How to choose a house floor plan

by | Mar 23, 2023 | Floor plans, Home design, ultimate guide

So you’ve decided it’s time to take the exciting (and nerve-wracking) step to build a new home. One of the first big steps you’ll need to take before any building can start is deciding on your floor plan. A floor plan is the house design, a blueprint of your future home, that will specify how everything will come together. But where do you start? Firstly, you’ll need a basic idea of what you’re after before looking at home designs. Today we’re laying out all you need to know about how to choose a house floor plan. We’ll be covering important considerations like:

  • The size of the house and block of land and how one influences the other.
  • Budget.
  • Lifestyle needs.
  • Dream home features
  • Practical considerations.
How to choose a house floor plan

What are the different floor plan options?

Single Storey

By far the most common design on the market, a single-storey design is pretty much what it says on the label. Without the structural concerns that come with a multi-storey house, the floorplans for a single-storey house are very flexible. The most affordable options on the market are single-storey houses, making them perfect for first-home buyers and anyone on a tighter budget.

Double Storey

With lots of land becoming smaller and smaller, new homeowners are turning to double-storey designs as a way to still build spacious homes. Ideal for narrow lots and for family living, double-storey homes also offer flexibility with room placement and an impressive street presence.

Split-Level Homes

A split-level design is a house that has multiple staggered floors. Split-Level Homes are a great idea for sloping blocks, and their unique design works with uneven terrain, which could save you thousands in excavation costs.

Open Floor Plans

Even if you haven’t heard the term before, you’ve more than likely been in a house with an open house plan, especially if you’ve spent any time in Australia. Open floor plans are a house design where at least two rooms that would traditionally be separated are conjoined. For example, the kitchen, dining room and living space are all part of one large area rather than separated into individual rooms. This has become the dominant design in Australia because of it:

  • allows for better ventilation
  • creates a sense of openness
  • makes the smaller houses feel larger
  • improves how the home flows, improving sociability and communication in the house
  • tends to add value to the house
  • provides flexibility with the layout
  • creates an environment where it’s easier to watch the kids

Custom Design Homes

Do you have a specific vision in mind that none of the pre-existing designs quite cover? Perhaps you or a loved one needs extra support in the way of ramps and railings. Maybe you’re just someone who knows what they want and loves to be involved in all the details.

Custom builds allow more flexibility with designs and material choices. In an industry where builders often hold all the cards, a custom build can help give more control to the consumer. It should be noted they’re more expensive on the whole and can make an already overwhelming process more so.

Key considerations to choosing a floor plan for your new home

A floor plan involves a lot of smaller decisions and factors you need to consider. We’ll spare you the suspense: you won’t come up with the perfect floor plan instantly. There will be a lot of changes and things you’re on the fence about along the way, but that’s all just part of the process. To help you with it all, here are just some of the things you’ll need to think about for your floor plan.

Your budget

The first step, and the one that will have the biggest influence, is knowing how much money you have to spend. The number one cause of problems during a build is money issues, so it’s vital you’re honest and realistic about your finances. Talk to financial advisors and investigate what types of loans, incentives and grants can get. Keep in mind outside expenses, such as accommodation during the build.

Unfortunately, buidling is notorious for cost blow-outs and extra expenses. Typically, it’s recommended you aim to have 10-25% more than you think you’ll need for your build. This will help cover any unexpected costs, and provide a buffer zone.

Size of your new home

How big a house do you need? It’s a question that is deceptively simple on the surface but can cause a few headaches for people. There are pros and cons to both larger and smaller homes. Bigger homes have more space, but with that comes a lot more maintenance. A family will need enough room to live comfortably, but it’s also to factor in the future. For example, will your family have any new members down the line? How long will your current children likely live with you before you move out? These are all things that will help determine what the right size house is for you.

One of the most common mistakes we find people make is they didn’t allow for enough space in their house plan. You can’t plan for everything, but taking into account both your short and long-term needs will go a long way to creating perfect house plans.

Shape and size of your block

Along with your finances, your block of land will have a huge role in defining your floor plan for obvious reasons. The key is to know what you want and work out how to achieve it on the property you have. For example, if you have a narrow block but want a larger home, a two-storey house plan is an ideal solution.

Sloping blocks or unusual shape blocks will also require some ingenuity and creativity, but it’s certainly not impossible to build quality homes on either. Excavation, supporting walls or Split-level designs are just some of the solutions avaliable.


You’re building a home from scratch, and it’s where you’ll spend most of your time, so consider what will best suit your lifestyle. For example, do you entertain a lot? A spacious dining room and alfresco could be great inclusions for the social butterflies among us. If you’re someone who has a lot of guests or relatives staying the night (or children who never quite seem to move out for long) you’ll need a guest room or somewhere for them to stay.

If you work from home, you’ll need your own private space, so consider what would make the best work environment for you. This will include location in the house, features in the room itself, and size.

This applies to everything in your home, from how many cars you need in your attached garage to your house, to whether stairs are a viable option if you have mobility issues or small children.

Interior and Architectural Style

There is a range of styles of home building design. If you live in the country, a farm-style home or an acreage home will provide that rural feel. Living near the beach? A Hamptons home will capture that relaxed, coastal vibe. Whether you’re after a cutting-edge modern design, or something more traditional, it’ll play a part in your floor plan and which builder will best serve you.

Certain styles of house will suit certain areas better and it’s worth keeping this in mind if you may resell down the line. An acreage house can be beautiful when surrounded by a lot of property and nature, but it will look odd on a smaller block in the city. Your house should suit its environment and vice-versa, for better comfort, curb appeal and resale value down the line.

Dream features

What are the dream features you want in a home? Perhaps it’s a swimming pool, a games room, a home cinema, or a kitchen Gordon Ramsay would be happy to cook in. When coming up with your floor plan, now is the time to work out how these features will work in the overall layout. So whether it’s a verandah to drink in that gorgeous view or a library area for all your favourites, these are all things to consider at the design stage.

We can all fall into the trap of liking the idea of something without considering the practical side of it. For example, you may love the look of a pool, but if you’re only going to use it once or twice a year, it’s time to start weighing up whether both the initial and ongoing costs are worth it. If you have an active family and love get-togethers, then the pool suddenly seems like a more reasonable investment. Some dreams are meant to come to fruition while others might not live up to the hype, so consider this when designing your floor plan.

Think practical

It’s easy to get carried away with luxuries and big ambitions, but it’s important to take care of the basics. Your house needs to be a functional space that works for your everyday life. Have a careful think about the following points:

  • What’s an absolute necessity? What are the non-negotiables, like the number of bedrooms, required space, etc?
  • Who else is living in the house? Are there needs/desires your spouse or family has that the house will need to meet?
  • Do your plans meet all building codes, local council guidelines and the requirements of other relevant authorities?
  • Where is the best placement for rooms, such as bedrooms, kitchen etc?
  • What can you realistically achieve with your budget?

These choices will be the backbone of your design and should be your priority, especially if your budget gets tight and you need to make changes.

If this isn’t your forever home, or there’s a chance you’ll upgrade or downgrade in the future, consider what will add value to your home. Some design choices are more universally popular than others. Talk to us about what adds value to a home and what will be more of an acquired taste.

Get free advice from an experienced building broker

Need help finding the right floor plan for you and your family? Buildi is here to help. We’re a building broker who will be on your side through the entire home-building process. We’ll take your proposal to our panel of builders and have them bid for your business. At Buildi, we’re all about giving power back to the consumer, so get in touch today to find out more!

Book your free, impartial consultation today!


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Building a Home

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Building a Home

Knockdown Rebuild

Home designs

Advice & inspiration