In the last blog, “How to Design the Perfect House Plans: Step 1 – Gather Ideas,” you put a great deal of thought into the functionality of your new house.  At this point, you’ve considered the size, number and types of rooms you want, plus room arrangement and how you’d like to live in your house.  You’ve also thought about the finishes you’d love to have in your new home, gathering lots of ideas from Pinterest and Houzz.

In the introduction to this series, we stated that many people skip step 2, the organization, which is a big mistake.  Now, you might be thinking, “I’m not going to make that mistake!  My Pinterest account is super organized!”  Or perhaps you have a “Monica binder” (for you Friends fans out there) with tabs, labels, and color coding.  While all of that is helpful, that’s not the type of organization we are taking about.

We want you to take your thoughts from step 1 and organize wants and needs.  In order to clearly articulate to potential designers and builders, it is imperative that your ideas be clearly categorized—what you must have and what you want to have.  In this way, it will be easier for you and your designer/builder to stay within the all-important budget.

Yes, unless you have unlimited funds, it’s time to scrutinize those ideas you gathered last time.  Now, you must organize wants and needs in order to get the right features that fit realistically into your budget.

Perfect House Plans: Step 2 – Organize Wants and Needs

Go back to the questions you answered about the functionality of your home–the “details about your perfect house plans.”  (If you haven’t answered these questions yet, you can find them here.)

For each section of your home (bedrooms, kitchen, dining areas, and family/living areas), answer the following question:

If you could only have one functional aspect for the space, what would it be?  (For example, do you have to have two living areas or is it more important to have one larger space?  Does the kitchen need a center island or is the range more important?  Is one dining room that seats 10 people more important than having an eat-in kitchen?)

Now that you have identified the most important elements of your new floor plan, create a “priorities list,” with the most important floor plan element being placed first.

Next, go through all the functional aspects you discovered during the “gather ideas” phase and place them in either the needs (must-have) or the wants (like-to-have) column.  Remember!  Prioritize those must-haves!

Finally, look at your must-have column one more time.  Is the most important must-have at the top of the list?  If you had to give up everything else, would that one item be what you wanted to keep?  Is there anything you can move from the must-have column to the like-to-have column?

Complete the process above–answering the questions and creating a prioritized must-have & like-to-have list—for the interior finishes of your home.

As mentioned before, please be cautious of becoming too emotionally attached to the items on your lists.  There is no guarantee you will get all the must-haves you wrote down.  This will depend on your budget.

A professional home designer and builder can help you determine if your must-haves fall within your budget.

The Next Step…

Now that you have a fairly clear idea about how you want your ideal home to look and function, it’s time to find the right designer & builder.  For information about this important step, click here…


To view our House Plans Collection, click here…

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How to Design the Perfect House Plans: Step 2 - Organize Wants and Needs
Article Name
How to Design the Perfect House Plans: Step 2 - Organize Wants and Needs
An article in the series "How to Design the Perfect House Plans," which explains how to organize wants and needs in order to help you communicate more clearly with designers and builders.
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Elements Design Build L.L.C.
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