How To Figure Out The Layout Of Your Healthy Home Renovation or New Home Build

By: Kate HambletSeptember 28, 2021

You've probably heard me say this 100 times by now, but every healthy home renovation or new home build project must start with determining your goals and intentions. You need to determine your purpose to successfully create the healthy home you've been imagining. 

But then what?!

What do you do after you have your goals figured out and your purpose statement nailed down?

Now it's time to define your program of spaces for your home.  This is where you'll turn your vision (your goals and purpose statement) into real rooms and spaces.

Designing a healthy home renovation or new home is a step-by-step process.  So let's look at the next step in designing your home: Creating a Program of Spaces.


What is the Program of Spaces?

It is a list of rooms (indoor and outdoor), adjacencies and room sizes that you need to meet your project goals.

And to figure it out you're going to dive even deeper, ask yourself and your family even more questions, create more lists and eventually come up with your Program of Spaces.

You will be figuring out exactly what's going to happen in your house, how you plan to use it, what you like to do or don't like to do. You'll be referring back to your goals and intentions, but also using more questions to prompt other ideas for function, size, etc.

These are things you've probably been thinking about for a long time: 

  • What rooms do you want?
  • What rooms should be near each other or far away from each other? 
  • What activities will happen in the house?

Now it's time to get all these thoughts down on paper in an organized way.

Why Is The Program Important?

The more you can narrow down what you want and don't want, the better your house will fit your needs.

If you've already started the design process, or have been through it before, you might have noticed yourself saying, 'I never thought of that!'

And you don't want to be saying that right before construction begins.

You want to be saying that as early as possible.  The best time would be in this preparation phase, before you even begin designing your house on paper.

It's important to know that it's ok if you change your mind later!  What you put down for your program isn't set in stone.  You'll have more time to think about your design, and the design will likely evolve.  But the clearer you get now, the less drastic the changes will be, and the more confident you'll be throughout the whole process.

How To Create Your Program of Spaces



List out all the activities that'll happen in and around your house.  Think about your spatial needs, what rooms should be near each other or far away from each other, how the house will be used in the future. Write it all down. Make a list.

What to do:

  • Do the list alone at first.  Then share with other members of the house.
  • Let others do the brainstorming list as well and then see how they align.
  • Kids could have a lot of fun with this. And they'll make your house more fun with their dreamy, fun-focused ideas.

Here are some questions to get you started:

  • What activities will happen in and around the house?
  • How many people will use the spaces?
  • How much room do these spaces and activities need?
  • Which rooms should be near each other or far away from each other? 
  • How do you plan to use the space in the future (flexibility and growth)
  • What structural, mechanical and electrical needs will you have?

Download my FREE Client Questionnaire that is full of questions to spark ideas for your program of spaces.


Check For Alignment

Cross reference your newly created list with your Purpose Statement.

Make sure they align.

For example: Did you write down you want a swimming pool, but your purpose statement said you want your house to be maintenance free?  It's certainly possible to have a pool and not have to do maintenance yourself.  

But the point here is double check your ideas, and give pause to things that might seem to be in conflict. It doesn't mean you can't have a pool, but you might need to do additional things to make sure having the pool aligns with your purpose.

Don't forget to discuss your ideas with anyone who will be living in the house with you! They might have ideas you didn't think of, and be a sounding board for some extravagant ideas (that would be my husband for me).


Create Your Program of Spaces List

Now you can start to pull together the list of rooms you need and how big they need to be.

The list should include:

  • Room name
  • Room location 
  • Adjacencies to other spaces
  • Room size (approximate)
  • Room activities
  • Amount of people using the room and when
  • Specific structural, mechanical or electrical needs for the activities of the room

If you know what's happening in each room, you can start to get an idea of how big the room needs to be. This is how you start figuring out how big your house is going to be. 

Final Thoughts

I know how tempting it is to jump right into sketching out your design ideas on paper.

But try to resist the urge until after you've taken the time to create your Purpose Statement and your Program of Spaces.

You will save so much time and energy in the design process if you take the time up front to nail down how your house should function.

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