Harmonious Floor Plans Make for a Happy Family

Charter Group is famous for their Great Room / Kitchen floorplans.

It Just Feels Right

Have you ever walked through someone’s home and gotten the sense that everything just feels right, yet you’re uncertain why it feels that way? It’s true, some homeowners just know how to buy furniture, place window dressings and position each and every accessory in the perfect spot. But the fact remains that if the living, working, bath and sleeping areas within a home do not interact properly, no amount of expensive decor will give a home the friendly, functional feel that will create the harmonious environment so important for you and your family.

Feng Shui, the ancient Chinese system of aesthetics, seems a bit mystical to me, but there is one aspect that makes sense. According to this age-old philosophy, the placement of everything from the front door to the toilet plays a part in our overall well being. In other words, the layout and flow of the house affects the positive energy within it, and as we try to raise happy and healthy families, a well thought-out floor plan is a great way to begin.

The Kitchen, The Hub of the Home

For many of today’s families, the kitchen is the hub of the home—a work area, social area and primary space of family interaction. Open planning enables a kitchen to fulfill all those roles, but it requires careful design to include sufficient storage, work areas and clearances for functional purposes.

I personally like homes in which my family can hang out within view of the kitchen, especially when someone is making a meal. We have found that our kids like to be around us more when we are cooking, partially because it’s fun for them to watch us work on their behalf, but mostly because they are always hungry and the food in the oven smells so good.

More importantly, we’ve found that when we’re busy doing something, like cooking or baking, our kids become more communicative. It’s as if the pressure is off to “tell us about their day” and they can just be themselves. Anyone who has tweenies or teenagers knows how important this is. A home layout that facilitates communication is your best friend when it comes to raising healthy and happy children and is key to a good marriage, as well.

Quiet Time is a Must

A family-friendly, functional and adaptable floor plan will give you and your family room to breathe, room to work, room to play and the potential to expand. Adaptable spaces reduce waste and can save time and trouble. A floor plan with enclosed, single-purpose rooms is far less adaptable to changing household needs, sizes and functions than is an open-space plan.

But let’s not forget about privacy and the need to have a place to go to think, read a good book or get away from the daily hubbub. What are the best places to do homework, pay bills, use a computer, watch TV, etc.? A flexible space where family members can spend quiet time or perform tasks that require some concentration must also be available, and this space should not be located too close to the core family living area. Consider sound privacy in space arrangements. Try to arrange closets as sound buffers, or add sound-reduction insulation between quiet and noisy rooms.

At Some Point, You’ll Need More Storage Than You Need Right Now

And storage! There can never be enough storage space! Planning for adequate storage in each room reduces clutter and makes rooms seem larger. Evaluate both your current and future needs and provide for both. Include counter and cabinet space at the family entrance for recharging electronics, mail, shoes, coats, sports gear, backpacks, purses, etc. Include outdoor storage and security plans for outdoor items during a storm and for security.

The Grid is Everything

Traffic flow, or the patterns of movement throughout the house, is critical as well. Will traffic paths interfere with activities or furniture? Is it more convenient for you to tend laundry near the bedrooms or the kitchen? In a two-story home, consider having at least one bedroom and the master bedroom on the same level. This makes the home more adaptable to changing needs and creates less of a burden when care-giving is needed (for a young child, aging parent, injured family member, etc.)

Also, when shopping for a new home, make sure the bathrooms are not afterthoughts, and are placed within discreet distance of any gathering areas in the house. Don’t make do. Make sure your new home has a place for each individual, and a place for everyone! Even the dog!

My next blog will be about built-ins, including cabinetry, shelving, pet areas, bath vanities, and home entertainment centers. Learn how to make sure your family will LOVE being home.

Tell us what you think makes for a harmonious floor plan, leave a comment below.

All the Best,
Steve Rodgers
Charter Group

Comments (1)

KatrinaJuly 23rd, 2010 at 7:56 pm

My dream floorplan would include lots of public spaces for parties and family and small, several cozy areas of private space very close by. I really love the lsyout in the photo you published on your blog, Nice job!

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