One of the things I love about my job is getting to visit lots of homes. I’ve seen well-designed spaces that are easy to furnish and live in, and others that have left me scratching my head. Here are some things to look for when shopping for a new home that you might overlook.
1. Where will we drop our stuff when we come home? Most people don’t use their front door on a regular basis, so check the space that will be your main point of entry (often this is a door from the garage). Is there a place for boots, shoes, coats, and bags? If not, could you add cubbies, a bench, or hooks to corral these things? If it’s a very tight space you will always have stuff piling up there.
2. Will my furniture fit? It can be difficult to visualize how your current items will fit in a new space, especially if the house is empty or sparsely furnished. Take dimensions of your large items – sofa, bed, dining table – and bring a tape measure to map them out when looking at houses. This will prevent an unpleasant surprise on move-in day. This is an important step if you have a king-size bed, since some bedrooms (particularly in older homes) can’t accommodate one without blocking a window or door.
3. Where will we put the TV? I’ve seen a surprising number of new homes that have no spot in the family room for the TV other than above a fireplace mantle. This is usually not a good location (something I wrote about here), and it amazes me that some builders do not think this through. Take note of whether there is enough wall space for a TV and also room for your sofa to sit across from it.
4. Is there sufficient storage and counter space in the bathroom? Few things are more frustrating than getting ready in the morning without enough counter space. If it is lacking, ask yourself if there is room to expand the vanity. If a bathroom has a pedestal sink, check for a place to add storage for at least a couple rolls of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.
5. Is there a double-height or vaulted ceiling? These features are popular in newer homes because they make a space look grand. But they are also notoriously echo-y and can drive up your energy costs. Also, take note of any high, inaccessible nook or niche that will collect dust and be a pain to decorate.
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Make it fab!