Smart Solutions: Finding the right floor plan

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News

While a home’s location is often a high priority when house hunting, finding the right floor plan deserves a spot near the top of the list, too.

A laundry room on the second floor can be just right for your quality of life.

Unless you plan to invest in a big renovation, it’s worth taking a closer look at the arrangement of spaces and the flow of the home to make sure it fits your current lifestyle and can adapt over time.

It also helps to envision how well the layout would work when entertaining or hosting overnight guests.

For our family, a flexible floor plan has been up to the challenge as our needs evolved during the more than 20 years we’ve lived here and that continues to be the case.  

Our adjustable spaces allow us to redefine them as time goes on, like our daughter’s room that once served as a guest room and the living room that now houses a dining table for work and for meals.

The kitchen is a major player in the overall plan. Though open styles remain in demand, they may not appeal to everyone. For instance, I don’t want my kitchen to be visible from the living room. 

In addition, where a laundry room is located can be a real game changer. Walking up and down multiple sets of stairs hauling clothes to the basement and back can become more difficult as you get older.

But, having the laundry room on the same level as the bedrooms can ease your workload considerably.

Having enough bathrooms in the right locations is another important consideration in a floor plan because they are more costly and complicated to add than other features.

In new construction, open dining areas are starting to replace the traditional dining room for a more casual feel that can be incorporated into the main part of a residence.

Another popular option is a first floor master bedroom that may be better for empty nesters or parents with teens than for those who have infants and toddlers.

A mudroom also makes the wish list for many. If a potential house doesn’t have one, there may be an opportunity to get creative with the existing space.

An entry says a lot about a home and once again, it’s all about personal preference. While some like to make a dramatic first impression with a soaring ceiling and a massive chandelier, others might view that as wasted space.

Whatever your heart desires in a home, it’s okay to be particular when searching for the right property. Finding the right floor plan for you and your family in the first place can make for a smoother transition from the time you move in to the years that follow.  

If at some point you become unhappy with the layout you have chosen, see what you can do to change it without a major remodel, like turning a dining room into a library or making a formal living room a recreation space.

In the end, this will serve you well because how you live is just as important as where you put down roots.

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at