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House Floor Plans For Your Dream Home: Everything You Need to Know

Your dream home has been floating around your head for years and the time has finally come to start your custom home building journey. Before you can begin construction you need two things; a plot of land and some house plans. So how do you get those ideas out of your head and onto paper, and how do floor plans for building a house become a real family home?

When building a custom house in Chicago, speak to Fortress Home, who can help you with every stage of the process, from turning your ideas into floor plans, creating blueprints to build a house, and building your own custom home. Discuss all your home ideas with us now: +773-770-8607 or [email protected]

What's the difference between site, house, floor, and construction plans?

You may have heard the terms site plans, house plans, floor plans, and construction plans thrown around when people discuss home building but what are the differences between these types of plans.

Site plans

Site plans show the entire construction site, or piece of land on which your new house will be built and include details like roads, trees, neighboring buildings, and other natural features, including the topography (slopes, etc). They will show where your house will go in relation to all the surrounding features.

They can be used to ensure your new house isn't built too close to any other buildings and how it will be oriented on your property. However, site plans won't go into any detail on your new structure. That's where house and floor plans come in.

Floor and house plans

The terms floor plan and house plan are often used interchangeably and are probably what comes to mind when you think of house design. They are generally shown from above and give the full layout of a house, including windows, doorways, stairs, etc.

House floor plans will also show the position of any permanent features like built-in counters and cupboards, kitchens, and bathrooms.


Your house plans should also show dimensions and give indications of materials to be used, however on their own they are not enough for a builder to build your new house.

Construction plans

While the site plan and floor plans are very useful for envisaging your dream home, your builder will need some additional details to complete the construction of your house.

The construction plans that builders use contain a lot more technical information and far more detail than that shown on standard floor plans. This might include:

  • Excavation plans show exactly what needs to be excavated for the foundation and basement of a house.
  • Elevation drawings show the house from the front or side, rather than above, and are useful for indicating the position of windows and doors and other such features.
  • Cross-section drawings are similar to elevation drawings but will show cross-sections of your house, highlighting where supporting beams, foundations, and other structural features might be.
  • Mechanical and electrical drawings, as you can probably guess, show all the wiring and ductwork for your lighting, power outlets, and HVAC.
  • Plumbing plans will show the location of all pipes, faucets, water tanks, and drains.

A full set of construction plans or project plans will be needed by the builder to ensure everything in your house is built as it should be.

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So why do I need house floor plans?

When you're designing your dream home your home plans will ensure you get exactly what you're looking for. They will indicate what architectural styles you are using and will show the layout and flow of the house. They can also include things like deck plans and garage plans if they are integral parts of your house design.

Used in conjunction with a site plan they can be used to make sure your windows are facing the right way to take advantage of a beautiful view or to ensure you make the most of the natural daylight.

House plans can be used by an architect to create all the additional construction plans needed by your builders, as they should contain enough detail to be used as the basis for more technical drawings and blueprints.

How can I get floor plans for a custom house?

There are several options for getting floor plans to build your own house.

Work with an architect

You may choose to work with a trusted architect to design the floor plans for your own home. Working with an experienced architect will ensure that your full set of plans for your house are created by a single person.

This option is great if you have very specific and unique ideas for your custom home or particularly love a certain architect's style.

This might also be necessary for home plans created for a very specific location or unique plot, where you want the design to work with the surrounding landscape.


Get home builders' house plans

Many general contractors and housebuilders will offer design-build services where they can either offer you standard home builders' house plans, which can be customized or help you create your own custom house plan, with their in-house designers.

This option offers the convenience and speed of having the entire project managed in one place, which can help reduce costs and speed up the process.

Buy your build a house plan online

Use one of the many online house plan websites, where you can purchase pre-designed floor plans, including many popular house plan styles, like craftsman house plans and modern farmhouse plans. They usually arrange their house designs by architectural styles and sizes and offer you options to customize plans. These plans will have been created by architects or home designers.

If you are buying plans from these sites it's important to check what's included in each set of plans, as you may need to work with an architect or your builder to draw up additional blueprints, if some are missing.

Draw your own house plans

Another option is to use online or downloadable software to draw your own floor plan. If you have your own floor plan ideas for building a house you can put them all down on screen or paper and get creative. You can also look on house plan websites for lots of home design inspiration.

This option may be the cheapest but you will still need to work with an architect to create the additional plans required for the actual construction. They will make sure your plans are to code, ensure that your ideas will work in the real world and are structurally sound.

What should house plans include?

Your main floor plans will be drawn to scale showing the general flow and layout of your new house from above and are likely to include:

  • The number of stories with a floor plan for each story
  • The square footage of each room and other basic measurements
  • How the rooms are laid out and how many rooms there are i.e. kitchen, master bedroom, any other bedrooms
  • Position and direction of stairs
  • Position of both interior and exterior doors and windows
  • Built-in closets, cupboards, cabinets, and appliances

Some floor plans will also include the placement of furniture, especially if you are working with a designer as well as an architect.

Your house floor plans will typically not show the exterior of the house but your elevation drawings should include all details that are visible looking at the house front-on, including the exterior architectural style, roof, etc.

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Frequently asked questions

How do I get plans to build a house?

There are a few ways to get floor plans for building a new home:

  • If you are looking for a unique custom home you will almost certainly need to work with architects to create your home plans.
  • Some builders offer design services, so if you have a builder or general contractor in mind you can ask them if they offer builders' house plans services.
  • There are various websites where you can buy ready-made floor plans to build a custom home online. These may be customizable with your own requirements.
  • You can create your own rough floor plan and hand it over to an architect to create all the blueprints and plans that your general contractor will need.

How can I get a floor plan of my house?

If you are planning to remodel your existing home it can be very useful to have an accurate set of house plans to refer to, so you may be asking yourself 'how do I get the builder plans for my house?' Your builders' home plans will show the locations of any load-bearing beams, and where your wiring and plumbing are, all useful things to know before undertaking any major renovation project.

When looking for the floor plan of your existing house the first place you can check is your local permits, planning, or building office, as they often keep copies of building plans in their records.


You can also ask the builder or architect who built the house if you have this information. Checking with your real estate agents or neighbors can be helpful if you don't know who built your house.

How can I make my own house plans?

You can draw up your own rough house plans, including the layout of your dream house using various software tools, or even just a pen and paper. These plans can be used by an architect as the basis for the full set of construction plans for building a new house, that your builder or general contractor will need.

How much does it cost to build a 2000 sq ft house?

On average it costs between $100 - $200 per square foot to build a house, although some high-end custom homes can cost around $500 per square foot. Based on these figures the cost to build a 2,000 square foot house would range from $200,000 all the way up to $1 million, depending on the architectural style and level of finish in the house.

Do I need an architect to draw plans?

While you can draw up your own rough house plan using various software tools, you will still almost certainly need an architect, draftsperson, or architectural designer to create your final plans that a builder will use. Most building authorities require plans to be drafted by licensed professional architects to ensure they are structurally sound and in compliance with all relevant building codes.

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