Get The Most From Your New Home: Small Details That Make A Big Difference

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The world of custom home building is as diverse as the families we serve. What one family deems critical, another may find completely unimportant for their lifestyle. With no single ‘one-size-fits-all’ layout, the question lingers—what does a functional home look like? The answer lies not within the designs themselves but rather in the unique needs and lifestyles of those who inhabit them. From a bustling household of rambunctious kids to a retiree seeking peace and solitude, each will require different room layouts and features. When you contact Meyer Builders, your functional house plans will begin with a thorough evaluation of your situation so every detail is catered to the demands of your daily life.

What Is Functional Home Design?Functional Home Design by Meyer Builders

Functional Home Design is an approach many interior designers and architects employ that emphasizes optimal utilization and smart organization of space to create elegant, comfortable, and efficient living spaces. A key aspect of Functional Home Design is judiciously using every inch of space, ensuring that the home doesn’t feel cramped but seamlessly flows with ample room for homeowners to thrive. The ultimate goal is to create a home that looks good and works well for those living there, embodying comfort, simplicity, and convenience in its design. With thoughtful planning and design from Meyer Builders, you can create a living space that brilliantly combines aesthetic appeal with practical functionality.

Using Virtual Reality In Functional Interior Design

We’ve recently seen a significant surge in interest in our 3D rendering services at Meyer Builders. 3D renderings can bring your vision to life before the first brick is laid. The first step in this process is to consider functionality. While it’s exciting to dream about a beautiful home’s aesthetics, the design’s practicality should be the primary focus. Here, 3D renderings can assist you in creating a floor plan that fits your current and future needs. This process lets you pinpoint non-functional areas and get a visual understanding of how all spaces in your house will interact with each other. You can determine if you want an open-plan house or rooms branching off a central hallway, decide the number of stories, and include outdoor areas in your plan.

To get a realistic picture of your floor plan, 3D renderings allow you to design to scale, incorporate current or future furniture, and spot potential issues like wasted space, oversized rooms, or poor flow throughout the house. Virtual reality also proves instrumental for interior design. It helps you understand room connectivity, position doors and windows optimally for the best light and airflow, and foresee the eventual foot traffic within the house. They allow you to experiment with wall colors and furniture placements and see how natural light falls within the rooms. The 3D rendering software we use at Meyer Builders has helped countless clients make functional design decisions, saving them significant time and money.

Functional Home Design By Room

Have you ever found yourself in a room that exudes a sense of comfort, calm, and balance? A room that just feels right? More often than not, it’s the result of a simple yet functional interior design. Ultimately, while your home from Meyer Builders should (and will!) be beautiful, it has to function first. Here are some practical details to consider when designing each room of your house:

Master Bedroom

Often overlooked due to its simplicity, the bedroom is one of the most vital rooms in a home. A well-designed floor plan can provide you with everything you desire within the space available. Here are some tips to help maximize your bedroom space:

  1. Furniture Layout: The bed is a central piece of your daily life and dictates the placement of every other element in the bedroom. When you work with Meyer Builders, we typically use placeholder furniture in a print so you can get an idea of the scale and the size. If you know the dimensions of your bed, dresser, nightstands, and other bedroom furniture, we can get ideas for how to arrange the layout best.
  2. Plan for Simple Circulation: Many hotels employ this effective strategy of placing circulation paths on one side of the room. Make sure to create spaces alongside the bed for nightstands and enough circulation space around the mattress. This simple but efficient floor plan can be slightly tricky to manage in en-suite rooms or bedrooms with outdoor access. However, smart placement of the bathroom and closet can help save space.
  3. Focus on the View: A pleasant initial view immediately enhances a bedroom’s appeal. Design your bedroom layout strategically so your bed has the best possible point of view.
  4. Privacy: It’s an added bonus if you can leave the bedroom door open without forfeiting all your privacy. Create a small foyer or separation zone to shield your bedroom from more public spaces such as the living room, kitchen, or family room.
  5. Window Size: The layout and size of your windows will impact your bed placement. If you have a wall in the bedroom where you will never place a bed, you can do six-foot-high windows that are three feet wide. You can do a big run of them, whereas if the bed is going to be on that wall, then you probably would only want two five-foot-tall windows, only 30 inches wide, so you have room for a nightstand underneath the window itself. Large windows increase the perceived space but also allow more natural light into the room. A set of French doors can work wonders in achieving this effect, especially if your bedroom is on the ground floor or has an adjacent terrace.


When it comes to designing a mudroom, function is often the top priority. Constructing a functional and stylish mudroom in a limited space of about 200 sq ft is possible. The key lies in clever design and zoning.

The first strategy in designing a compact and functional mudroom is to divide the room into functional zones. Designing with zones in mind can streamline storage and organization while boosting the room’s workflow.

  1. Custom Mud Room Cubbies: This is a universal necessity for families with pets, kids, or active lifestyles, providing a dedicated space for coats, shoes, backpacks, and sports equipment. Having outlets in each cubby for phone charging and another one by the door for vacuuming or using small tools is a smart move. Keep the room bright with the help of large windows, glass front doors, and recessed ceiling lights.
  2. Clothing Zone: Dedicated clothing areas for each family member can house coats, boots, and backpacks. It’s practical to add shoe storage below and bins for mittens and hats above. Also, consider tall cabinets on either side of the cubbies for concealing out-of-season gear.
  3. Workspace Zone: This is an area for daily tasks. A durable, heat, and scratch-resistant quartz countertop acts as a multifunctional drop zone. It’s beneficial to have a dedicated key and mail holder placed conveniently close to the door.
  4. Seating Zone: Having somewhere to sit and put on shoes is essential. The inclusion of a large bench with a window can also double up as a cozy reading nook.
  5. Cleaning Zone: The inclusion of a cleaning zone is beneficial for homes with children, pets, and gardening enthusiasts. A deep, undermount stainless steel sink is perfect for washing large household items, plant pots, or muddy boots.
  6. Food Zone: Some mudrooms can also incorporate extra kitchen storage, akin to a mini butler’s pantry. With a built-in freezer and extra cupboards, it becomes a handy place to store additional food and appliances.

Also, selecting durable materials for the mudroom is as crucial as the layout. The space should withstand high traffic and usage. Opt for easy-to-clean ceramic tile floors in a herringbone pattern rather than wood floors. Besides adding visual interest, such a floor also hides dirt well. Consider installing underfloor heating for added comfort during cold months.

Laundry Room

Creating a functional and stylish laundry room can seem challenging, especially if you’re dealing with limited space. Yet, with some careful planning, you can turn even a limited space into a highly efficient and aesthetically pleasing laundry area. In a typical scenario, it may be vital to have a utility sink, ample laundry-folding space, a shelf for laundry supplies, a hanging rod, a drying rack, space for a small trash can, and room for laundry baskets. By carefully considering all your wants and needs, creating a highly functional laundry room within a limited space of about 8×8 feet is possible.

  1. Upstairs Laundry: One design feature you may not have considered is an upstairs laundry room. Its strategic placement gives you easy access to the laundry room closer to the bedrooms, saving trips down the stairs and cutting down on chore time.
  2. Plumbing and Venting: Take into account the practicalities of existing plumbing and venting because these factors will more than likely determine the placement of your washer and dryer. The room layout, door placement, and size are other key elements that will influence your decisions.
  3. Cleaning Storage Solutions: Whether you intend to store your brooms, cleaning supplies, pet food, or use the room for soaking and ironing clothes, each function should be thought about and planned for.
  4. Washer and Dryer Placement: A smart idea would be to place your washer and dryer on the longest wall of the room. This arrangement creates room on either side, allowing you to put a utility sink to the left of the washing machine for easy transitioning of clothes from soaking to washing.

For those with front-loading washers and dryers, building a counter on top of the appliances not only provides space for folding laundry but also gives the room a neat look. Extending it to the far wall on the right can create room for a small trash can, making waste disposal convenient.


The kitchen is the heart of the home, so this is the place where functional home design should not be overlooked. Here are some design decisions you may not have considered but will make a big difference:

  1. Dishwasher Placement: You might have been in a house for 20 years where the dishwasher was on the left, and if you design a new house where it’s on the right, you’d be amazed how much it will throw you off! Consider how the dishwasher placement will affect reaching and bending on a daily basis.
  2. Sink Layout: Do you want your soap dispenser and disposal switch near the sink? Are you right-handed or left-handed? Do you want to reach for the soap and faucet with your right hand or do you have to reach for the garbage disposal button? It’s amazing how those little details can impact the practicality of your kitchen.
  3. Kitchen Cabinets: How do you want the kitchen cabinets to function? Consider “Costco Doors” that open from the garage to the pantry add great convenience to your grocery unloading process. With the rise in grocery delivery services, discussions about delivery lockboxes for groceries are also gaining momentum in custom home design.
  4. Gas Line Orientation: Be aware of your kitchen layout and how gas connections will work, particularly if you have a specific location for your stove in mind. Other areas requiring a gas line, such as your patio and living room for gas fireplaces, should also be considered.
  5. Hidden Outlets: Enhance the look of your kitchen by hiding electrical outlets under the cabinets. This maintains the beauty of your kitchen backsplash and makes appliance plug-in easy. Plenty of outlets, including those incorporating USB ports, under your kitchen cabinets will significantly enhance convenience for device charging as well.
  6. Trash & Recycling Chutes: Some of our clients use trash and recycling chutes in the kitchen, which lead to bins in the garage or outside. This takes convenience to the next level by eliminating the need to take out the trash on a daily basis!

Family Room/Great Room

When it comes to designing the perfect home, every detail matters. From the placement of outlets to the orientation of the garage, every element plays a significant role in creating a functional living space that meets your needs and desires. Let’s explore five key design features that can make a world of difference in your home.

  1. Plan for Artwork: We’ve had customers that have artwork that they want to bring to the new home. In one case, the mantle had to be at a certain height to accommodate the size of a painting. Other clients wanted to bring a special old piece of furniture to the house, so we had to position the window at the right height above it. This is where our 3D renderings really help to plan the interior walls.
  2. Outlet Placement: The placement of your outlets can significantly influence the functionality of each room. You want be sure enough outlets with surge protectors are available to accommodate your sensitive electronics in the living room.
  3. Built-ins: One functional great room innovation is the use of built-in furniture. How about turning an otherwise plain wall into a functional built-in desk or adding custom bookshelves for a personal library? It offers a sleek, streamlined aesthetic and allows you to organize your space perfectly according to your needs.
  4. Door Type: The type of door you choose can affect your home’s aesthetics and functionality. Whether you opt for pocket doors, sliding glass doors, or traditional ones, consider their efficiency, appearance, function, and how they fit into your home’s overall design.
  5. Room Orientation and Sunlight: The orientation of each room can greatly impact the atmosphere of your home. By considering factors such as where the sun rises and sets, you can make the most of natural light in your living spaces.


You may not think about your bathrooms when it comes to functionality, but a well-planned layout that suits your personal preferences is the key to a successful bathroom remodel or new build. Answering key questions about usage and storage requirements can help you craft the perfect layout that is both practical and attractive.

  1. Who, How, and Where: Who will use the bathroom? Will it accommodate morning rush hours between two adults? Perhaps it’s for occasional guests, or maybe it’s primarily for children who may need assistance. The ‘who’ will significantly dictate the ‘how’—what activities will dominate the bathroom’s daily use?
  2. Bathroom Lifestyle: Your lifestyle will determine essential features in your bathroom, from requiring a place to sit and apply makeup to housing laundry facilities or bathing a pet. The storage of toiletries, cosmetics, and other items will impact your open floor space and influence your decisions on shower size, sink numbers, and more.
  3. Storage: One essential aspect often overlooked in bathroom design is storage. Regardless of your bathroom size, ample storage solutions are always a plus. From vanity cabinets to toilet surrounds, over-door shelving, or a recessed medicine cabinet, smart storage can significantly enhance your bathroom’s functionality.
  4. Bathroom Lighting: We understand that you may want mood lighting in the bathroom, but keep your options open if you ever decide you want more light. We often tell our clients to overlight their bathrooms rather than underlight them if they have a vanity fixture, and it will give them options in the future.

Functional Smart Home Features

Your design aesthetic doesn’t have to sacrifice technological advancements. A fully integrated smart home is no longer the stuff of science fiction—it’s a reality that’s more affordable and accessible than ever before. With the explosion of smart home devices and technology, Meyer Builders is experienced in designing smart homes that convert your humble abode into a high-tech haven that enhances security, promotes energy efficiency, and simplifies everyday tasks.

  1. Voice Control: Many smart devices allow you to use simple voice commands to control devices and appliances throughout your home. You can preset voice commands to control multiple smart home features simultaneously. For example, saying “Goodnight,” could trigger your smart home to switch off lights, secure smart locks, and arm the security alarm.
  2. Smart Security: Smart home security systems, including devices like smart security cameras, smart door locks, and motion sensors, bolster your home’s security around the clock. Real-time alerts inform you of suspicious activity, enabling you to act swiftly in emergencies.
  3. Lighting Automation: Smart lightbulbs simplify the task of managing your home’s lighting. You can set routines, use voice commands, and even monitor your lights from afar. This feature not only offers convenience but also promotes energy efficiency.
  4. Smart Temperature Control: Smart thermostats help conserve energy and reduce costs. These devices allow you to customize temperature settings for each room and manage them remotely, ensuring comfort for all family members.
  5. Smart Appliances: Similarly, smart appliances, such as ovens, refrigerators, washers and dryers, simplify daily chores. You can preheat your oven or start your laundry right before reaching home, or even peek inside your refrigerator while grocery shopping!
  6. Automated Window Treatments: Automated window treatments allow you to manage blinds and curtains with simple voice commands or according to a preset schedule, enhancing not only convenience but also security by creating the illusion of occupancy.
  7. Central Vacuum Systems: A central vacuum system, a feature often overlooked, can make cleaning easy and keep your home tidy seamlessly. Think of it as a luxury feature that simplifies everyday chores.
  8. Eco-Friendly: Last but not least, to build a home that’s kind to the environment, consider sustainable choices like energy-efficient lighting, solar panels, and smart appliances. Opting for eco-friendly promises significant energy savings along with the opportunity for many tax incentive programs. For more information, read our article about creating eco-friendly homes.

Feel The Functional Home Difference With Meyer Builders

At times, it’s the smaller design elements that are often overlooked, creating a domino effect of issues down the line that can lead to wasted time, unplanned changes, and increased costs. Whether you’re designing your Lake Michigan beach house or a cozy cabin in Kettle Moraine, these seemingly mundane details will have an incredible impact on your daily enjoyment of your home. The team of experts at Meyer is here to ensure that no detail of your design falls through the cracks. You have enough to handle between work, family, and everyday life demands. Contact Meyer Builders today to lighten your load with a custom home built just for you!

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