How to Create the PERFECT Log Cabin Floor Plan
You’ve spent years dreaming of this stage in your life.
You have snippets of log home magazines, endless Pinterest boards and reams of inspiration for your dream log cabin.
But hold it right there! You’re so close to being able to think about all the interior detail, trust me, you are!
But firstly, you need to strip everything back and design your floorplan.
The floorplan will either make or break your log cabin home.
The level of detail you put into your floorplan in the design process, really will shine through in your finished home. So don’t rush this step, however tempting it is to start thinking about your colour scheme, and furniture!
So, what exactly is it that makes a good floor plan?
Let us walk you through all the steps it takes to create a successful floorplan which meets both your practical needs and your dream log home expectations.
Step 1 – Budget
Before you can even begin to start your floorplan, you need to know what your budget is so you can think about size as you plan.
Make sure you plan your costs thoroughly and include all the following aspects:
- Site preparation and foundations
- Utilities and services
- Timber and Roof
- Windows, Door and Fixings
- Tools and Equipment
- Interior Furnishings and Appliances
Step 2 – Where?
It is impossible to start a floorplan, without knowing where your log cabin will be situated.
If you don’t yet know where you will be building, it is too early to start designing your floorplan! If you are still in the process of looking for somewhere to build your log cabin, make sure you know how to select the perfect log cabin location.
When you are making your floorplan, you need to consider the access arrangements on your land so you can decide where your log cabin will be situated.
Is there a particular spot you want your front door to go in relation to the land?
What about your windows? Which views do you want to be able to see the most?
Also think about trees or any other obstructions that might block your natural light, think about the orientation of your cabin to make sure you make the most of the sun.
Step 3 – Space Management
How much space do you need?
For this, you will need to consider how many people will be living in the log home, what will its purpose be – solely a family home, or will you be doing a lot of entertaining?
Did you know that over the last 40 years, living space per person has doubled according to the American Enterprise Institute!
To get an accurate idea of how much space you will need, think about each room individually.
Make a list of all the rooms or areas (if you’re opting for an open plan space) you want in your log home.
Do you want a utility room, a mud room, how many bathrooms will you need? Only you can know all the different areas you want your home to contain, I’m sure you already have a pretty good idea!
Once you have made your list, decide how much furniture will be going into each room? Measure everything that you want in the room, and don’t forget to leave at least 3 foot of space around the furniture for access.
It helps to micro-plan every space, in every room. Set yourself a thorough list of questions to make sure you allow for the space you need.
Example – Master Bedroom
King size Bed 66.5″ H x 82″ D
Dresser 54″ H x 38″ W x 19″ D
(X2) Nightstands 27″ H x 24″ W x 16″ D
The Armoire (Wardrobe) 56.25″ H x 52″ W x 24″ D
Vanity Set 54″ H x 43″ W x 19″ D
Once you know your furniture dimensions, make a rough sketch and label each piece of furniture with its dimension. I recommend leaving at least 3 foot, in-between each piece to make sure you have enough space to walk around and for ease of access.
The total space I need for all the above furniture, and paths of travel, is 20 x 15ft, which gives me a decent master bedroom size of 300 square foot.
Step 4 – Features
Are there any specific features that you long to have in your log home?
Do you want a huge brick fireplace?
A wide, swirling staircase?
An extravagant kitchen for hosting parties?
Make a wish-list of all the architectural features you want to include and order them into priority.
You can then check these against your budget and see if it is realistic to include them all.
Step 5 – Lifestyle and Function
Your lifestyle will shape the very foundation of log cabin.
The way in which you want your log cabin to function on a day-to-day basis is one of the most important things to consider when designing your floorplan.
You will already have a good idea of the rooms and spaces you want in your log home, from working your way through the ‘space’ step.
Now is the time to think about how all those rooms will work together, what their relationships to one another will be.
- Consider whether you want an open plan living space, or separate rooms?
Most log homes work well with a large open space, so if you opt for this, you need to think about your floor space in terms of areas.
- Consider adjacencies- do you need particular rooms to be close to each other, for example, the dining space and the kitchen area?
Are there any rooms that you definitely don’t want close to each other, for example, the entertaining space and the master bedroom?
- Think about public vs private spaces. Do you want your living space to be completely open plan, or do you need a separate space for your home office?
Your private spaces – your bedrooms, bathrooms and guest rooms, how will you separate those from the public space, do you want them to be at opposite ends of the house?
A good way to make decisions on public vs private areas, is to think about noise, will you be able to hear the television in the living space, from your bedroom?
- You need to make sure that you have enough space for paths of travel, don’t let your travel paths be an afterthought. If rooms or areas don’t flow well, change them around.
As I mentioned earlier, leave at least 3 foot of space for your travel paths.
- Sightlines! What do you want to be able to see from each area within your log cabin? Do you want the dining area to be visible from the kitchen? Make sure the line of sight you want, will not be blocked off by a piece of furniture or a wall.
- The last thing to consider is Feng Shui – the practise of placing and arranging your environment so that energy flows gently and smoothly around your home.
The Disney Theme Park in Shanghai was built after consultation with Feng Shui masters!
Step 6 – Compromise
Are there areas that you may need to compromise with?
Is your budget limited? Do you want things that may not be practical for a family home, for example a beautiful staircase with no banister?
Choose practicality over beauty, unless you can combine the two!
Step 7 – Scale Drawings
Now it’s time to start your scale drawings. You should already have a good grasp on you square footage, from carrying out Step 3 – the space step.
There are many different ways to do this, you can use the good of paper and pencil method, which may take you a little longer and is not as easy to change.
A really good technique that you can use if you do prefer hand drawing, is to draw all of your furnishing and appliances to scale, and then move them around on a piece of paper, to establish the best room size and shape.
Alternatively, the easier option is to use an online programme. There are plenty available, this is my favourite.
Keep in mind that the most common scale to use is ¼ inch = 1 foot, although you can work with a different scale. The important thing is, to remain consistent throughout the whole plan.
Step 8 – Floor Plan
So – here comes the fun part! It’s time to actually create the floor plan!
By now you will know exactly what rooms and areas you want to include, the sizes and shapes of these areas and how they will all link together so it should be pretty straight forward to get your ideas into a design.
I always begin by sketching a few rough options onto paper, not working with scales, just concentrating of room relationships.
Once you have a good idea of the type of layout you want you can start designing your plan.
These are the things you will need to include in your floorplan:
- Walls (Exterior and Interior)
- Room shapes and sizes
- Plumbing gas and sewage lines
- Electrical outlets
- Architectural Features
Step 9 – Share with Friends
Don’t keep your ideas under wraps!
As tempting as it may be to keep them to yourself and have a great unveiling at the end – your family may not thank you if the space doesn’t work for them.
By sharing and discussing the floorplan, you can get other ideas and opinions to help you create a more suitable and practical space to live in.
You children may have suggestions about their own space, you partner may spot something that won’t work quite as you had envisaged.
The more people you can get involved at this stage – the better!
Step 10 – Re-evaluate
Once you have collected all the feedback, it is time to analyse it and decide where changes can be made.
Although you may have the floorplan in your head as a firm idea – this is the perfect time for changes so don’t be reluctant to go back into it and do additional work.
Spending a good amount of time on it now will pay off when you are standing in your dream home in the next year or so!
A floorplan is an essential part of the planning process, but be careful not to jump straight into finalising your ideas.
Make sure you work through each of the important steps, and give proper thought to what you log cabins purpose is and how you want it to work on a day-to-day basis.
It is important to have a realistic and appropriate understanding of what your budget is, and what your size requirements are.
I hope you have enjoyed learning how to create the perfect floorplan and I wish you much success in creating your own!
When I designed my own log cabin, the room I had the most fun designing was the kitchen, which room did you have the most fun with?!