How Not to Buy a Home with a Bad Layout Design

home with an awkward layout

There are many ways to adjust a new house to make it feel more like your home – new curtains, your own furniture, a fresh coat of paint. If there are things you really don’t like, you can even renovate. The one thing that you should never look past is a bad house layout design. It is extremely difficult, sometimes even impossible, to change the house layout and you will be stuck with this setup. While you can become accustomed to any home layout and will eventually get used to it, if you are buying a new home there are a range of things you should look out for to ensure you avoid this problem.

Common Problems with House Layouts Every Buyer Should Be Aware Of

Absence of a master suite

A master suite is a non-negotiable in any modern home. For buyers, it is an expected feature and the lack of one significantly decreases the value of the house. Even if you are looking at buying a small home, ensure there is a master suite complete with an attached bathroom. If you fall in love with a home that doesn’t have one, at least make sure that it is possible to put in a bathroom directly off the room. Consider these tips and try to visualize what your new master suite could look like.

Bedrooms that are adjoining

Nobody wants to have to walk through somebody else’s bedroom to get to their own. Even if you have young children and don’t consider adjoining rooms to be a problem, think about when they become teenagers. Everyone deserves their own privacy and adjoining rooms make this difficult. Some adjoining rooms each have their own separate entrance, however the middle door can become a problem if there are unwanted intrusions.

Bedrooms directly off the living area

A bedroom should be a place for an individual to escape and retire. This can be difficult if the room is directly off the living area where people are constantly socializing and watching television. This will simply cause unnecessary problems if somebody wants an early night but is unable to sleep from the noise happening in the living area. Avoid houses with this house layout as they are very difficult to change. Check out some houses with good layouts at Charm City Property Solutions.

15 FAQs to Help You Spot a Poor House Layout Design

Looking for a new house is all nice and fun, but it can quickly become stressful, especially when you don’t know what you’re looking for. Sure, you want to stay in the budget and have a spacious backyard, but do you know how the layout of the house to be? Do you know what you need and work for your family the most?

All of a sudden, buying a house doesn’t seem that easy anymore. Therefore, a set of FAQs will take a lot of weight for the selection process.

1.      Is the floor plan a good match for your lifestyle?

One of the most common mistakes when selecting the right floor plan is that you don’t imagine how you’re going to cook in the kitchen or how having three stories is going to kill your back in six months.

You should consider your lifestyle when checking the floor plan in a new home. Do you like climbing up and down the stairs all day long, or a single story home fits your lifestyle better?

Think about the previous home? What did the old house have and you really loved? What didn’t you want about the layout?

2.      Are the finishes on a home fundamental?

Truth be told, it’s common for contractors to attract their clients with the most exquisite and elegant finishes- it’s a business, after all. The color-coordinated wallpaper, the thermic insulated curtains, or the beautiful carpet will impress, but does the living room works for you and your kids?

No matter how great the decorations, furniture, lighting fixture look like, try your best to only focus on the layout. Imagine the space without them and think about how it fits your lifestyle.

3.      Are you the only one not getting the floor plan drawings?

When the home you’re planning to move in isn’t ready, and you only have to take a look at the architectural drawings, don’t lose hope. Understanding the floor plan drawings comes naturally only to the professionals, and you shouldn’t feel bad when not comprehending the terminology and symbols.

You’re not supposed to know where the windows, door swing, stair, or multi-story space looks like on a floor plan.

4.      Is the size of the rooms on the floor plan the right one for you?

Checking a floor plan and realizing that your furniture isn’t going to fit in is a common situation. You should always check the dimensions of your furniture and see how it will fit in the new home.

Should the construction still allow you to make any changes to the floor plan, you can always add the numbers and see what you need.

5.      Do you like how the indoor stairway is facing the entrance?

It’s not necessarily feng shui, but having a staircase placed right in front of the entrance will make the energy escape from your home (the Chinese have taught us this one). But it depends a lot on your birth element, and the way the inside staircase is facing the entrance impacts people differently.

In reality, having the stairway as you’re entering the home may be intimidating to some people and even confrontational. Go with stairs that are wide, curved, and off to the side for a more appealing appearance.

6.      How is the hallway supposed to face the entrance?

Entrances are essential as they create the chance of the first impression. Many buyers make up their minds from the moment they enter a home. Walking the entrance door helps people have a bad or good feeling about a house.

Dark, narrow, and long hallways throw buyers off, especially if the only view from the entryway is the hallway. Don’t go for a house that comes with a living room to the left, bedrooms along halls, and dining oom to the right. It’s not a good design if the kitchen at the back of the house either, as it eliminates the cozy feel that kitchens are supposed to provide.

7.      Does the house have the dining room right in the center?

Some houses let you walk through the living room, leading you to the dining room. Should you want to get to the kitchen or bedrooms, you would have to go through the dining room since every room is linked somehow to the dining room.

Therefore, you will need to go around the dining room to access any other place in the house. There is no easy or straightforward access to other spaces. Is this how you want it to be in your house?

8.      Do you like the idea of connected bedrooms?

It’s common for real estate agents to advertise adjoined bedrooms as two or even three bedrooms. Also, if it’s only for privacy reasons, not many buyers like having shared entrance to the bedrooms.

9.      Are the bedrooms situated off the dining/living room?

You should look for a house with a bedroom room that leads right from a place where the family members gather. It’s reducing the noise and provides privacy too.

Unless you’re a cat, you don’t want to take a look at a bed while you’re eating. Unlike our furry pets, humans don’t want to talk over the dinner why taking a look at the bedroom.

10.  How much do you like having a master suite?

It’s not mandatory, but some like to have a private bathroom connected to a bedroom, with fast access right from inside the bedroom. Some bedrooms come with a bathroom placed right outside the master bedroom, but that’s not everyone’s cup of tea.

11. Where are the guest bathrooms?

A long hallway upon entering the house isn’t the worst thing you could find in a home; a view to the toilet at the end of it is. Unfortunately, it’s rather common to find bathrooms at the end of the hall in old houses. Of course, you can always close the door to the bathroom, but that’s not very inviting.

Stay away from a house with access to the bathroom from a utility/laundry room or bedroom.

12. What’s your take on the satellite living rooms?

For this sort of layout,  you will find the living room being off to one side of the entrance, so it’s communicating only with the entrance. It’s also a typical particularity of old homes. But people aren’t comfortable when they’re not connected to the other part of the house, especially when using the living room as planned.

New home construction promotes building homes with large rooms and not living rooms.

13. Is it possible to have views from one room to another?

No matter how small the house is, when you’re able to see several rooms from a central place, the house will always seem larger. Arches and several doorways will lead to that impression too. Open spaces always give the impression of large space. You don’t even need to open the kitchen to the family areas anymore.

14. What about the safety of your kids?

We’ve heard the stories about people (fathers, mostly) falling in love with cars and coming back home only to realize that the new car is a no-go for the family of three toddlers. It’s the same with a house.

Parents know that they need to consider the safety of their kids when looking for homes. Stairs with no railings, balconies, pricey glass shower enclosures, and other cool (yet not secure) features attract adults but aren’t the safest option for families with toddlers.

15. How much money can you spend on the new house?

Many homeowners fall into temptation and buy a house thinking about how they will change the floorplan. But you should by for the present, and not for the future as you can always make changes in the next years, from anything like the finishes to the sophisticated additions.

You should always stick to your budget and get a house that fits the wallet. The last thing you want is to buy a home that is too much for your monthly financial possibilities. You can never feel comfy, and at peace, when you know, you have to cut down the spending for paying the house.


Limited views between rooms

Some rooms in a house need to be private, but if they are all isolated and closed off it will result in a claustrophobic vibe. You want a place where you can see from one room to another, giving an open, spacious feeling. There is a reason why popular house layout ideas include an open plan living and dining area. This creates a spacious vibe and allows for more light through the house.

Bad bathroom location

If you are inspecting a house, pay close attention to the bathroom location. This is a particularly important aspect of a home layout as it needs to be both private and accessible. For instance, you want your main bathroom in a place that is easy for everybody to use. If it is located up one end of the house and the bedrooms are up the other, this makes for an inconvenient bathroom trip in the middle of the night. On the other hand, if it is too close to everything it can limit privacy and make it awkward for guests. Bathrooms that are located directly off the kitchen or living area can make for especially uncomfortable situations. Avoid these awkward situations by purchasing a house with a thoughtful house layout design.

Isolated living room

A common feature of older houses, isolated living rooms do not make for an efficient house layout. Traditionally, all of the rooms in a house were kept separate and had a specific purpose. Modern house layout ideas have moved away from this, opting instead for open, multipurpose spaces. For instance, kitchen and dining areas are often combined in one space. Some modern homes even incorporate the living area in the same big room to allow for optimum socializing.

Entrance into a hallway

The entrance is often a forgotten room in the house, but first impressions should not be disregarded. An entrance that opens directly to the hallway can seem dark and claustrophobic, whereas one that opens to a formal entrance or even directly to a room can seem more inviting. Check out these stylish entrances to get an idea of what makes a good entrance.

Entrance facing staircase

An important consideration if you are into Feng Shui is the placement of the staircase. According to the ancient Chinese, a stairway that faces the entrance allows a home’s energy to escape. In an aesthetic sense, opening to a stairway doesn’t provide the best first impression. It is likely to block your view and make the space seem closed in. Entrances are better if the stairway is to one side.

Keep these factors in mind when you are looking for your new home to ensure you purchase a house with a good layout.


About Amanda

I love to buy a lot of products for the home, and dissect them out. I split them into duds and winners, and share the findings here on my site. As a reader of my site, I'm aiming for your next purchase to be an informed and inspired one.

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