When Jake and I sit down to design a new home plan, we start with square footage. We put all of the features that we desire, then we get rid of as much dead space as possible. We know houses have to have hallways, but there are ways to shorten them and make them as useful as possible. By doing a few things like this, we are able to get more bang for our buck. Afterall, the main factor when bidding a house plan is square footage. There is simply no way to get around square footage. Elegant or ugly, you still have to pay for square footage. As you browse through www.theplancollection.com take notice of the designers ability to use space wisely. Some designers place a lot of emphasis on use of space, and others just like to show off their artistic license. Many house plans that are well designed aren't as colorful and flashy as some of the artisitic styles, but a lot of the well designed homes are the black and white plans. Take your time and really look how the designer uses space. There are many 1600 square foot homes that will feel like 2000 square feet. Others that are 2000 square feet could really be 1600 square feet. From a builder's point of view, I look at square footage first.