated. The design of a custom home is not just how things look but how those elements work for you.

3) What Are Your Must-Haves and Nice-To-Haves?

Every homeowner embarking on a custom home project should create two lists of priorities. These are negotiables and non-negotiables. To decide on your design priorities, ask yourself a set of guiding questions such as:

  • Do we entertain a lot?
  • Does our home need to accommodate multi-generations?/Aging-in-home options?
  • Exterior and interior style choices? (farmhouse, A-frame, cottage-style, etc.)
  • Sustainability and energy efficiency?
  • Do we want low-maintenance exteriors?
  • Is space the most important factor for our family?

The answers to these questions can help you make general and granular decisions. For example, if you know you need extra square footage, you’ll need to choose a larger floor plan. If you decide that your parents will move in and age in-home, then you may choose lighting, staircase fixtures, bathroom additions, and even raised countertops with their safety and accessibility in mind.

4) Do You Need An Architect And A Contractor/Builder?

Questions about design can get confusing and very specific. You may also come across particulars about a lot’s elevation that may require more specialized knowledge. Any changes, alterations, or additions you may want to make to a chosen floor plan call for an architect/designer, or even a structural and/or civil engineer. These specialists can help ensure that your structure is sound and built to last.

While the skeleton structure of your home may require an architect, the interior may call for an interior designer. If you have the room in your budget for an interior designer, you can hire this individual right at the outset of your custom home build, or toward the end. If you’re hiring them later in the build process, they will have to work with the room configurations you already have.

5) Do You Need a Kitchen?

As a home’s most social and lived-in area, the kitchen is a significant space that sets the tone for several other rooms. The dining room, living room, and great room may all be physically separated, for example. However, their use and configuration can depend on the choices you make in your kitchen.

Custom kitchens are becoming increasingly popular because the skill levels and priorities of families are changing. Some homeowners love cooking and need to have a country kitchen, complete with the latest appliances. Others want a minimalistic aesthetic and prefer that their countertops double as a cutting board.

These preferences affect your home’s floor plan and design. You’ll need to decide how long you plan to spend in your kitchen and what you want to be doing when you’re there. You also need to make sure to choose a floor plan that is spacious enough to incorporate everything you want in your dream kitchen.

Lifestyle Questions
These are the “big picture” considerations that you should be asking yourself before your project ever gets off the ground. The answers to these questions will reveal to you just how committed you are – and need to be – to see your custom home to the finish line.

6) What Do You Know About Your Chosen Lot?

Specific details about your chosen land will tell you what kind of foundation you can lay, what kind of beams the soil can support, and whether you can have a basement area or cellar in your floor plan.

If your home sits on a slope or a hill, your architect or certified contractor can help you plan your construction. A home built on a slope, for example, could be prone to soil erosion, flooding, and disruption to its exterior structures like decks and driveways.

7) Is Your Current Lifestyle Stable?

It’s not the most obvious question but it’s one of the most important considerations. You’re building a custom home, and a large part of your decision should be about your happiness. To make sure that a custom home is the right choice for you, consider the following questions:

  • Will we be moving a lot, or can we see ourselves living here for more than a year after the build?
  • Can we commit to the timelines (which will likely go over) for construction?
  • Are our relationships strong enough to bear the pressures of a longer-term construction period and process? Do we have a solid foundation of trust between us and a method to communicate when conflict arises?

There are so many unexpected issues that come up during a custom build that you will need patience, persistence, and commitment to make it through successfully. If you can’t see yourself living here long-term, for example, then you may have to question whether all the work is worth it.

Construction Questions
Even if you choose your own floor plan, it’s important to vet your builder or contractor thoroughly. Judge their quality based on details like past client testimonials, previous custom build projects, warranties provided, and project management best practices. You may even want to ask for proof of certification and licensing.

8) What Is and Isn’t Included In the Costs?

Cost inclusions affect your cash flow. If you can’t forecast items that are going to be included (and excluded) in the build process, you can’t budget for them. When unexpected additional costs come up, you need to know how to respond and how to allocate money for these purposes.

Your contractor should be able to give you a very detailed timeline, list of materials and resources, and built-in check-ins or meetings to communicate progress. This shows that your contract also has a project manager on the team or is skilled enough to understand the management aspect to a custom build.

9) Is There a Process For Communicating Through the Building Phase?

You could liaise with a construction project coordinator, a project manager, or be in direct communication with your contractor or builder. Regardless of whom you’re working with, custom builds are complicated processes that need to have a consistent communication process. Find out who your point of contact will be, what the contact methods are for regular and emergency issues, and how frequently you can expect updates on the build.

You should also be very clear on what your role is, what your contractor or builder expects from you, and by when.

Conclusion
None of these questions should deter you from your dream home. Instead, they should help you get clear on the commitment, time, and financial resources you will need to make your dream home a reality. Custom home builds are a wonderfully creative process, and the end result can feel very rewarding.

The key to making a custom build both affordable and seamless is to plan, prepare, and then plan some more. Start by keeping your costs low and allocating your money towards your list of non-negotiables.

When you begin with a house plan from Monster House Plans, you’ll have access to thousands of house plans. From here, you can narrow your search using our Advanced Search feature and choose a plan that meets your design requirements and cost budget. Make your custom dream home happen this year with a plan that starts you off on the right foot. Browse Monster House Plans today!

In the past year alone, “how to build a house” was the second-most popular home improvement-related search on Google. It’s safe to say that more than ever, Americans are hooked on the idea of designing their own homes.

There’s just something so satisfying about having a place to truly call your own. After all, you get to have a say on all of the critical parts. You can choose the perfect location, the right floor plan, customized design elements, and enjoy the home for years to come.

If you’re one of the many Americans looking to design from scratch, then you’re not alone. But before you get started, there are a few things you have to consider before you attempt to build your own home.

1. Find the Perfect House Plan

When you picture your perfect home, what do you see?

According to most homebuyers, open concept living is at the top of the list, closely followed by timeless designs like hardwood flooring and plenty of storage. Whatever it is you envision, there’s a floor plan out there with your name on it.

With thousands of floor plans available online, it’s easy to find the one that is just right for you. Best of all, you can customize your search by important features like bedrooms, bathrooms, basements, or even wine cellars! Most companies also offer custom floor planning, where an architect will speak with you about some of your must-have features.

2. It’s All About Location, Location, Location

You might have heard the saying “location, location, location” a few times before. Coined by real estate tycoon Lord Harold Samuel in 1926, the famous expression holds true that homes can be higher in value solely based on its location — a staggering 91 percent of people said location is the most important factor when buying a home!

The right location often includes important features like safe neighborhoods, friendly neighbors, and good schools. Beyond that, though, are some of the other most-wanted factors in an ideal neighborhood:

  1. Low home value to income ratio
  2. Good public school ratings
  3. Fair median monthly housing cost
  4. Reasonable cost of living grade
  5. Residents with a college education

And sometimes if you’re lucky, you’ll find the right piece of land in the perfect neighborhood. At this point, you should consult with a professional who can survey the land. They will be able to tell you whether it is accessible to the city, if it is leveled, the right size for your floor plan and if it’s without any zoning restrictions.

3. The Direction Your Home Will Face

The property you choose will also impact the direction of your home.

The direction a house faces might not be the first thing that comes to anybody’s mind — but it should be high on your list. The direction in which your home faces will directly impact how much sunlight you get, and therefore your heating and cooling costs. Homes that were oriented to face the sun had a 10 to 20 percent increase in savings on heating costs.

But the question is: which way is best? If you’re unsure which direction to face the home, then it might help to know more about where you can expect the sun and shade. The United States is in the Northern Hemisphere, which means that the sun offers the most light in the south, and is shadier in the north.

Since the sun shines year-round on the south, many builders recommend orienting the home this way so that the main rooms can get enough natural light. The south side of the house is also where patios and pools should be constructed. Bedrooms are generally on the northern or western end of a home where there is more shade.

4. Choose a Simple and Timeless Design

Remember that at one point, your grandmother’s ivy wallpaper and popcorn ceiling was popular! But as styles evolve, it’s crucial to pick the right elements without getting dated too quickly.

Even those with an eye for interior design might feel overwhelmed when choosing how to style their home. After all, there are so many trends and ideas to try out — and they’re everchanging. But the key to the right design is to choose something timeless or easy to update as the years go on.

“Interior design is like a three-dimensional game of chess: You have to think about space both vertically and horizontally,” says interior designer John Saladino. “You have to break down these rooms and create spaces with a human scale.”

With that said, it’s important to take advantage of each inch of space in your new home. Be sure to optimize space by adding plenty of closets, built-in cabinetry, and a basement or garage.

5. Always Consider the Cost

The million-dollar question is: How much does it cost to build your own home? Unfortunately, there is no set number on how much it costs to develop and design your own home.

But there are general estimations that offer a good starting point. For example, the average house size is about 2,400 square feet. With the average price per square foot at $100, you can expect to pay $240,000 including labor and material costs. This does not include builder profit and overhead if you are planning to hire a professional builder.

To get a true estimation, you’ll have to do some homework by researching local contractors. The good news is with Monster House Plan’s cost-to-build tool, you can easily get an estimate of how much your favorite floor plan will cost to build in your specific area within +/- 10%.

However, be sure to put aside enough money in case something unexpected happens. So, try to avoid spending every last penny on your dream home and set aside at least 10 percent of your budget as an emergency contingency.

Conclusion

When it comes to building and designing your own home, you’re sure to run into some trial and error scenarios. But as long as you carefully consider the five important rules before you build your home, you’ll be on the right path.

But for most, the fun part is finding the perfect floor plan — and with thousands of floor plans available, it’s never been easier to find your perfect home. Monster House Plans has a plethora of exterior and interior floor plans in dozens of design styles, ranging from contemporary to cottage, and everything in between.

What are you waiting for? Find your perfect house plan today!