Building a home from scratch to your own design and specifications is a dream held by many, and one that does not have to be waylaid if budget constraints or crowded locations mean a small plot of land is all you can get your hands on. With an increasing population making land more valuable and sought-after every year, many new home builders are well-versed in making the most of a small space.
By choosing the right floor plans and architectural flourishes, you can make a compact home built on a small lot or narrow urban space feel airy and spacious. If you have a small plot of land but big ambitions, keep the following guidelines in mind when working with your builders and architects to design your new home:
Opt for open plan layouts
Dividing walls between each and every room in a smaller home are to be avoided; not only do they take up unnecessary space, but they reduce the amount of natural light each room receives, making the home feel smaller, darker and more cramped. As such, you should opt for open plan layouts wherever practical. While open plan bathrooms and bedrooms are obviously out of the question, amalgamating your kitchen, living room and dining room into a single, uninterrupted space can make an enormous difference.
Avoid load-bearing walls
All but the tiniest of homes require at least one load-bearing structure to keep the roof firmly over your head, but you do not have to opt for a traditional load-bearing wall. Structural columns and vertical braces take up far less space and block out a negligible amount of light.
Windows, and lots of them
As previously mentioned, high amounts of natural light in your home will make it feel more roomy and spacious, and having to rely less on artificial lighting is a nice little bonus. You should therefore integrate as many windows (preferably large and with minimal framing) into your designs as possible without compromising structural strength and security. Your builders and home designers will be able to advise you on the best places to site these windows; for example, west-facing windows in your main living area will flood your room with soft sunlight in the evenings.
You don't have to rely solely on windows to allow as much natural light into your home as possible; strategically placed skylights, though a little more expensive to install than conventional windows, can be even more effective. If you do opt for skylights, make sure to choose ones fitted with thick, insulating panes (preferably double or triple-glazed), and install shades to prevent heat from the sun making your home unacceptably warm during the summer.
Take the high road
If your budget allows it and local planning authorities permit it, adding an extra storey (or even two) to your small-lot home will effectively double (or triple) the amount of floor space you have to work with. If you can't stretch to a full-blown extra storey, choosing a vaulted roof will allow you to use attic space as an extra room.