How to Design My House for Free

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Drawing a complete house plan requires you to educate yourself about house construction. It's much more realistic to complete all design work if you make complete sketches that a contractor can interpret or fine-tune as needed. Going online is one of the best ways to gain access to free building plans and design tools. By combining workable ideas into the exact design you desire, you can wind up with a nice home that is exactly what you envision.

Things You'll Need

  • Online resource sites
  • Colored pencils
  • Sketch pad
  • Graph paper and pencil
  • Basic floor plan drawing
  • List of unique building materials desired
  • Contact names for building contractors
  • Building code requirements
  • Find ideal photos of homes you would like to build. Start with the designs and materials you would utilize if money were no object. Make notes about roof lines, siding materials, windows, landscaping and other details you find appealing. List all amenities and features so you can substitute less expensive materials or find a way to include the best appliances, design work and other features that really matter.

  • Base building your home on an estimated cost of $120 to $150 per square foot, not counting the cost of property. Use this dollar spread as a starting point, so you can keep the size of all rooms to fit the square footage you can afford. Lean toward $120 per square foot if your budget is average, since this figure is quoted as the national average on many building websites. Make a list of bedrooms and baths, living areas, kitchen and laundry areas and any rooms you definitely want to include. Draw a simple floor plan in rough draft based on the square footage you can afford.

  • Create the exterior design you find appealing. Decide on whether you want to design a one-story, two-story or multiple levels. Keep in mind that with two stories, for example, your home will require a smaller foundation or basement to support two floors of rooms. All of these rooms can fit under one roof, which should cost less than spreading the floor plan out under one large roof for a single floor.

  • Allow one square of graph paper to represent six inches of real space. Sketch all rooms, interior walls, exterior windows and interior doors. Make additional sketches that include further details for routing wiring, wall outlets, light fixtures, plumbing, plus air and heating ducts and vents. Include drawings that detail construction of the basement, basement windows and staircase and details of plumbing or extra rooms in the basement.

  • Fine-tune all of your drawings only after you've met with a general contractor you want to hire. Check with local authorities to confirm that you can obtain a building permit based on your final plans. Review costs of each stage of building with your general contractor to establish cost per square foot. Get everything in writing before you decide to proceed.

Tips & Warnings

  • Keep in mind that the roof line and window placement will establish a lot about the architecture of your new house. Try to build a house that other buyers would find appealing. Building a house that is too unique can be very risky if you should ever need to sell it.
  • Talk to lots of individuals who have built a new home to figure out what worked for them. You can learn a lot from the mistakes of others. Talk with homeowners about the general contractors/supervisors they used as well. Your design might end up altogether different if your general contractor does not listen to what you deem important.

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