Remodeling your home’s floor plan is exciting and fun, but can also seem like a scary and overwhelming adventure. It usually means knocking down a few walls and shifting things around, but the results can be amazing if you take some time to plan and think about how to create a space that works for you and your family.
When I first decided to take on this huge 1987 Fixer Upper remodel, I knew that priority number one was to open up the dated floor plan as much as possible and reconfigure the space to work better for our family. Having never lived in the house, I have had to really do my best to envision how we will use each of the rooms and design them accordingly. With the removal of a few walls, and moving a few others to new spots, we now have a bright, open, modern floor plan that flows well and is very user friendly for our family.
So, how do you remodel your home’s floor plan without a design degree and the help of an architect? Here are a few tips to help you get started making an older home feel new.
First, ask yourself what purpose each room will serve. Would you use a room strictly for receiving guests and chatting? Do you like to host big dinners? If so, maybe a larger dining room is in your plan. Do you prefer to have football parties? A larger, more casual kitchen/family room combination space might work best for you. I wanted more of a traditional floor plan, which is why I liked this 1987 house. I love a living room/dining room combination and a large kitchen/family room, but I like the kitchen and family room to be separated from the living/dining rather than a giant great room which is more on trend right now. One area for more formal gatherings and one for all of the casual parties we like to throw. In this house the living room was blocked from the dining room with a set of french doors. We removed those doors and opened up the entryway to combine the two rooms and make a larger space. There is still a little definition, but it feels SO much more open and has really improved the flow.
The dining/living room before:
and the new dining room/living room layout:
The kitchen, nook and family room were also divided with a wall. It really blocked the light and made the space feel choppy. Here is the original layout:
and the new floor plan design:
Whatever works best for your lifestyle, plan your rooms accordingly.
Next, think about flow. How will you move around in the space? Where are your main access points? After you decide how you will use each room, try and think about where your furniture will be laid out in each of the rooms. What will your traffic patterns be? Do they make sense? Do you have a wall where you are going to want to put a TV? Will your couch be in the way of the main traffic pattern? As I designed the family room I knew I wanted to add windows and take down that wall that was dividing the kitchen from the family room. I also knew that the door to the backyard would be moving along the back wall. Envisioning our current sectional in the space I know that it will not work in this new family room because it will create the feeling of cutting the room in two and blocking a traffic thoroughfare. That means a new couch has to fit in the budget. It’s important to think of these kinds of things when remodeling your home’s floor plan so that there aren’t budgetary surprises like new furniture at the end.
Tape, spray paint and visual aids are your friend! I don’t know about you guys, but I am a total visual person. I need to see things to know if they are going to work. I need to be able to walk around and feel that flow that we just talked about above. One area of concern I’ve been having in our new kitchen is the size of the island. The funny thing about this new house is that the overall square footage is more than 3 times the size of our CA home, and yet the kitchen is actually smaller than the kitchen we have in that house. Crazy, right? Well, maybe not technically smaller, but the shape of it doesn’t allow for an island as big as the one we have had. I am actually losing over a foot in length and a foot in depth…I LOVE a huge island, so losing that is painful! 😉 The area in between our new pantry wall and the island is kind of tight and I wanted to maximize the island size, but make sure the walkway was still sufficient, so, what did we do? We spray painted and used frog tape to outline the entire kitchen layout on the sub floor and walls, and then nailed a 2×4 into the point where the island would jut out by the pantry so that we could get used to having something there and walking around it to actually feel the flow. (in this picture you can actually see the kitchen table and fireplace spray painted on the floor and walls too to help us visualize sizes) For the last few weeks we have been wandering through the kitchen with the post there and it’s worked wonderfully. That way I know the island size will be perfect.
With a little patience and some planning remodeling your home’s floor plan can be done pretty easily without the help of an architect. No one knows how you use the space better than you do, so just be thoughtful and take your time. Don’t rush in to knocking down a wall (even though it’s really fun!) just to get a project started. Take the time to plan and prepare and you will be much more successful in remodeling your home’s floor plan to be something that will be useful for you.
I can’t wait to decorate these rooms! Here are some of the things I’m considering for these rooms. What are your favorites? I am in LOVE with that oven!!!
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