Houseplans Blog

What Makes a Top Selling Plan?

What Makes a Top Selling Plan?
Check out these top sellers from 2016.
What do the year's top selling plans -- shown in the collage at the top of this post -- tell us? Comfort and functionality are key, of course, and so are Craftsman, Farmhouse, and warm Contemporary styles. But also outdoor living space, open kitchens with islands, room flexibility, and home offices, are big draws. All of which made me think about what makes a good plan.

The Basics: My definition of a good house plans (you may disagree):
-- Offers comfort.
-- Provides practicality.
-- Promotes connections to the site.
-- Responds to climate and geography.
-- Is flexible -- i. e. can accommodate a party or extra guest.
-- Projects a distinctive character.
-- Has curb appeal without being unnecessarily complicated.

No Dead-End Rooms! (My mantra...)
More than one way in and out of major living spaces is important for safety, allows for balanced daylight, promotes air circulation, and helps avoid claustrophobia. No one wants to be caught in a corner at a holiday party! Plan 48-250, promotes a graceful flow between the foyer, great room, kitchen, dining room, and office.

A looping layout is even more important in smaller houses to promote a feeling of spaciousness, as shown in Plan 497-15.

If you are wary of too much openness or want privacy between rooms, consider pocket doors, which don’t need swing space.
Size Matters (Room Size, That Is)
Compare the listed dimensions to your own experience of comfortable room sizes. Do this by measuring the width, length, and height of one or two of the rooms you’re living in now, or of rooms you like. Note: according to International Code Council R304 “Habitable rooms shall not be less than 7 feet in any horizontal dimension.” This is very small for a room — or large for a cage…After having participated in the design of many idea houses for Sunset magazine I think a 10-by-12-foot bedroom is too small. But you may disagree, and so may the buyers of our Tiny House Plans.

Window Placement Matters
Windows on two sides of a room balance daylight and create a spacious feeling, as in Plan 901-8, below; windows on just one side of a room create a cave-like feeling and promote glare.

Windows set high in a wall can provide daylight while preserving privacy; however a room with these high windows will feel tight and boxy if it does not also have lower windows on another wall for views.

Indoor-Outdoor Living Matters -- It's How a House Expands in Good Weather
Is there a porch, screen porch, patio, or sheltered terrace near living and dining spaces? Is it deep enough to really use? You need at least a 6-foot depth for sitting and 8 feet is preferable.

For outdoor dining you need even more. Porches on Plan 888-15, above, are 10’ deep.

Storage Matters
Are the closets adequate and where they need to be?

Ideally, storage areas should suit the type of object being stored. Plan 929-2, above, has storage everywhere.

Put Yourself There!
Imagine how the plan will feel and work when you are doing the things that define your daily life, i.e. the

 ordinary and the special events. A good home, like Plan 496-18, above, feels great every day.

Think clearly about what your current (and past) house did well, not just where it falls short. A new house,

like Plan 137-261 can add what is missing while providing many or all of the experiences that you appreciate in your current house.

KEY to the collage of plans at the top of this post

Left to right, top row:
Plan 137-252
Plan 928-10
Plan 890-6
Plan 120-181

Left to right middle row:
Plan 924-1
Plan 890-1
Plan 17-1017
Plan 430-99

Left to right bottom row:
Plan 48-639
Plan 48-476
Plan 888-13

Browse a curated selection of house plans here.

What Makes a Top Selling Plan? Inspiration

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