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Things you need to keep in mind when designing your next architectural plan

Receiving a set of complex architectural blueprints and plans of your house is definitely one of the most exciting stages of a renovation or a new build.

Are you thinking about carrying out a custom renovation or home design? With the help of an architect or all by yourself? Either way, there are plenty of things to ensure that you are ready to take on the project or to choose the right architect that suits your needs. One of those things is fully understanding architectural plans. Perhaps it seems common sense at first, but there are definitely some nuances to understand when it comes to your architectural plans that will help ensure efficient communication with the architectural professional, in case you decide to go down this route.

Receiving a set of complex architectural blueprints and plans of your house is definitely one of the most exciting stages of a renovation or a new build. You can see the layout of the new space, the dimensions of each new room and many details of fixtures and fittings. However, in case you have not seen an architectural plan before, you might be left confused when trying to decipher these documents, full of symbols and patterns.

An architect’s job is basically to order elements and this does extend to the architectural plans and drawings as well. There is the organisation of the linework on the page – namely the layout of the sheet – then there is the order of information that you are depicting too - the drawing hierarchy. Each of these aspects requires you to know exactly what you are attempting to communicate. The objective is to show the relationship between the spaces, the physical features of the exterior and interior spaces and to accurately describe the dimensions of these relationships. It serves as an overall map. It’s naturally a diagram; we cannot show every single detail, we just need to decide what is important and leave out the remaining elements.

Avoiding common mistakes

You are not expected to know and fully understand all of the ins and outs of the home design if you are a professional, especially if you decide to go down the route of working alongside an architect. In this case, work with your architect to avoid mistakes in the architectural plans. This will help reduce frustration as well as improve communication over the design process.

Not every single plan will suit you: A very common mistake when it comes to architectural plans is forgetting to visualise how you and your family interact throughout the space. It is very important to evaluate your lifestyle before selecting final floor plans.

It is normal not understanding everything at first: Reading plans is second nature to designers and architects, but do not assume you need to understand every symbol and pattern on the architectural plans. No matter if it comes to door swings or to windows / stairs, if you have questions, just ask.

Printing your architectural plans to scale: Printing architectural plans and drawings to scale allows you to easily share them with architects or other people who need to measure from the plans to order materials or build parts for your renovation or home improvement project. Drawings or architectural plans can be assembled from segments printed out on a normal computer or they can also be printed directly on plotters as well as large format printers at graphic service shops.

Reviewing dimensions of each space: Over the planning process, take the necessary time to measure your existing furniture in order to ensure the rooms and spaces are large enough to meet your lifestyle. If you are in doubt, always leave some margin and add some additional space.

Discuss it with your family: If you live with your family or with other people, then make sure they are involved in the process too. Being the only decision-maker can backfire at times, so include your family or other members of your group in the important decisions of the design process.

Thinking about the future: Are you planning on having kids in the upcoming years? Or do you have aging parents? If the answer is yes, you need to start thinking about accommodating other family members in different scenarios, like returning college students, accommodating grandchildren or grandparents, taking care of elderly parents – or accommodating extended family for holidays. If you are also planning on a transition from a corporate job to operating your own company out of your home space, your home design needs to include an office space.

Prioritising features: Once your ideas are recorded, begin prioritising these features for your new home. Custom home design can rapidly exceed the planned budget if you let your fancies run free. With so many extras to choose from, it is very important to prioritise the key aspects of the design.

Take into account function and flow: As you begin playing around with where the different rooms and spaces should be located, keep in mind how your final design will flow and how you and your family will function in each of these spaces.

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Mary is a London-based copywriter. Her passions are the online world and music, and in her free time she enjoys reading her favourite books as well as playing chess and travelling.
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