Floor plans: What a good property floor plan looks like

Flexible, well connected, bright. Good floor plans.

Floor plans play a key role in the search for an apartment or house. Analysis tools can distinguish between good and bad floor plans. Find out what factors have an effect on floor plan quality and how to recognize a good floor plan.

The quality of floor plans is measurable

The floor plan is one of the most important decision-making criteria when searching for a property. These days, the various aspects of floor plan quality can be objectively assessed with the help of intelligent analysis tools and algorithms. In this way, good floor plans can be distinguished from bad ones using quantitatively recorded characteristics. This makes it easier for buyers to compare properties. After all, floor plans affect the functionality of the property.

However, there is no such thing as the perfect floor plan, since people have different needs and wants in regards to habitable floor area. For example, families often value having a big kitchen, bright children's rooms, and sound-proof rooms. Young single earners, on the other hand, may care more about how well presented the property is and what the view is like.

Floor plan requirements vary

Residents have different requirements for floor plans

Different weighting of internal property factors (expert opinion) for family and yuppie properties

Source: Archilyse, Credit Suisse 

How rooms are used depends on the structure of the floor plan

Floor plans give insight into how a property can be used. There are two basic types of floor plan: The "determining floor plan" already specifies the function of the rooms with its structure. The size of the rooms as well as their arrangement and relationship to one another only allow for one type of use. With the "open floor plan," on the other hand, the rooms are designed in such a way that the function can be individually chosen. Often all the rooms are the same size.

Another distinguishing feature is the connectivity: Either the floor plan separates the rooms from one another or it connects them. If the floor plan is arranged as a kind of circuit, this results in a good property infrastructure. Rooms that are used often are directly linked and short routes enable optimum use of the area. However, if all rooms lead out from a central room such as the foyer, this creates longer routes. This is because distances always have to be covered through an intersection.

Connectivity determines the quality of the floor plan

Connectivity also determines the quality of a property's floor plan

Left: high connectivity, since frequently used rooms such as the kitchen and dining room are directly linked. Likewise, bedrooms and bathrooms are directly accessible, but can also be used autonomously. Privacy is therefore protected.

Right: limited connectivity, since the connection between the bedrooms is only possible through the foyer, which does not serve much other use.

Source: Archilyse 

Good floor plans optimize the incidence of light in the property

The floor plan also influences how bright the property is, and therefore the sense of wellbeing. After all, the quality of lighting has a strong effect on our psyche. Since this factor is particularly important, window sizes and the distance between buildings is already stipulated in building regulations. Brightness can be further maximized with a clever arrangement of the rooms. Natural lighting can be simulated with the help of brightness analyses. Balcony configurations and tree shading have to be factored into this.

The following example shows that north-facing children's rooms don't get much light. There is no direct sunlight here. A small window, the balcony next door and above, and the neighboring building darken the room even more. However, if the room is facing south and has large windows, the light coming in at midday increases from 800 lumens per square meter to 4300 lumens per square meter – more than five times as much.

The property's floor plan can optimize the amount of light that comes in

The amount of light that comes in also depends on the property's floor plan

Left: child's room facing north

Right: child's room facing south

Red: direct sunlight

Source: Archilyse 

Floor plans should allow for individual furnishing

Room proportions and the position of the entrance, windows, and fixtures limit the range of ways in which a property can be furnished. The individual needs of the residents are better served if the floor plan allows for many different furnishing options. This is particularly important for families, where for example, a nursery needs to become a child's room and then a room for a teenager.

In bedrooms, for example, the furnishing options are measured according to the number of positions where a double bed can be placed. This means that square-shaped rooms provide more possible positions than tapered room shapes. This increases the range of potential uses.

The floor plan of the bedroom influences furnishing options

Square rooms offer a wider range of furnishing options

Left: The square room allows for three different bed positions.

Right: Only one bed position is possible due to the tapered shape of the room.

Source: Archilyse 

Floor plans are gaining in importance with objective assessment

A good floor plan lays the foundation for comfortable and individual living. The quality of a floor plan is not always clear at first glance. But when measured according to the factors listed, the floor plan's potential can be recognized. This helps buyers to compare properties more easily and objectively assess them, so that they can make the right purchasing decision.

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