5 Functional Improvements To Consider in Your Home Design

A new home design can give you the freedom and excitement of experiencing your home in a new way. As you start down the path of exploring how you can redesign your home with more functionality, we put together some great aspects for you to examine.

Laundry Room Location

We often see homes that are built with the laundry room on the main level. Some of the new custom homes have the laundry room near the bedrooms while most of the older homes have a laundry room as part of a mud room. The location and functionality as it relates to each area of your home is going to be a preference to how you do laundry. Unlike many other parts of the home, this is one that is used more frequently and is a necessary component to daily life. Consider how comfortable you want this space to be with the amount of time you will be spending in it. Making a space more efficient and more appealing to your personal habits will make the task much easier or even enjoyable.  When looking at a new home design, here are some ideas to think about in planning:

  • Do you need a place to hang wet clothes?
  • How much room to you need for clean clothes as they come out of the dryer?
  • How much room do you need for dirty clothes as they wait to go into the washer?
  • Would you like a place to fold laundry?
  • Do you want it to function as a one person process or do you want to involve the rest of the family in helping do laundry?
  • Shelves can help, allowing you to put baskets with the name of each family member. 

Think about the things you don't like about your current laundry room setup. Take note of the components you do like. Maybe you will only have a certain amount of space to work with when remodeling the laundry room, so you should make that space work for you through efficiency and function.

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This may sound obvious but sometimes kitchens don't have all the appliances that are needed to meet the demands of your lifestyle. I think most people just grumbled through the improper function of their kitchen not really stopping to say, "hey, we need a second oven." If you are reading this, you either bought a home that wasn't built for you or you built your home a long time ago. With both scenarios you have out grown the functionality of how your home was once designed. 

First, start with cooking style. Who is the person who will be doing most of the cooking in your home for the years to come? That person should be at the forefront of the planning for a new kitchen design. Here are some questions to consider:

  • Do you need a second oven in order to get all the parts of your meal to be done at the same time? This may be an important addition if you entertain for larger groups.
  • Are you a heat and serve type of cook, a gourmet cook or something in between?
  • Do you have members of your family coming home late some evenings that need access to something quick? A warming drawer is a good idea here, keeping your food warm with a moist heat.
  • Where will you store your wine?
  • Do you need a griddle? Great for Saturday morning pancakes. This can be built into your oven range or can be an addition that is removable.
  • What kind of small appliances do you use every day? Maybe think about about having these as built-in when you create the new home design.
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Kitchen Layout

A very important aspect to your kitchen is the layout. Do you currently have an island? How are you using it? With any size island, make sure it doesn't impede the flow of cooking. The time tested triangle relationship between the range, refrigerator and kitchen sink definitely aids in the process of prepping, cooking and cleaning. Again, efficiency is the number one goal. With efficiency you create a much more functional space that you will innately enjoy living and working in. 

Another area of the kitchen to consider making an improvement are the countertops. The type of material is important due to how durable it is and how easy it is to clean, but the bigger issue is the actual space it gives you to accomplish tasks. How often do you bake? Do you currently have enough room for prepping food before cooking? If you do a lot of baking you know it usually takes a lot of room. This is hard to do when you are cramped up. You will hate the experience and therefore do less baking. Prepping has the same idea. A new kitchen design should really play to those who are prepping, cooking and using the kitchen on a daily basis.

Cabinet Accessories

When working on a new home design, a key ingredient in the kitchen and the bathroom is cabinet space and accessories. A good idea when first starting is to think about how much inventory you have. By inventory I mean plates, silver, spices, flatware, toiletries and hand held appliances. Walk through you kitchen and bathroom and take an inventory of what kind of things you have. You'll want to make sure you are planning a design that accommodates everything you currently have, plus anything you are planning to add. 

Does your current spice rack work for how you utilize your kitchen? Think about adding a spice drawer where all of your spices are at your fingers tips and easily are hidden away. What about a makeup mirror? Do you constantly find yourself putting it away underneath the sink? Maybe you should have one built in where you will be getting ready each morning. There are many new options out there to consider in your new home design.


Functionality in home design is the first cousin to space. Having the proper amount of space to move about your life and accomplish the tasks you like each day makes for a more productive and satisfying experience. When thinking about space, there are really two main ways to approach it:

  • Changing how you use the space you are currently in
  • Making an addition to your current space 

Here is an example of how we changed a client's space to better suit her lifestyle. This particular client needed a space to work from home, so we converted one of her bathrooms into an office. Then we utilized her old closet space to create a closet for the office and a new bathroom. This was a great way to take the current square footage and use it in a completely new way. 

However you approach your new home design, I think focusing on these aspects will be very helpful in accomplishing your goal. 

Posted on March 7, 2014 and filed under Functionality, Home Design.