How To Choose a House Plan Right for You

Consider size, function, and style before breaking ground.

Picture your dream home. Maybe it's a coastal Lowcountry cottage. Or a cozy cabin in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Or even a modern farmhouse with a wraparound porch. Designing a home from scratch is undoubtedly overwhelming—the possibilities are seemingly endless, and, of course, we want the final product to be as perfect as our daydreams. Luckily, there's probably a Southern Living House Plan that checks all the boxes. There's a plan for almost everything—from weekend retreats and family-friendly ranchers to quaint cottages for downsizing and spacious farmhouses for multi-generational living. To pick the house plan right for you, consider three key features of the design: size, function, and style.

Lowcountry Farmhouse
J. Savage Gibson

Think About the Size

How many people will live in the home? Growing families may want to consider plans with plenty of space to spread out—like The Ridge (SL-1973), a 3,500-square-foot rancher with four bedrooms and four baths, or Bellewood Cottage (SL-2049), a 2,900-square-foot traditional Southern-style home with three bedrooms and three-and-a-half baths. Empty nesters might be ready to downsize. These 16 house plans offer cozier proportions without sacrificing any style (or space for company). This itsy-bitsy 540-square-foot cottage makes for the ultimate mother-in-law suite. Multi-generational living is also on the rise, so we've rounded up our favorite homes for comfortably welcoming boomerang children or aging parents under your roof.

Consider the Function

What characteristics will maximize your home's livability? Frequent entertainers will probably want an open floor plan for hosting guests, like reader-favorite Banning Court (SL-1254). For homeowners who prefer more privacy, browse closed floor plans like the popular New Vintage Lowcountry (SL-1831). Along with hardworking kitchens and recreational spaces, we're predicting an increased demand for home offices in 2021. Indoor-outdoor living will always be a top priority for Southern dwellings (we like the dreamy Georgia River Farmhouse, Plan SL-2048).

Bring In Your Style

Of course, every Southerner wants a home brimming with curb appeal. That's one reason why the breezy Lowcountry Farmhouse (SL-2000) is a perennial best-seller. (Browse more of our top 20 house plans for 2020 here.) Consider sprawling ranch and classic craftsman styles. Look to a few of our swoon-worthy Idea Houses to bring your dream vacation home to life—like the Islander Cottage (SL-1951) or the Crane Island River House (SL-2010).

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