Choosing A Floor Plan

A Home That Measures Up

Find The Right Floor Plan For Your Family

Floor plans are a valuable tool in the home shopping process. If you're on the search for the right floor plan for your family, consider these 9 helpful tips and then take a look at the floor plan options available from Shea Homes!

Table of Contents

How to Choose a Floor Plan When Buying A New Home
What's a Floor Plan? 
Why Use a Floor Plan? 
How to Read a Floor Plan? 
How to Choose a Floor Plan: 9 Tips to Consider
Browse the Different Types of Floor Plans Shea Offers


How to Choose a Floor Plan When Buying a New Home 


Floor plans help you envision the look and feel of your ideal home. Maybe you want a primary suite walk-in closet with lofty ceilings for lots of shelf space. Or maybe you’re looking for a spacious patio that you can personalize for outdoor entertainment. A good floor plan will allow you to better understand if a home or townhome has the potential to meet your wants and needs. Knowing a floor plan is an important tool in the home buying process, it’s important to learn not only how to read them, but what to keep in mind when evaluating various floor plans. Luckily, we’ve got all the tools to help you when choosing a floor plan.  



What’s a Floor Plan? 


What is a floor plan? The dictionary defines a floor plan as a “scale diagram of the arrangement of rooms in one story of a building”. A floor plan will show you an aerial view of the layout of a home, broken out by different floors. You’ll typically see the rooms, doors, closets, and general flow of a house. The floor plan will show how rooms are laid out and how you will be able to move from room to room. Floor plans are often predetermined by the builder when you’re buying a new home, but sometimes you can personalize a floor plan based on your lifestyle. And if you're leaning towards building a new home, check out our building process guide to learn more about how you can work with Shea to personalize your floor plan. 



Why Use a Floor Plan? 


Although it may be tempting to want to leave all the floor plan decisions to the builder, architect, or even your interior designer, you’ll want to be clear about what the plan is and understand how it will affect you. You’re the only one who can truly advocate for your own wants and needs. Take advantage of this opportunity to make your home your own! Floor plans can help you decide on available home options, such as whether you want to get the bay window, if the extended patio will be worth it, or if you want to go with the optional door from the primary bedroom to the primary bath.  

Floor plans become even more invaluable when you’re shopping for a home online. Whether you’re moving from another state, or prefer to search for homes online, floor plans allow you to understand the dimensions of the home so you can envision the home for yourself. Along with floor plans, online home searches should also take advantage of home gallery images, videos and guided virtual homes tours (a virtual walk- through the home while chatting with a real-estate representative) to better visualize the floor plan and bring it to life.  



How to Read a Floor Plan 


A floor plan can tell you a lot about the home, if you know how to read it properly. For example, it can allow you to:  

  • See ratios of space, the proportions of a house, and decide how your furniture might fit (note: not all floor plans are to scale and should be used as a guide, not an absolute). 

  • Understand if the home’s layout works with your lifestyle and how you may use the space. 

  • Gauge the flow of the house and how you might move about inside it. 

  • Get a feeling for the building’s style.

However, floor plans are not always easy to decode. Luckily, we’ve created this visual guide to help you better understand what you’re seeing. Here is how to read a floor plan: 

  1. Orient yourself if you are looking at a one- or two-story home. The floor plan will indicate which floor you are viewing if the house is multi-story.  

  1. Understand the symbols presented in the floor plan. Typically, floor plans will show you symbols for walls, stairs, doors, and windows. Some floor plans will showcase renderings for where appliances may fit, like a washer and dryer or dishwasher.  

  1. Read the dimensions. Each room will typically show a square footage or length of each wall. This helps to understand how large the house is, and what proportions of the home are taken up by various room.  

SHEA-Choosing-FloorPlan-Infographic-Key (2).png



How to Choose a Floor Plan: 9 Tips to Consider 


1.) Prioritize What’s Most Important To You

Everyone has probably envisioned what their ideal home would look like. Granite countertops, a wrap-around front porch, and maybe a pool for relaxing on sweltering summer days. While it’s great to have a vision, homebuyers can easily get lost attempting to track down a floor plan that matches their dream home expectations.  

It’s important when shopping for a home to level those expectations. Stay focused on what really matters when you’re settled in your home. To do this, create a list of home features that are an absolute must-haves and ones that are a nice-to-have, so that you can prioritize what’s most important for your future home. For example, if you know you’ll need an at-home office or maybe a two-car garage for storing cars and lawn equipment, you’ll want to look at floor plans that offer flex spaces and garages that are the right size your family.  

Make sure to download our want vs need checklist to decide on the must haves and help choose the floor plan that’s right for you.

Teresina Kitchen


2.)  Make Sure It Works Within Your Budget

The dreaded “b” word. While financing your home is something you’ll need to think about, you don’t have to narrow it down to the exact dollar amount at this point. You do want to make sure you’re reviewing floor plans within your financial reach. At Shea, we have our own mortgage team that can help you understand how much home you can afford.  While it might be fun to imagine yourself in a large home, thinking through a home with a floor plan that serves all your necessities for living is the first step. Especially for first-time homebuyers, don’t be discouraged if you feel overwhelmed in understanding which floor plans you can afford. Our Shea Mortgage loan offices will work with you to find the best avenue for your financial situation.  

3.)  Find Out If It’s The Right Size 

This seems simple, but it’s important to figure out how much space you really need. The adage “bigger is better,” doesn’t always apply to your ideal floor plan. Size is important for making sure both your family – and your belongings – fit comfortably.  

Think about your current home and your needs. If you know the square footage of your current home, it can be good to look at the floor plan (see floor plan key above to understand how to read floor plan dimensions) to understand the relative size of the room dimensions so you can ensure that there’s enough space for all your needs. As a homebuyer, it’s important to do research and talk with a representative to discuss to the true size of home.  

Size can also affect the overall feeling of togetherness – can you hear your daughter calling you from her room – or is it simply too far away? There’s no right answer, so make sure to take so time to think about what’s right for you. 

Stonehaven Great Room


4.) Single Story vs. Multiple Story Home

Choosing between a single story or multiple story home relies heavily on personal choice, budgets, and location. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type of home. On the other hand, multiple story homes might mean that the bedroom on the bottom floor is subject to hearing loud footsteps or TV blaring if there is a bedroom directly above it. Not one home choice is better than the other, but when examining floor plan, it’s important to analyze how you want your home to laid out and whether one story or multiple stories is best for your home needs. Also, consider if the floor plan is a condo/townhome or a single detached family home. When thinking through a townhome vs single detached family home, each has benefits for living.  

5.) Make Sure It Fits With Your Lifestyle

People use their homes differently, so there’s usually no one-size-fits-all solution. The important thing to consider is how you use your home. Consider entertaining needs and kitchen needs. Do you want to have an island? Do you need a lot of counter space? Is a walk-in pantry a must-have? You may want to think about how you will make sure Fido feels at home when moving to a new place. Give them time to adjust and ensure that your home can always be pet-proofed to keep them safe.  

You’ll also want to think about the size of space, relation to each other, and flow of the rooms. How close are bedrooms to the kitchen and what is the flow between rooms? Consider things such as noise and privacy. Some people like open layouts, and some prefer for each room to have its own unique feel. Consider ceiling height, walls, and the angles. You may want to consider window placement and how this affects your views out, who can see in – and what they can see, in addition to how the natural light flows in. 

Stonehaven Master Bedroom


6.) How Much Outdoor Space Do You Need? 

Backyards are great for hosting summer BBQs, giving your kids a safe area to play, and letting your dog run free without having to take them to a park. Depending on your lifestyle and family size, you might need a lot of outdoor space to accommodate your kids/pets. However, a lot of patio or yard space also means a lot more upkeep. Mowing the lawn, sprucing the flowers, sweeping the patio, and keeping the pool clean are just some of the year-round chores that will require consistent servicing. Before you decide on a floor plan, make sure you consider if the work is worth the reward when it comes to how much outdoor space you want at your home.  

Azure Pool


7.) Decide If The Floor Plan Will Play Nice with your design style

If you have a specific home style design in mind, such as a CraftsmanMediterranean, or Victorian, you will want to view the floor plan from the perspective of whether or not it will accommodate your needs. Learn more about different home styles if you’re unsure of what will fit your taste.  

Floor plans are also great for visualizing how you would want to decorate the interior of your home – from bedroom furniture to final additions. However, with so many design styles, it can hard to decipher which interior style best matches the tone/aesthetic that you want in your home. To help you decide, take our interior design quiz to find out which style is right for you.  

8.) Consider What Life Will Look Like In 5-10 Years

Depending on how long you plan to live in your new home, you may want to consider whether the floor plan you choose will be able to adapt to your needs in the next five to ten years. Consider changes such as the kids leaving the house, your family getting bigger (whether it’s starting your family or expanding the family with the in-laws or grandchildren), and whether you’ll really want to climb stairs every day to go to bed. An office can transform into a guestroom and your flooring can easily transition from hardwood to kid friendly, but some decisions you will have to make when choosing your floor plan. 

Del Bel Lake 50 Girls Bedroom


9.) Know What To Avoid

Knowing how to read your floor plan can help you avoid fewer desirable designs, layouts, and features. Look out for things you may want to avoid like tight hallways, angular walls, or an overly complicated layout.  


Browse The Different Types of Floor Plans Shea Offers


Shea Homes offers a variety of different floor plans depending on whether you're looking for a townhomecondo, or single-family detached home. 

On our website, you can ‘favorite’ floor plans to save them and view at a later time. Check out our top 5 most ‘favorited’ floor plans in 2023!  

  1. Trilogy at Verde River - Dorado Plan  
    Trilogy at Verde River Dorado Plan
  2. Trilogy at Lake Frederick - Evoke II Plan  
    Trilogy at Lake Frederick Evoke Plane
  3. Trilogy Lake Norman - Captivate with Loft 
    Trilogy Lake Norman Plan Captivate
  4. Trilogy at the Polo Club - Liberty Plan 
    Trilogy at The Polo Club - Liberty Plan
  5. Trilogy Bickford - Perspective Plan 
    Trilogy Bickford Perspective Plan

Ready to start your journey to finding your dream home? Explore our Shea Homes communities and chat with our amazing New Home Advisors to learn more about a specific home’s floor plan. 


What Are the Different Floor Plan Options?

Shea Homes offers a variety of home types including condos, townhomes, duets aka duplexes, and single-family detached homes. Our floorplans vary from single story homes to three-story homes. Each floor plan has available exterior and structural options to choose from.

What Is the Typical/Average Floor Plan Square Footage?

Shea Homes builds homes to fit your lifestyle needs offering a variety of home sizes from less than 1,000 square feet to over 6,000 square feet.

How Much Square Footage Do I Need?

Your needs will vary depending on the number of people and pets living under your roof. You’ll also want to consider places to work from home or study and the hobbies and interests you may have. Whatever your lifestyle, Shea builds homes that use space efficiently to meet your needs.

How Do I Get the Floor Plan of My New House?

While a community is actively selling you may be able to view your floor plan on our website but once we no longer sell that floor plan, we do not share them as they are proprietary. Homeowners can always view the floor plan of their home in their My Shea Home account.

Are the Measurements Accurate on the Floor Plan?

Floor plans are used to demonstrate the approximate size of a home and the general layout.
While measurements are meant to be as accurate as possible, all square footages and measurements are approximate and subject to variation.

What Comes First, The House or The Site?

This can vary by the community. In some communities, buyers can choose their home site (also known as a lot) and home plan. In other communities, the home plans are pre-plotted on our home sites. In communities that offer home plan/home site choice, some people fall in love with a floorplan and will choose a home site depending on where the chosen home plan will fit. On the other hand, some people have a specific lot in mind and will choose a home plan based on what home will work best on the selected lot.

What Home Styles Can I Choose From?

We could have up to 3 exterior styles that customers can choose from, but availability can vary by community, type of home and home plan.

What Size Lots Does Shea Build On?

Lot size varies per community with smaller homes usually placed on smaller lots and larger homes on larger lots. Home site size may be listed as width versus length which can be calculated for an approximate total square footage. For example, a lot that is approximately 50 feet wide by 80 feet deep would be roughly a 4,000 square foot lot.

Are House Floor Plans Public Record?

While construction plans may be on file with the governing municipality, a builder’s floor plans are the intellectual property of the builder or the designer/architect that created the plan and are not available for use by others.

 Are Floor Plans Length by Width?

Most floor plans are shown as approximate width by approximate length. Room dimensions are also shown the same way.


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