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Two Red Flags That Your Floor Plan Is Poorly Designed

Two Red Flags That Your Floor Plan Is Poorly Designed

We have a real educational guest post for you this week, from my good friend Amelia, the Undercover Architect. Amelia is the architect behind the Undercover Architect. Undercover Architect operates mainly online to help homeowners (especially women) design and plan their future new homes and renovations. Think of it as your secret ally in getting it right, and saving time, money and stress – whoever you’re working with to make your home happen.


Two Red Flags That Your Floor Plan Is Poorly Designed

One of the fantastic things about Undercover Architect is that I get to see lots of lots of people’s floor plans for their new homes and for their renovations.

And in fact, more so than any other point in my 20 (plus) year career, I get to speak to, see and help lots of homeowners get better results for those floor plan designs.

This means that I get to see a lot of really poorly designed floor plans come across my desk.


So how do you know if your floor plan is poorly designed? Well, when I review a floor plan, I look for two things first. The absence of these two things is consistently a sign of poor floor plan design.


What are those two red flags? I’d love to share them with you!


Red flag #1 – No north point shown on the drawings


The first thing that I see consistently in floor plans that are poorly designed is that there is no north point shown on the drawing.


In Australia, standard drafting convention dictates that drawings should include a north point somewhere on the page.


So, the sun rises in the east, sets in the west and in the southern hemisphere, it moves through the north. Understanding how this happens at your place, is the first step in creating a design that will capitalise on the movement of the sun to make your home feel great, as well as minimise heating and cooling costs for your home.


Generally what I find is that if the north point isn’t there, then the floor plan hasn’t been designed to make the most of the site or orientation.


This may sound like a sweeping generalisation, but the more drawings I see without a north-point on them, the more this proves to be true.


So when you receive drawings from your designer or draftsperson, check that the north-point is on the drawings.


Red flag #2 – No furniture drawn in the floor plans


The second thing that I see is consistent with floor plans that are poorly designed is that they don’t have furniture drawn on them.


When I design a floor plan, I draw furniture on it, to scale, to show homeowners how they can furnish those rooms and how the floor plan will work. It’s the simplest and most transparent way to test and see how movement through the home will work, and that circulation and sight lines through the house aren’t compromised by awkwardly furnished spaces and rooms.


Furniture arrangement and positioning is also important for seeing how doors are going to open, how connection from inside to outside is going to work, and functionally, how things are all going to happen seamlessly in your home without you having to squeeze and move around furniture to make it work.


What’s interesting is that when I get clients to actually request their designer put furniture on their floor plans, it shows up immediately with things are not working well.


The furniture needs to be accurately sized however! One of the oldest tricks is to draw small furniture – for example a bed drawn at a smaller size immediately makes a bedroom look a lot larger than it actually is.


If there’s no furniture on your plans, make paper cut outs of your furniture at the same scale as your drawings. Stick it on, and rearrange it. This will help you see really quickly and easily where your floor plan is not working and the problem spots you’ve got to solve.


So those two red flags for poorly designed floor plans again:

  1. Look for a north-point on your drawings
  2. Make sure your floor plan is furnished with accurately sized furniture.


Make sure you look for these two red flags into account when reviewing your floor plan design, and you should get some great indications early on for how well your design is going to work as a finished home.

Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with our readers Amelia. If you would like to tap further into the comprehensive intellegence of the Undercover Architect, you can find Amelia on the Web, Facebook, Instagram or via Email [email protected]






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1 Comment  

  1. Thanks Amelia! This is really helpful, especially having the furniture drawn in. Our current plans have this and the 3D model really helps too, but we have been caught out in the past with a small living room that could barley fit a 3 seater lounge!

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