• Melanie Loves Tampa Bay

Not All Space is Created Equal: Maximizing Your Home's Floor Plan

Updated: Aug 16, 2018

I once owned a house that was big on paper but small on useful space. The floorplan had very large formal living and dining rooms and an upstairs bonus room that was very inconvenient to access. Since I didn’t do much formal entertaining, other than every third Thanksgiving and Christmas, my formal areas spent most of the year collecting dust. The bonus room was just another space to cool in the summer.

In the end, I was living in about 2000 sqft of a 2800 sqft house. I debated on how I could convert the unused space, but eventually decided to move to a floorplan that better suited my needs.

Usable space is something I encourage all of my buyers, especially the first-time home buyers, to consider. Look past the square footage of a house and look at the layout, first and foremost. I also encourage buyers to think ahead at what the next 5 years may hold for them. Are they going to have children? Is it possible that a parent may move in? Will you be working from home a lot? Are they expecting to have long-term guests? Do they expect to be entertaining on a regular basis?

Floor plans change over time as people start using their homes differently. Most modern floor plans do not have Formal Living Rooms anymore because people weren’t using them and the demand stopped. Further, a lot of Formal Dining Rooms have been traded in for larger casual dining spaces and outdoor kitchens. Home offices have become standard because of the amount of people working from home now. If you have kids, newer homes have done a great job creating space for a playroom or a study area.

But, if the area you want to live in has older floor plans, then sometimes a little space-creativity is your best option!

For those of you that find yourself in a house with some inefficient space, you have a few options.

First, you can permanently convert the current space in your home to something you consider more useful. For instance, I had clients in Westchase who converted their formal dining room into a playroom for their kids. They had a licensed contractor do the work and it was a beautiful space in the end. Please keep in mind however, that a permanent change may not appeal to everybody when you decide to sell your house. However, I often see that conversions add value, especially if they are done well and you are changing a generally unused space into one that is used all of the time.

Second, your current spaces can start playing double or triple duty. Have a guest room, but not too many guests? A Murphy bed takes up very little space and allows that room to also be used as a craft room/den/playroom. Have a formal living room but no fancy furniture to put in it? You can make it a nice game room with a pool table.

Third, focus on outdoor living! If you want to create an amazing entertainment space or a second kitchen, adding value to your home by making your backyard enviable is a great way to invest in your home. An outdoor kitchen, fire pit, pool, or creative landscaping, is a great way to add value and space to you home.

Melanie is a Tampa Bay area Realtor with Smith & Associates. She loves Tampa Bay area area, houses, and helping clients buy and sell real estate. She can be reached at 813-368-6084 or matkinson@smithandassociates.com

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