What to Know Before You Change Your Home’s Layout

Written by Ashley Sutphin Posted On Friday, 09 September 2022 00:00

When you’re planning a home renovation project, there is one of two categories it’s likely to fall into. The first is a simple cosmetic refresh. For example, maybe you’re going to reface your cabinets and change out the light fixtures, but there’s no major work to be done. Changing floors is another example of a cosmetic project.

Then, there are those large-scale projects that involve taking out walls and changing the layout of your home.

Big projects involving layout can be intimidating, so what should you know?

Is Reconfiguration the Right Choice?

Before you start hiring or knocking down walls, are you sure that reconfiguration is the right choice?

Think about what your current limitations are with your layout and think about if you’re better off with an addition, a change in floorplan, or maybe both. As you’re weighing the decision, don’t start thinking about finishes and furniture just yet. Those are largely superficial elements of home design. You need to get the logistics right first, and then the other things come later.

Think about what challenges you currently face and the solutions most likely to address those.

Opening Up Your Floorplan

One of the primary reasons to change a home’s layout is to open up the main living areas. For example, you might want an open-concept kitchen, living area, and dining area.

If you’re going to open up a floorplan, you’re likely going to be taking out at least one wall. If so, you should talk to an architect to figure out which walls are load-bearing and what you can do to make up for the loss of those. For example, you might use beams or pillars. Maybe you need both. You’ll also probably need a permit if you’re changing a load-bearing wall and plumbing or electrical work that might be required.

If you’re planning to create an open floor plan, the cost is usually anywhere from $8 to $15 per square foot of affected space, and you might be able to get a return on your investment of anywhere from 54 to 60%.

What About Making Rooms from Open Spaces?

While most people prefer open concepts, some people want to go in the opposite direction. They want to create more enclosed rooms out of open spaces. For example, maybe you want to create a formal dining room.

Adding a wall will also probably require you to get permits, especially if the changes will involve electrical work. You’ll probably work with a contractor, but not necessarily an architect if you’re adding rooms.

Creating a Master Bedroom

If you have a master bedroom now that’s small and you want to expand into another bedroom, for example, you will again need an architect if you plan to take out walls. What a lot of homeowners will do is reduce the size of a connecting bedroom and then add a master bathroom suite and perhaps a large closet.

In a project like this, a general contractor can be valuable because they can keep your workflows moving along efficiently, and they can manage subcontractors so you don’t have to.

Adding a Bathroom

Finally, if you want to add a bathroom, you may choose to either use space that’s already connected to an existing bedroom. You might also turn a bedroom, back-to-back closets, storage area, or walk-in closet into a bathroom.

As with the circumstances above, you will need full permits. You also will want to hire a general contractor. It will be more expensive, time-consuming, and generally a larger headache if you try to hire everyone on your own unless you already have people you know and trust such as a carpenter, electrician and plumber.

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