Designing Your Home? 5 Do's And Don'ts Of First Floor Layout

Posted on: 29 January 2021

As you design the layout of your new two-story home, you may find that the additional space above allows you the freedom to add more to the first floor. But should you? What should you add to the first floor and what should you avoid? Here are a few dos and don'ts of first-floor design. 

Don't Open Up Too Much

Open-space floor plans are popular because they make the first floor seem larger and airier. However, don't go overboard with open designs. They also add to noise pollution and reduce options for allowing different activities to occur — like the kids playing while you watch a movie — at the same time. A few walls can create nice barriers when used strategically. 

Do Add a Guest Room

Most Americans like to have an extra bedroom to use as a guest room, but it's usually grouped with the other bedrooms on the second floor. Instead, make your guest room on the main floor. Why? It's much more accessible and it feels less invasive if you have unwanted houseguests. And it affords the guest more privacy and a more luxurious experience. 

Don't Add a Full Bathroom

Every floor in your home needs at least one public bathroom, but the first floor rarely needs a full bath. Unless it is shared with the guest room, a smaller bath offers the same value in terms of real estate. A shower or bathtub will generally go unused and you waste the space it takes up on the main floor. A powder room, with a sink and toilet, is usually all that's really needed. 

Do Strategize Home Office Locations

The best place for your home office — on the first floor or second floor — depends on how you use the home. If you work when the kids, pets, and your spouse are all home, a home office on the second floor could help reduce distractions and provide more privacy. However, if you work alone during the day, you may find that an upstairs office is not only inconvenient but also too isolating. In this case, try the more welcoming first floor.

Don't Add Unnecessary Rooms

Unless you regularly entertain guests outside your close social circle, formal versions of public rooms usually aren't a wise use of space. The most common examples are a formal dining room with a breakfast room or a formal living room with a family room. Instead of using the extra rooms, open up the entryway to allow seating or add a covered outdoor dining area for hosting host large parties. 

Where to Learn More

Want more tips for designing a great first-floor layout? Start by consulting with a home designer in your area. Together, you can assess how you really use a home to find the perfect balance between space, luxury, practicality, and budget.