House Plan Traffic Patterns

11.14.11 · Ann Adamson · 3,035 Views

More Green Lights and Fewer Detours

When I heard the word traffic, the first thing that came to mind when I was a kid were traffic lights and fighting over the window seat with my brother. As a house design professional and dad, driving in traffic seems to have gotten worse, but the term traffic has taken on another meaning too. I have seen countless house designs and built several homes and a home’s traffic pattern is a big part of the design process. One of the most important aspects when building your home is making an efficient home traffic pattern. This is simply the way you travel from one room to another inside your home. One example is the way you move from the kitchen to the family room or from the living room to the master bedroom. The flow of traffic when you travel between rooms should be organized.

Most of us buy a house for it is more convenient sometimes to just move rather than build one which would take months. Only when you live inside will you realize how bad the traffic pattern is. These are built in cement and will be expensive to make adjustments if you have to tear it down. If you are working with a budget what you can do is just remove or adjust some doors to make a more convenient traffic flow.

Consider Your Lifestyle
A house with a family of three kids and a dog will demonstrate a very different traffic pattern than a home with a retired couple. It’s best to ask a few questions before jumping into any concreted house plan decisions. Do kids go directly to their rooms after school? Do you go to the master bedroom or the home office most of the time during the day? Do guests have to travel the entire house before they reach the powder room? Can you take the groceries to the kitchen without having to cross the living room? There shouldn’t be any frequent crisscrossing in any one of the rooms. If you have a big family, you may have experienced a pile up that is similar to traffic in the highway which could sometimes be unsafe especially while bringing hot or pointed stuff within the kitchen or to and from the garage. Remember that your goal is to avoid house designs requiring occupants to struggle passing from one area to another.

Consider Your Budget
Older home often have multiple hallways and designated formal and informal rooms. Besides today’s more relaxed lifestyle at home, there is also a significant cost to these formal rooms – from construction to property taxes and heating/cooling. Do you really need that formal living room and formal dining room? More often than not, the answer I get is “no.” So say hello to more informal, open spaces and goodbye to stuffy rooms and dark hallways. Open spaces make the room feel larger and allow multiple ways to access the kitchen for example. Below is a fine example of a house plan blueprint that lives up this present-day thinking.

Plan 169-1000 - Floor Plan - First Level

This house plan is a good example of a well thought out floor plan. (169-1000)

Don’t Forget About the Details
You know what they say, “the devil is in the details.” Well, check your house plans and make sure that stairs are accessible to family rooms and kitchens. See how convenient the bathrooms are to the bedrooms and their occupants’ needs. Map out your family’s activity for a full day and see where heaviest traffic happens. These details will help you asses if a house plan is right for you – and eventually even where to move furniture for an effective traffic pattern.

Just remember: investing a bit of time into a house plan’s traffic pattern will save you years of minor headaches once you move in. I just wish I could say the same thing about my commute to work.