If you're planning to buy or build a new home, you're sure to encounter floorplans at some stage. At first glance they can look like meaningless sets of lines, symbols and numbers.
Here are four key aspects to come to grips with.
The ability to read and interpret a floor plan isn't hard but it will help you to make an informed decision about your future home.
It's not just about being able to ‘talk the talk' with your builder or architect. Bear in mind too, the shape and layout of your home can have a significant impact on its value and market appeal. So it pays to listen to the advice of your building team if they counsel against a particular design feature.
Check out the top four features of floorplans it pays to be familiar with.
Come to grips with scale
The most important aspect of floorplans that you need to feel comfortable with is scale. All floorplans should include a legend explaining the scale – for instance, a scale of 1:100 means one centimetre on the drawing represents one metre in reality.
The trick here is that what seems like a generous space on paper can feel much smaller in real life, especially once you add furniture.
It can help to measure out the internal dimensions of each room so you know exactly what, say, a 4-metre by 5-metre bedroom feels like. Consider too whether each room allows sufficient space for your furniture, remembering to allow space for doors to open.
Let there be light
Interior light and air flow are critical aspects of modern home design. Floorplans will show doors or windows as breaks in walls with a curved arc representing the direction a door opens. Consider your home's aspect to understand how the placement of windows will capture sunlight and look for doorways that will allow cross-ventilation.
Are fittings conveniently situated?
Two areas worth special attention are the kitchen and bathroom, which typically feature more permanent fittings than other rooms. Fixtures like sinks, toilets, stoves and cupboards are easy to pick on a floorplan. They're represented as though you are looking down on them from above – much as they'd appear if you were looking down on a doll's house.
Be sure the layout of these rooms works on a practical level. Fridge space for instance should be set away from the stove. Toilets situated too close to a door, wall or vanity unit can be awkward to use.
Keep stairs safe
You'll see stairs represented on a floorplan by a series of unfilled rectangles. Check that stairs are conveniently located to allow through traffic while being wide enough to accommodate small children holding the hand of a parent or carer.
With a bit of practice, you'll soon get the hang of a floorplan, but if there is anything you're unsure about, always consult with the experts such as a builder or an architect. After all, it's your home and it needs to be just right for your lifestyle.