Questions to Identify Your Needs in a Plan

Outgrown your house? Wishing you had a bonus room (or two) for your changing needs? Do you find yourself wondering if now's the time to build your dream home? Many of us spend a fair amount of time fantasizing about the ideal house. Despite all those daydreams, some folks draw a blank when the time comes to actually turn that dream house into a real house. Relax. This handy questionnaire will help you determine your desires, lifestyles, and priorities for your living space. Fill it out - and ask your family members to do so as well. Your answers will reveal some of your needs and wishes for your living space. And maybe you'll decide it's time to stop dreaming and start building!


  • Do you want an open floor plan or a traditionally divided floor plan?
  • Do you have children, or do you anticipate having any? How many?
  • Will you have live-in help? What accommodations will be required?
  • Will you have frequent overnight guests? Grown children? College students? Grandparents?
  • How often do you entertain? What is the size of a typical gathering at your home?
  • Are there certain rooms that will be primarily used for entertaining?


  • Do you have any preference for a particular style, i.e. Tudor, French country, contemporary, etc.?
  • Do you prefer a one-, two-, or three-story house?
  • Do you desire any particular architectural features, such as bay windows, gables, or French doors?
  • Which exterior siding do you prefer? Brick, stone, shingle, clapboard, stucco?
  • Which roofing material do you prefer? Wood shingle, composite shingle, slate, tile, metal?
  • Which window style do you prefer? Do you require super energy-efficient models or tinted glass?


  • Are there any views you wish to capture?
  • Are there any views to be avoided?
  • Do you want morning light in any rooms or outdoor areas?
  • Do you want sunset views from any particular rooms or outdoor areas?

Outdoor Living

  • Would you like access from a particular room(s) to specific outdoor areas?
  • Do you want a patio? A deck? Will you eat outside? How often?
  • Do you want a built-in grill?
  • Do you want any garden structures or features, such as a gazebo, fountain, or lily pond?
  • Do you want a pool? A hot tub? Sauna? Outdoor shower?

Living Room

  • How would you describe the room you envision?
  • How do you want to use this room?
  • Should it have a view?
  • How many people do you wish to seat comfortably?
  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Do you need storage or display space? What kind?

Family Room

  • How do you want to use this room?
  • How many people do you wish to seat comfortably?
  • Should it have a view?
  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Will you locate the sound system here?


  • Is it open to other rooms? If so, which ones?
  • Is the view important to you?
  • Do you cook frequently? Does more than one person usually cook at the same time?
  • Is low maintenance important?
  • Do you want an eat-in kitchen? Dining at a table, counter, or both?
  • Will you entertain in the kitchen?
  • Do you want a separate breakfast room?
  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Do you prefer a particular style of cabinets?
  • Do you want a butler's pantry and/or food pantry?
  • Do you want a desk/homework area?
  • Will you watch TV here? Play games? Read?
  • Do you want one or two sinks?
  • Do you want a range or a cooktop and wall oven? Additional baking oven? Microwave?
  • Do you want a trash compactor or special recycling area?
  • Do you have a material in mind for the counters? For the floor?
  • Will the secondary entry be here?

Dining Area

  • How do you want to use this room?
  • Do you entertain formally or informally?
  • How frequently will you use this room?
  • How many people do you wish to seat?
  • To which other rooms should it be adjacent?
  • Should it be accessible to outdoor areas?
  • Should it have a view?
  • Could it be used for an additional purpose?
  • What kind of storage will you need?

Home Office

  • Is this a room you desire? Need? Should it be a separate room?
  • What equipment do you anticipate here?
  • Could this double as a guest room?

Master Bedroom

  • Do you prefer the master suite to be located on the first or second floor?
  • Do you want a sitting area or adjoining sitting room?
  • Do you want a fireplace?
  • Is the view important to you?
  • Will you read here? Watch TV?
  • Do you want any built-in furnishings?
  • Do you want access to the outdoors?
  • Do you want a separate dressing room? If so, for use by one or two people?
  • Do you want walk-in closets? If so, for use by one or two people?

Master Bathroom

  • Is the view important to you?
  • Is the amount of natural light important to you?
  • Do you prefer a pedestal or vanity-style sink? Do you want two sinks?
  • What are your storage needs? For cosmetics and hair appliances? For towels?
  • Do you want a shower for two? A steam unit? An oversized whirlpool tub?
  • Do you want a private toilet area? Do you want a bidet?

Additional Bed/Bathrooms

  • How many of each will you need?
  • Can a guestroom serve a dual purpose?
  • What kind of shower/tub combination do you prefer in each?
  • What kind of sinks and storage?

Linen Closet

  • How much space will you require for bedding? Towels? Out-of-season blankets?
  • Will you store anything else here?


  • Will you need rooms in these areas other than for mechanical storage? For a playroom? Workshop? Darkroom? Crafts room?
  • Would you prefer an attached or unattached garage?
  • How many cars do you drive regularly?
  • What are your parking needs in addition to garage spaces?
  • Will you store lawn equipment here? Garden tools?
  • Will you store strollers and bikes, canoes, skis, or other athletic equipment here?

Interior Systems

  • Do you want any built-in systems? Fire alarm, burglar alarm, carbon-monoxide sensors, natural-gas detectors, low-temperature alarm? A built-in safe?
  • Do you want other built-in electronic systems? Stereo? Intercom? Phone system? Lighting? Computer network? Distributed video?
  • Do you want any particular heating/cooling system? Electric, gas, or oil-fired? Radiant-flooring heating? Do you want air filtration? House-wide humidification?
  • Do you want a central vacuum?