While bedrooms come in all sizes and designs, they almost always have one thing in mind: comfort. Fortunately, no matter the house plan – nor the size of the room – homeowners can easily achieve that perfection.
A comfortable room is hard to plan in the abstract, given that a myriad of details such as the opacity of window treatments or the positioning of the bed can have a large impact. Furthermore, from site to size, each home offers its own unique context, which will inevitably shape the design of the bedroom. Fortunately, though, there are some common techniques that can help homeowners choose the right layout, no matter the house. To help demonstrate this point, we've highlighted two bedrooms, one from a collection of luxury house plans, and another among small house plans. Both have the opportunity to be great places to retire at the end of the day.
The quaint bedroom
This small house plan is efficient, but no less charming because of its size. The bedrooms are by no means tiny, but they are relatively constrained compared to the grand master suite serving as a counter-example in this article. The tertiary bedroom is the smallest in the house – roughly 11 feet by 10 feet – and does not include a bay window like the other others. While there is limited space to work with, it's still possible to create an excellent room.
First, it's important to keep in mind a few basics of bedroom design. As Houzz noted, simple circulation is one of the key elements to good layout. According to the design site, it's usually best to keep floor space circulation to one side of the room. Another helpful tip is to naturally create a sense of privacy by orienting the bed out of sight from the entryway. Finally, you'll want to emphasize the view of the room, which is a natural focal point and a source of warming sunlight.
Applied to this small bedroom, it becomes readily evident that the best placement for the bed is on the left wall, adjacent to the closet. Given the dimensions of the room, the bed should be perpendicular to the wall, so that it naturally aligns lengthwise to the room, and the head of the bed is no longer visible at the entryway. A dresser may be positioned opposite the bed without obstructing the view. If the space still feels cramped, mirrors and bright paint colors will help to create a more open room.
The luxury suite
On the other end of the spectrum is this luxury house plan's master suite. Boasting whopping dimensions of more than 18 feet by 16 feet as well as three entry points – from the lanai, the study and the hall – this room features its own particular design hurdles. The privacy issue is heightened by all the doorways as well as all the windows. Also, a focused layout can seem difficult with so much space. A good place for the bed may be the perpendicular to the wall adjacent to the master bath, but that's more interruptive of the natural flow of the room than against the rightmost wall.
Once the bed is placed, however, there is still plenty of space to organize. According to HGTV, large rooms can be divided into multiple functional zones to recreate the feel of a hotel suite. In this instance, it may be worthwhile to place the bed closer to the master bath wall, and create a sitting space in the back-right corner of the room. Meanwhile a dresser can be positioned on the wall adjacent to the owner's study.
You want your dining room table to seat family and friends comfortably, but you also need it to sit inside your home. Getting the perfect dining room table to fit your floor plans is about striking a balance between personal preference and function. Here are some considerations when choosing this key piece of furniture:
Ample table space
Dining room tables are meant for family and formal feasts alike. As such, you'll want a table that can accommodate place settings and serving dishes comfortably, as well as candles and centerpieces. Be sure to account for elbow room in addition to space taken up for plates, silverware, drinks and side dishes. Any less space than two feet per person will feel crowded. If you have people sitting across from one another, you'll want a table that's at least three feet wide.
You'll also want to keep in mind how many people you plan to seat around your table. Couples who expect to have kids should plan for a potential need for more place settings in the future. Also, if you plan on hosting holiday dinners or even friendly gatherings, you may want to invest in a table that fits more than just your family unit. However, you may not have any interest in hosting dinner parties or even eating meals in the dining room. If you plan to use that space as a flex room, feel free to choose a table that better suits your needs.
Chair and walking room
Guests at your table are going to need to get up out of their chairs, not to mention ample room to walk around the dining area. While you can technically fit chairs with two feet of room between table and wall, three feet will make for a much more comfortable dining space. You should also give yourself more room if you plan to have other furnishings in the room, such as a liquor trolley or a cabinet for fine china. However, you may also get away with less room on one side if the adjacent wall is knocked down for an open layout.
Your final consideration should be how the table fits with the overall design of the room. You may want to find a table that fits the style of the rest of the room. A formal, neocolonial space may look best with an antique table, while a room decorated in the vein of country house plans may look best with something more roughly hewn and rustic. However, much more important than the material and ornament of the table is its shape.
In a square room, you can easily fit any shape of table, whether round, square or rectangular. However, in oblong rooms, a circular or square table will likely look strange. Furthermore, the table should be oriented to parallel the layout of the space, so that the longer sides of a table correspond with the longer sides of the room. This layout also maximizes efficiency.
Looking at a test case
Craftsman house plans such as this one feature plenty of versatility in terms of dining. In addition to the dining room, there is also a nook and a barbecue porch, all of which can have a dining table. To illustrate the previous points, a table in the dining room should probably be no less than 3' by 3' and no bigger than 7' by 10'. If need be, the dining room can cheat on the 2' walk space rule on the side closest to the foyer. Given the presence of the fireplace and the semi-open layout between the dining room and the family room, a small, modest dining room table may be the best option to match the space.
When it comes to window treatments, you have your choice between four main styles – shades, shutters, blinds and drapes. Each one has its own set of characteristics to best suit your needs. As you decide which designs to buy for your home, you'll want to consider each and every room in terms of its light, heat and aesthetic requirements. Here to help you decide is an introduction to window coverings and how to pick the right ones.
Windows are an essential element to your home – not just for privacy or blocking light at night, but also for regulating the temperature of your home. Sunlight through your windows can provide solar gain, thereby warming your home. However, blinds are key in regulating the amount of solar gain, especially in the summer months, when rooms are liable to overheat. In the wintertime, you also run the risk of losing heat through glass, which is a poor insulator. Window treatments help to retain heat in winter months and during cold nights.
A treatment for every situation
Some of these window treatments are better at insulating and blocking light than others. However, you don't just want to pick the best insulator for every room, as you'll likely have different light, heat and privacy needs from room to room. The southern-facing wall of your home, for example, will let in the most light of any facade, and as such you may want heavy shades to block out the sun on really hot days. Because many people choose house floor plans with large bay windows on the south side to let in light, you'll also have more heat radiating through the glass in the winter. Closed window treatments during cold nights are also essential to retaining heat. North-facing walls, however, receive little light and so don't require as much shade. Lightweight drapes that allow light may be a better option.
Also, consider the various privacy requirements for two-story house plans, such as this one, compared to single-story craftsman house plans. Downstairs, thin drapes may be fine, but for upstairs bedrooms, you'll still want something opaque so that light doesn't get in and privacy is afforded. With the south-facing great room, however, slatted blinds may be preferable.
This type of window treatment is often used purely as decoration on the side of neocolonial homes, though many are not actually able to shut. However, they do provide a sturdy treatment that can reduce temperature fluctuations in a home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a solid shutter fitted close to a window frame creates an insulating air space. They can also be combined with other shading elements for greater insulation. They also provide a physical barrier from the elements.
The insulating abilities of drapes depends largely on the fabric being used. If you want a lot of insulation, then thick, dark drapes that layer atop one another are your best option. However, you can also use thin drapes to create soft lighting a room.
Shades and blinds
The terms shades and blinds are often used interchangeably, but in general, blinds have slats. Because these slats are often adjustable, they allow homeowners flexibility in terms of letting in light and air. However, slats also create small slits where air can get through, making them less effective at retaining heat in the winter.
Unlike blinds, shades are generally comprised of a single piece of fabric that can be pulled down over glass. These are highly effective means of insulation that can be improved upon through layers and sealed edges.
Designing your perfect home demands a keen eye, a good imagination and a reliable contractor. Pre-drawn house plans remove a lot of the stress that comes with developing a plan from scratch, but there's still a long way to go once the blueprints are made. Fortunately, apps are making house design and decoration easier than ever.
It doesn't matter what aspect of the home building process you're on, or what kind of plans you're working with, there's likely an app that will give you decoration ideas, help you better visualize the space, introduce you to the best new products and even better pick paint and window treatments. Here are some reliable apps that can help with your plans.
Whether you're looking for indoor lighting inspiration or fire pit plans, Houzz is one of the best design apps out there. The website is home to over 2,00,000 design photos, easily organized for casual browsing. Homeowners in need of kitchen ideas can simply scroll through the collection of more than 500,000 images on the website. They can filter their search by browsing in terms of location or even style, so that homeowners with contemporary house plans can look at equally modern kitchen suggestions. If there's an idea that seems to stick out, the app lets users clip the image and save it for later. When it's time to buy a product, the app also has links to specific items in the photos.
Planning the layout
Chances are, you'll be spending plenty of time with your contractor figuring out the most efficient use of your floor plans. Yet, you'll want more than just a paper copy or PDF to work with. For the tech savvy, plenty of apps allow users to digitally map out their plans and decorate them accordingly. Some, such as Floorplanner and Home 3D, let you make a multi-dimensional rendering of the plans so that you can get a better sense of the size and scale of the space. Once it comes time to choose furniture, you'll already have a good understanding of what could work in any given room.
People that are already well underway in terms of construction may also want to consider MagicPlan, which automatically draws floor plans of your rooms based on pictures you've taken. This tool can be especially helpful if you're trying to determine how furniture is going to fit into a space.
Choosing window treatments
Once construction is complete, the design options will actually seem to multiply, as you must now choose the highly customizable details of your home. Window treatments are one of those elements that can greatly affect the look and feel of a room, as they filter the kind of sunlight that comes through while serving as decorative pieces in their own right. The Window Shopper from Blinds.com is a fun and engaging way to find the perfect window covers for your home. Users simply take a photo of their window and outline the dimensions on the app. They can then browse through a catalog of digital window treatments as they would appear on the window.
Paint is another big decision in your new home, and many big companies already lend their name to a burgeoning field of color apps to assist in choosing the perfect shades. HGTV's Color Guide is a source of scrapbook inspiration, while Color Capture by Benjamin Moore will determine a palette based on shades in photographs you've taken. ColorSmart by Behr tries to match appropriate shades to photos of your room.
Ceilings are often one of the most neglected surfaces when it comes to home decoration. While a fresh coat of paint or an intriguing light fixture can be enough to make people turn their heads skyward, homeowners can really give their homes a distinguished, professional look with box beams.
If you're working with a soaring pitched ceiling based on luxury house plans, box beams can ground the design by adding some texture to the massive field. Should you be working with country house plans, then these faux beams lend an architectural flourish. Follow these tips to implement beams in a tasteful and sophisticated manner.
What they are
Box beams, also known as box girders, are hollow squares traditionally designed to resemble the beams that actually hold up roofs. In some buildings, particularly cabins and cottages, those beams may actually be exposed, adding a rustic charm. Yet, more often than not, they are hidden behind strand board and drywall. Box beams, which have no architectural function in terms of the structural integrity of the building, are meant to evoke some of the ambience of that obscured architecture.
While box beams commonly invoke that key structural element of a house frame, they have evolved into a more encompassing design element involving a form of three-dimensional gridding across the ceiling. You have the option of simple, unvarnished 4×4 beams or you can get richly ornamented coffered ceilings that match traditional crown molding. While the style of your box beams are mostly a reflection of personal tastes, the width, thickness and overall layout should, in part, take into consideration the height and pitch of your ceiling.
No matter the ceiling, there are some general design guidelines you should follow in order to make box beams look good. First, it's important that they aren't so close together that they start to look like clutter. Generally, standard-sized box beams should have a minimum distance of 16 inches between each parallel piece, if for no other reason than to mimic common joist spacing. However, thicker beams may look better with more distance between them, as would smaller grids for thinner box beams. Also, if your ceiling is already textured with wood, box beams may make the surface appear too busy. Finally, make sure that the beams are perfectly orthogonal and evenly spaced, even if the wood itself isn't completely straight. Because box beams will extend across the length of your ceiling, it will be easy to detect angles in the grid.
Flat versus pitched
This luxury house plan features both flat and pitched ceilings, each of which demand their own box beam layout. If you have a flat ceiling, then a grid will look fitting, but you can also just have a series of parallel beams. If your ceilings are low, just remember that the thickness of the beams will make them feel even lower. Pitched ceilings, however, will look odd with grids. A better approach is to have a box beam along the center ridge, with perpendicular boxes extending down the ceiling slopes, again with ample and even spacing. Generally, any time there is a ridge, you want to place your box beams along it, as demonstrated with the peaked ceiling in the foyer.
Exposing your beams
Of course, you may also have the option to expose the already existing beams in the house. However, that depends on you and your contractor's choice of building materials and your own desire for authenticity. Thick, solid beams require large, long pieces of wood, which are usually costly. Contractors generally use trusses or thinner joists instead of solid, square pieces of lumber because they are a cheap, efficient use of materials that boast comparable structural efficiency. Your option, then, is to either pay more for heavyset exposed lumber, or you can "box out" the exposed trusses or thinner joists by essentially cladding them with flat pieces of wood.
When people talk floor plans, they're usually talking about home dimensions, and not their designs for decorating their floor. However, your choice of rugs and carpets can have a huge impact on the look and feel of a room. Homeowners looking to further define their space may want to consider how rugs can fit into their own designs.
Country house plans offer great interior design opportunities, and this one in particular is a good springboard to discuss how rugs play a role in the ambience of the home. Not only does it have distinct interior visual elements with which rug designs will interact, but it also features rooms of various sizes that pose interesting flooring considerations.
Avoid too small
Dimensions are essential when choosing a rug. Too small, and the rug can appear ill-fitted for its space. As mentioned recently in Residential Architect magazine, it will pull focus toward the center of the room as opposed to the entire space as a whole. While you want the rug to be an interesting and engaging element, you also want it to fit seamlessly with the design of the rest of the room. There can also be a more practical reason for avoiding small rugs – appropriately accommodating furniture. In dining rooms, for example, you want the rug to allow room for dining chairs. So, if you had an 8' x 3' table to fit in the previously mentioned designs' dining room you would want a rug that was at least 10' x 5' so that chair legs won't scrape hardwood floors. Also, as a general rule of thumb, you will want rugs to cover the entire floor space underneath a piece of furniture and not just part.
Steer clear of big
However, rugs that are too big should also be avoided. According to HGTV, a rug should be 2 feet shorter than the room's smallest wall. Hall rugs, too, should have at least 6 inches of exposure from every wall. Having rugs any larger than these relative dimensions turns the exposed strip of floor into a distinct visual element, akin to a racing stripe along the sides of your walls. It can also give the impression that you mistakenly bought a rug that was too small to achieve wall-to-wall floor covering. Keep the dimensions significantly short of the wall and the size of the rug will appear intentional. In the great room of this design, for instance, the largest dimension of the carpet should exceed no more than about 18 feet at its largest dimension. Also, remember to fit the rug to the dimension of the room, so that if it is long and narrow, the carpet mimics the proportion.
You also have your pick of materials when it comes to rugs. Every material from wool to bamboo has its own characteristics beyond just how it feels underfoot. Fabrics interact with light in their own ways. They also have varying levels of durability and convenience when it comes to cleaning. Smooth and sleek silk often comes with a soft but rich sheen that lets light play off of it. Silk is also costly and hard to clean. Wool is often thicker and very soft. It also absorbs more light. Bamboo is obviously harder than these materials and reflects light easily. When it comes to our example floor plan, note the cozy ambience created by the stone arches, walls and fireplaces, as well as the exposed ceiling beams and the strong shadows cast by uplighting and lamps. Bamboo would feel out of place in this home. Thicker, more sumptuous rugs that further dampen the light or refract it in interesting ways better play into the feel of the space. Silk or wool rugs may be the best material options in this home.
Claw-footed tubs, also known as freestanding tubs, can add a touch of sophistication and aged elegance to even the newest of homes. Yet, you'll want to give some serious consideration to their practicality and design before installing one.
These tubs are so named because they are elevated off the ground by four small feet. The fact that they are freestanding makes them a distinct design element in your bathroom. The feet are often carved and gilded, adding an ornate flourish to the tub. They would also look just as fitting in country house plans as they would in luxury homes. They're also often rather deep, making them perfect for long, relaxed soaks.
However, the freestanding tub can also take up considerable space, and they require extra precautions on the part of bathers. Because they often sit highly and have a thin lip, getting in and out of them can be difficult for children and the elderly. As such, you'll probably want to keep claw-footed tubs for master bedrooms.
Also, for safety concerns, it can be a good idea to give generous space around a claw-footed tub. So, while some smaller house plans can technically fit this kind of tub, it's probably best used in baths with plenty of room, such as the one featured in HHF-8292.
Homeowners often choose paint to add color and character to a room. However, not to be forgotten is wallpaper. Depending on your floor plans and your personal tastes, it may be worth hanging up the paint brush in favor of a pair of scissors. Here are the pros and cons of papering your walls:
Wallpaper is usually more expensive than paint in terms of initial cost, but it also affords homeowners a greater range of decoration that may not be achievable with paint. While paint is usually applied as solid colors or simple geometric designs such as stripes, wallpaper can come in intricate patterns simply not feasible with the drippy stuff. Ornate wallpaper may look great in homes based on country house plans, where flourished pattern could lend to the ambience. The plan in this home could easily be spruced up with some ornament.
Another benefit of wallpaper is the ease of application. While it may require some finesse to perfectly align the paper on the wall, it is a lot cleaner to apply than paint.
The major downside to wallpaper is its longevity. While putting it up can be somewhat difficult, taking it down is even more of a chore. Paint, conversely, while more messy, is easy to cover up and redo. Also, wallpaper can start to peel or bubble in humid climates. This isn't as big of a problem as long as a home is air-conditioned, but should your HVAC break once, moisture in the air could wreak havoc on the walls.
A final consideration is taste. You should pick your wall decorations based on your own personal preferences, but you should also take into consideration design trends. Often, people find themselves liking what's currently in vogue, only to find that a particular design choice has fallen out of fashion years later. This may not be a problem in terms of appealing to your own tastes, but you may find it more difficult to match furniture and other decorations down the line to outdated patterns. Wallpaper is a commitment.
You may want to consider wall paper if you would like particularly detailed wall decorations and are happy to live with your decisions for a long time afterward. However, if you are prefer more solid wall colors and are liable to change your mind frequently, then paint is probably the better choice.If you think you fall somewhere in between, you can always accent one wall with wallpaper.
Often when people want to decorate a room, they focus on large-scale design choices, such as floor plans, color palettes and furnishings. Yet, trim work can also play a significant role in defining the character of a space as those other considerations.
The importance of trim
Trim is the finishing decoration that usually lines the edges of a room, including doors, windows, ceilings and floors. Often, trim is made of wood or polyurethane, and can have varying degrees of width. Trim can be as basic as a thin piece of rounded wood no bigger than a quarter of an inch thick running alongside the edges of the floor. It can also be incredibly ornate, with intricate repeating patterns cut into a crown molding that fits along the edges of a ceiling.
The presence of trim can help emphasize the elements of a room, such as doors and windows, and it can also break up the visual impact of a blank wall. Some homes will have trim running alongside the walls of a room at about waist height to add some texture. Others will keep the trim as minimal as possible, making a space feel more stark and uninterrupted. Whether you're working with luxury house plans or smaller house plans, trim can serve as an elegant detail that helps tie a room together.
Besides choosing how much trim to have, homeowners should also give consideration to the style of trim they want. While it won't define a space on its own, trim will often act as an important extension of the rest of the house's style. If a home is more neocolonial, such as the design in HHF-5989, then the trim should match this aesthetic. More modern, minimalist homes may want for sharper, cleaner trim.
Choosing among green home plans isn't just a design decision – it's a lifestyle choice. Homeowners who want to live in a green, energy efficient home may also want to consider how recycling fits into their overall designs. While some people balk at the hassle that comes with recycling, it can easily be incorporated into a home's daily chores with some simple planning. Here's how:
Start with the kitchen
Most of your waste, whether it's food, wrappers, cans or grocery bags, will likely find its way into your kitchen. As such, the kitchen is the best place to begin your recycling plan. You may want to promote and simplify recycling in your household by working recycling into your kitchen work triangle.
The kitchen triangle refers to the imaginary lines drawn between some of the kitchen's most important utilities and appliances, namely, the refrigerator, the sink and the stove top. Good kitchen triangles maximize the efficiency of kitchen work by providing easy access to these appliances without getting too cluttered. The trash can isn't technically part of the triangle, but its placement can make a huge difference in keeping a kitchen clean and organized. To better incorporate recycling, homeowners can make recycling bins another, unofficial point in their kitchen geometry.
Drawers in the kitchen can be converted into mini-recycling centers. Homeowners can put the necessary bins in pull-out drawers next to the sink, so that as food wrappers and cans are opened, they can immediately be rinsed and recycled. The bins can also be color coordinated to make sorting easy and intuitive for everyone in the family. It's also important to make sure that the bins are not more difficult to access than the trash can, so that family members don't fall in the habit of throwing recycling in the trash because it's easier. Floor plan HHF-1895 already outlines an efficient kitchen triangle, and a recycling center could easily be incorporated underneath the sink or by the stove top.
Establish a garage space
Once your kitchen recycling bins are set up, you'll want to have an organized space to sort that recycling throughout the week. The garage is the obvious choice for most families, as there is usually enough storage space there and the recycling won't be exposed to the elements.
Make your recycling center easy to access and simple to understand. Have separate, clearly marked bins for each kind of recycling. To make sorting a cinch, coordinate the colors of the kitchen and garage bins – recycling will only be a matter of matching yellow with yellow or red with red. Also, make sure there is a clear walking path to the recycling center. Don't put it in a place that's easily blocked by cars, gardening supplies or other garage clutter. For the HHF-1895 floor plan, the best place to put the recycling would probably be the right-side wall immediately adjacent to the utility room's door. If floor space is limited, you can even mount bins on the wall. You'll also want an easy path from the recycling center to the outside, so that putting recycling curbside isn't a struggle.