I’ve drawn up a floor plan for the last few houses we’ve lived in, usually before we’ve moved in. They’re great for getting an idea of what will fit and how layouts might work before you start shifting furniture around. You can accurately measure square footage this way, and it’s interesting to see how different houses really compare. Our current home is about 1100 square feet (102 square meters). For comparison, our previous rental was 880 sq ft, and I can tell you that extra 220 sq ft makes a big difference! I know I’ll get asked how to create a floor plan, and I use FloorPlanner.com. It’s free and it’s really easy to use. Here’s our current home’s floor plan.
The furnishings shown above are pretty much accurate as of right now, with a few tweaks to the living room based on how I’m hoping to squeeze in a better work space for J. It works fine as-is. But I’m constantly imagining what I’d do if we actually owned the home we live in, and how we could make the floor plan work better for us.
There are a few things that I’d love to fix. They all stem largely from the living room, which is long and narrow, and quite dark. It feels cramped because it has too many functions squeezed into one space. We use it as a living room, dining room, office, occasional guest room and storage for tools, cleaning supplies, wellies and winter accessories and other household stuff. So, how would I fix it? Let’s start at the top…
Downstairs is where it gets really exciting. This is where I’d address the rest of the current short-comings. There’s nothing wrong with the house as it is now – it’s a nice house and I’m very grateful for it. When I say “short-comings,” I’m really just talking about how it functions for our particular family of four (plus woofter). So to recap, the issues for us are:
- We have guests to stay frequently, and we’re still missing a proper guest bedroom.
- There’s no bathroom on the ground floor.
- The living room is quite dark.
- The entryway feels cramped, especially when all of us are trying to get in or out at the same time.
- Although we can carve out two workspaces, there is still no dedicated office.
- Our garden, while lovely, is small. It’s lawned, which isn’t super practical, and as a result we don’t use it as much as we could.
I’d love to add an extension and re-jig the existing spaces. We could stick another box on the back of the living room, but it’s already long and narrow, and it doesn’t need to be any bigger. Instead, I’d build an enclosed walk way to a modestly sized bonus room at the bottom of the garden. Built-in storage on one wall with a little bench in the middle would negate the need for storage in the living room or under the stairs, so that whole area could be opened up. The walk way would also provide privacy from our next door neighbours. Currently, if we’re both in the garden, we’re very visible to each other and it’s a little awkward.
The bonus room at the bottom of the garden could house a Murphy bed for when we have guests. It could also double as a private office for any of us to use when needed. It’s got its own teeny but efficient bathroom and a separate entrance, so we could even use this as an Air B’n’B and maintain our privacy in the rest of the house. There’s no option to add a Murphy bed in the software I used, but you get the idea.