To create, or not to create, your own floorplan

Buying a new home and not sure whether to create your own floorplan or follow the one the builder provides?

I have never been a fan of painting by numbers, so it’s logical to assume I have different ideas about how a new house should be laid out when designating function and furniture placement. Although you fell in love with your new space as soon as you saw the model and its flashy furniture, this doesn’t mean you can’t break the mold!

When an architect designs a new house or condo, they determine the purpose of each room and record this information on the floorplan. But once you have taken possession of your new home, room allocation is left to your discretion meaning sometimes you have to examine what makes sense for your lifestyle and your furniture choices regardless of the original floorplan.

It’s key to note that if the floorplan doesn’t work for your way of life, don’t stick to it! One of the common changes we make in our clients’ homes is flipping the location of living and dining rooms. For many people they don’t use their dining room regularly so it doesn’t have to be as close to the kitchen as once assumed. Nowadays people sit at a breakfast bar or even on the living room furniture to eat and the dining table is used only for special occasions. With this change in lifestyle, the table need not have pride-of-place, but rather is nearby when needed.

Room designed by Jane Lockhart. Photo: Gillian Jackson ( courtesy Kylemore Communities (

Room designed by Jane Lockhart ( Photo: Gillian Jackson ( courtesy Kylemore Communities (

Another alteration we often make is re-utilizing a separate dining space as an office instead. This provides an active family a place to set up the kids’ computer, file important documents and install a desk or workstations for homework. With French doors often part of the original dining room plans, this provides noise reduction and privacy when needed for office use. For many families, the kitchen becomes the main eating area so the dining room is excess.

Finding small nooks or unused areas of floorplans can provide excellent locations to include a small dressing area, a computer desk or even an additional closet. This is particularly true in condos where built-in niches provide excellent storage often not fully used, particularly when space is at a premium. In houses, adding additional kitchen cabinets to an empty wall can better utilize the space and allow for a pantry, broom storage, a desk area or even a built-in eating bench with storage below.

Other examples of simple changes in floorplans can be the inclusion or exclusion of full or half walls (as long as they are not weight bearing), additional closets and the placement of kitchen appliances. But remember, any large change that actually alters the structure of the floorplan will be open to builder charges so consider what makes sense for you and your family.

Bottom line: Altering the use of a room or space to better reflect the needs of your lifestyle or departing from the suggested furniture layout will make your home more personal and better utilize your financial investment as you use the your home more effectively.

Main photo: John Heineman Photography ( courtesy of Sorbara Group of Companies (


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