photography by Lisa Russman

If your house’s layout and design aren’t working for you anymore, fear not. Changing the layout of your home doesn’t have to be terrifying, and working with an architect to draw up new house plans can allow you to finally get rid of those weirdly shaped rooms or re-envision the flow of your home. If you are ready to change your house’s design, here are some hot new trends that can inspire your plans.

Combining indoor and outdoor living
When the average home size is shrinking, people are learning to live with less while making the most of all of their spaces. This includes the outdoors. More house designs are including outdoor living areas, like sunrooms, rooftop decks, outdoor kitchens, and porches, which expand the home’s functionality. Depending on your climate, you could use these spaces during a significant portion of the year.

And with advances in outdoor audio and video technology, as well as shading and heating products, you can stay comfortable and enjoy these spaces all year-round. Creating house plans that combine these worlds has also never been easier. Foldable and collapsible doors and windows, which are falling in price and rising in variety, help to open up the flow through these spaces and allow you to enjoy the outdoors more of the year.

Backyard getaways
Speaking of the outdoors, many people are finding valuable square footage in their backyard, too. No room inside for your studio or home office? Kids need a place to chill that doesn’t drive you mad? Whether you need extra storage, a workshop, or a space to entertain your friends, backyard sheds and cottages are on the rise. Small, backyard outbuildings are perfect for adding space, functionality, and charm to your home. They can be single or multi-purpose, depending on your needs, and they are an affordable way to add functionality to your house’s layout.

Dual master suites
As parents are aging, many families today are looking for layouts and designs that allow their house to accommodate multiple generations. We are increasingly seeing the inclusion of two master suites in homes, making it easy for blended families to live together while still enjoying privacy and dedicated space.

While you may not need room for your in-laws right away, planning ahead when redesigning your house plans can make things easier down the road. A second master suite can accommodate guests, adult children who haven’t established their households yet, and even renters if you want to make some extra money. Getting creative with your house’s layout can also include a separate entrance if needed

Flex rooms
In today’s economy, more people are looking to get by with less and make smaller spaces work in smarter ways. That means house designs must be more adaptable, including the use of more flexible rooms. Creating areas that can serve two or more purposes allows them to pull double duty or to be easily transformed as future needs change. Perhaps today’s nursery will be tomorrow’s craft room. Or maybe your gym can easily transition to a home office, with the right design.

You can even create raw spaces during the construction of your home, then finish them later, as needs change. For example, when building a garage, consider a design that allows for a second level, which can become an in-law suite, media room, or another type of flexible space later on. Multipurpose and bonus rooms are very popular for a good reason. How could this type of space meet your family’s needs?

These latest trends point to creativity and imagination in how we use the spaces with our homes to create the lives we want to live. How are you using your space? Perhaps a new layout is precisely what you need to turn your house into your dream home.