It may seem surprising, but a luxury home doesn't have to be a 4,000-square-foot-plus mansion. Houses of 3000 to 3500 square feet are large enough to create a luxury home that can suit almost any family. Features such as high ceilings, an expansive master suite, home office, media room, or separate guest space can easily fit in an upper-mid-size home plan.
Many of today's luxury homes have added features during construction when the home finishes are selected. With well-designed floor plans and wonderful interior finishes, many of today's luxury homes are in the 3000–3500-square-foot range. So if you have a family with a couple to a few children and you're looking for stylish digs, here are some considerations for choosing one of these upper-mid-size houses.
The iconoclastic center-hall Colonial home, with its front porch and central forward-facing gable, evokes the typical farmhouse and is just right for a growing family. At just over 3,000 sq. ft., this 4- to 5-bedroom, 3.5-bath home plan is the perfect upper-mid-size home (Plan #141-1287).
Choosing an Upper-Mid-Size Home Plan
When choosing your luxury home plan, it's wise to spend some time making a wish list. While a home's appearance might be just your style, how it functions for your family is equally, if not more, important. Make a list of your absolute needs first – like a separate home office, large kitchen, or split bedroom plan. Deciding on the location of the Master Suite is very important – some people like the privacy of a second-floor master suite. However, if you're planning to "age in place" in the home, a first-floor master suite might be best.
Next, make a list of "wants" – perhaps a soaking tub, a game room, or a three-car garage. Think of your favorite activities and hobbies. If you love to garden or have kids running around the yard, you might want a large back porch. Maybe a man cave is at the top of his list. Many upper-mid-size homes have bonus rooms or a home office. You may decide to use the area instead for a home gym or craft room. Now you can start searching! Search first for the features you need, and then narrow down plans further by architectural style or layout. Be sure to consider your lot size and shape as well. In some neighborhoods, lot sizes are getting smaller, as people are gravitating toward a New Urban style – walkable, village-style neighborhoods.
"Urban Style" neighborhoods – where lot sizes are small and grouped together in clusters and are sometimes interspersed with retail establishments – appeal to Baby Boomers and Millennials alike and are becoming more popular. They harken back to the kind of community that thrived before automobiles came along.
Square footage and floor plan are the first decisions that new home buyers focus on. Floor plans as large as 5 bedrooms can easily fit into a 3,500-square-foot home's design. Luxury home plans will usually incorporate more bathrooms so that fewer people have to share one. A powder room for guests is another nice touch. Think about the ages of children and how long you plan to keep the home. If you have small children and plan to keep the home until they're all grown, then you'll have a busy household. Extra bathrooms are a worthwhile luxury. Some couples even prefer his and her bathrooms.
Split bedroom plans are popular with both families and retirees. With the master suite and family/guest bedrooms at opposite ends of the home, you'll have the luxury of privacy.
With the grand master suite on the left, the other 3 bedrooms on the right, and the common areas of the kitchen, keeping room, and great room in between, the sleeping areas – especially the master suite – are guaranteed their privacy (Plan #142-1151).
For empty-nesters and retirees, it's practical to be able to close off unused rooms and set the temperature at a very efficient setting. A separated guest suite not only provides privacy for occasional guests, but it's also convenient for long term guests or can be a room for a caretaker or even an income-producing rental.
Many upper-mid-size home plans are designed for energy efficiency. You can make upgrades during the construction of your home to make it even more attractive, comfortable, and efficient. On-demand water heaters and radiant floor heating systems are luxury home upgrades that cost a bit more upfront, but they save money over time. Plus, your feet will stay toasty warm all year, and you'll never run out of hot water! Put an on-demand heater under the kitchen sink, and have instant hot water for tea and cooking.
Structural upgrades include increased insulation in the attic and thicker 2x6 exterior walls; installing brick, stone, or fiber-cement siding; and incorporating energy-efficient cool roof shingles.
Homes in the 3,000–3,500-sq.-ft. range often includes upgraded structural aspects like brick and/or stone siding – as in this 5-bedroom, 4-bath, 3,062-sq.ft. European style home plan – and increased insulation in 2x6-framed exterior walls (Plan #195-1014).
High-end, durable flooring material is both a luxury home choice and a practical one. There are so many beautiful wood, laminate, and luxury vinyl floors to choose from, and many of them are guaranteed to last 20 years or more. Porcelain tile, slate, or other hard-surface floorings may be used in the kitchen, entry, and/or bathroom areas. These floors stand up best to wet environments and high-traffic areas and will last decades. Carpet can be expected to last 7 to 10 years, but its softness is popular for bedrooms. Finishing the main living areas in a luxury flooring product instantly upgrades the look of the home. It also means you won't have the expense of replacing flooring for a long time.
There's plenty of room for a fireplace in home plans of this size. While they're usually found in living areas like a great room, hearth room, or living room, a fireplace is a popular luxury upgrade in a master suite. Add a stone or tile facade to the fireplace surround, and incorporate media for an elegant, dramatic space.
Separating the sleeping area from the sitting area in this luxurious master bedroom suite, a partial room-dividing wall contains both a fireplace and a large TV – great appointments for a master bedroom. The fireplace is a dual-sided type that also faces the sitting area.
Homebuilders will often give their clients a package of lighting to choose from or an allowance to spend. The choices are often limited, and if you use the lighting allowance and shop independently, you can create a more personal, high-end look.
Start with beautiful ceiling fixtures and add wall sconces and cove lights for elegance and efficiency. Work with your kitchen designer and electrician to add some wow-factor to your interior lighting plan. Take your lighting ideas outside and add some lighting to the landscape to highlight your new home's architecture.
Elegant lighting choices in this French Country style kitchen include understated yet graceful hanging pendants for task lighting over the eating bar/work island, recessed ambient lighting, and under-cabinet lighting (Plan #109-1059).
Luxury Master Suite
Consider a large master suite with a sitting area for a private getaway.
Set into a bright three-sided bump-out with large windows, the sitting area in a master bedroom is ideal for quiet reading time or relaxation before bedtime (Plan #165-1051).
A luxury Master Bath usually has dual sinks, a separate tub and shower, and a water closet. Spa-like amenities, like marble countertops, luxurious walk-in showers, and high-end tile, add extra luxury to a master bath design.
This gloriously luxurious master bath has all the earmarks of the ideal pampering and preparation space for a couple to get ready for work in the morning or bedtime at night – or any time in between – with its large shower, rainfall and conventional showerheads, beautiful tile, and dual vanities, one out of view (Plan #106-1283).
Steam showers and soaking tubs are a great way to end the day. Many people are making showers larger and handicap-accessible when they build a home, so they can continue to live there through old age.
The ultimate in spa-like luxury, this multi-spray shower with room for two if you like is lined with an oversize soft-patina porcelain tie. The teak flooring is easy on the feet and ensures a well-drained surface of almost no chance of slippage (photo source: Kohler Company).
Well-planned storage can make an upper-mid-size home seem much larger. Custom shelving, especially in the master suite, makes use of every inch of space.
Working with an interior designer, or closet specialist, during construction is well worth the expense. A professional will help you take stock of your wardrobe and storage needs and plan storage throughout the home accordingly. An efficiently organized home makes a living in less square footage easy.
Kids' closets and laundry/mudroom areas can also benefit from good organization to help keep backpacks, sports equipment, and coats easy to find and off the floor.
This great mudroom organization treatment has everything one needs when going out to or coming in from the outside: a comfortable place to sit to put on or take off shoes/boots; hanging space for hats, jackets, and sweaters; and closed storage for a multitude of incidentals (photo source: Elkay Cabinets).
Keep clutter under control, and have attractive storage for books, media, games, and toys with a built-in library in the den or living room:
No matter which home design you choose, the kitchen is the family hub. A custom kitchen not only functions better, but it's also an opportunity to add upgrades and luxury touches. Large islands with barstools are popular. Many upper-mid-size homes still have space for a breakfast area with a table and chairs. In an open concept floor plan, the dining area is close by, so barstools provide plenty of seating for breakfast and snacks.
Kitchen finishes are one of the easiest luxury upgrades – a beautiful tile backsplash, marble or granite counters, and custom cabinet finishes that you'll choose during the construction process make your home uniquely yours.
Other popular custom kitchen features include pot filler faucets by the stove, a baking station with all the supplies at hand, a coffee bar, and even refrigerator drawers. Putting all the kids' snacks and drinks in a convenient drawer is a great way to ease traffic flow in the kitchen.
If you plan to stay in the home during retirement, adding some age-friendly universal design features to the kitchen is a great idea. Just a few small changes, such as varying counter heights and easy-access cabinets, will make it much easier to age in place in your new custom kitchen.
This modern kitchen has many special custom details, such as the quartz-topped island and countertops, under-cabinet lighting that supplements the high-intensity recessed lights, black walnut cabinetry with a unique wall of cabinets on the left, professional-quality 48-in. range (with griddle and multi-mode convection), and ventilation hood, and oversize sink with goose-neck faucet along with a vegetable sink in the island (Plan #202-1025).
Luxury Without the Mansion
With a carefully chosen home plan, a mid-sized home of 3000-3500 square feet can easily include everything on the wish list. A growing family can have all of the storage and kitchen space they need and a quiet master suite retreat with all of the amenities. Active empty-nesters and retirees can handle visitors with plenty of guest space and still have that home office or large garage they need to pursue their hobbies.
With your wish list handy, click here to find your perfect home plan.
Footnote: the lead image for this article shows upper-mid-size homes just right for growing families – top left: 3-bedroom, 4.5-bath Craftsman style home (Plan #180-1047); top right: 4-bedroom, 3-bath, 2-half-bath Farmhouse (#120-2176); bottom left: 4-bedroom, 3.5-bath European style home (#142-1151); bottom right shown in the article.