4 Steps for Planning and Designing Your New Home

You have the land purchased and you’re ready to build your new home. What next? When it comes to planning and designing your new home, knowing where to start can be overwhelming. By following these 4 steps to help you get started with the process, you can make the vision that you have for your new home become a reality.

1. How to Get Started.

How do you take all of those things you’ve always wanted in your home and have them incorporated into the building of your new house? Researching and brainstorming the essential characteristics you want in your new home is the beginning point. Here are some basic research elements to consider:

  • Photos and clippings of home designs that catch your eye.
  • Sample floor plans with the features that you want to change or add.
  • Dimensions of essential features such as; fireplaces, kitchen fixtures, special furniture, rooms or equipment.
  • An understanding of your building budget.

If you know what you want, it makes it a great deal easier to communicate those needs with your designer and ultimately the builder to help avoid confusion during the building process.

2. Creating a Basic Floor Plan.

To create a basic floor plan, you have to know what space you want and need and what dimensions you want each of those spaces to have. One of the best ways to come up with a rough floor plan is to take one or two of the home designs that you like and find the floor plan that matches it.

Taking a piece of poster board or cardboard, begin by laying out the front wall line that matches an elevation design that you like. Because the front elevation of your house will change in accordance with what you do with the floor plan, it is essential that you do as little as possible to change that wall line.

Make photo copies of the plans you researched and then cut out the rooms and features that you want to incorporate into your new home. Pick the top three or four features and arrange them before arranging lower priority elements around them. Start moving them around in an arrangement that suits how you envision the space being used in your new home. Stick them in place with double sided tape.

Try to incorporate features that are going to require plumbing or special mechanical space near each other to simplify the mechanical layout and, consequently, the cost of building your home. This also maximizes your actual living space.

3. Front Elevation.

The front elevation of a house is what people will see as they drive by or as they walk up to your front door and ring the doorbell. This element of your home design is as essential as the floor plan when considering the finished product. If you have remained true with the front wall of your floor design, then it should, generally, match that design.

You can do the same thing with the elevation as you did with the floor plan, by making a photo copy of the elevation and then taping other features that you like onto it.

To get a true picture of your home design and to transform that vision into a set of plans that can be used for construction, you are going to have to take what you have to a designer.

4. Selecting a Designer.

With your ideas pulled together, you need to select someone to help you put those ideas into a set of plans for a builder. A knowledgeable designer at this stage can save you a lot of headaches in the long run. A knowledgeable designer must know how to:

  • Estimate the square footage costs of the design you would like to build for your area.
  • Get the best usage of space in each room of your home.
  • Arrange special features in order to make them work in the construction process.
  • Follow local codes and regulations and explain how they are going to affect the construction of your home and its costs.
  • Communicate your wants and needs with the person who actually builds the home.

Many builders are also designers or have designers on their staff who are specially qualified in all of the above areas. In cases where you work with an independent designer make certain that your desires are clearly and specifically spelled out in the building plans.


By making use of these 4 steps to plan and design your new home, you can better communicate to your designer and ultimately your builder exactly what you want and need to have featured in your home. Having a good idea what you want before consulting with your designer can help make the vision for your new home become reality.