When it comes to choosing an apartment there are countless variables to consider before making a decision. Amenities are one thing, but I’d wager that once you take cost and location out of the equation the floor plan is the most critical decision you have to make. I once lived in a brand new apartment building where there were over 25 different floor plan to choose from…narrowing down the options to what was best for our family (two adults and a newborn on the way) was tricky! Here are some things to consider when choosing the best floor plan for your family:
Number of bedrooms
This is one of the largest options to weigh and it all depends on the size of your family and ages of your children. If your children are able to share a room then you have more flexibility.
Number and size of bathrooms
Some apartment buildings offer large, spa-like master bathrooms while others include tiny full bathrooms not much larger than a powder room. It all comes down to personal preference and whether or not bathrooms are a priority for you. Sharing a bathroom is difficult at first but once you settle into a groove it’s pretty easy to get used to. If you’re the kind of person that must have more than one bathroom in a unit then make sure to keep that in mind when searching for a new apartment.
I’ve lived in apartments that have had balconies and apartments that haven’t. I love having the ability to get some fresh air without having to leave my apartment and often end up feeling claustrophobic if I can only see outside through a window. If you’re similar you may want to try to choose a unit that has a balcony or small patio. Having a place to sit outside, even if it’s just a chair and a tiny bistro table, is such a nice amenity to have.
Single story vs. two story
Some people with young children absolutely do not want a second story to deal with. Alternatively, sometimes having a second story can ease anxiety over having to keep the entire unit ready for company at a moment’s notice.
Often times one of the most frustrating things about apartment living is finding storage space. Once, my husband and I made an apartment floor plan decision strictly based on the closet situation. We knew that we would be there for one year at the most so we sacrificed a balcony and a pretty view for two large closets with ample storage space.
Do you have young children? The bedroom situation changes a lot once you have kids. If you do, try to find a unit that has bedrooms that are away from the main living area. If your children’s bedrooms are too close to the kitchen or living room you may have to be more quiet than you’d like to be when they are napping or asleep for the night. (White noise machines are a great option if that’s not a luxury for you.)
Large vs. small kitchen
Are you an enthusiastic cook? Or do you eat at restaurants or take-out for most meals? Eating habits have a lot to do with the size of kitchen you’ll need. If you enjoy cooking you’ll likely have a lot of cookware and many kitchen tools you’ll need to store, so ample cabinet space is a must. Additionally, apartments are notorious for lacking pantries, so if you really enjoy having a true pantry make sure you take note of the pantry situation before you sign a lease.
When it comes down to it, you almost always have to sacrifice something when choosing an apartment. Most of the time, unless you have an enormous budget, it’s simply not possible to check all the blocks on your wishlist. It’s important that you take the time to jot down your must-haves before you start looking though, otherwise it is easy to get lured by a shiny new apartment with beautiful finishes that may not have the right floor plan for your needs.