House Design Floor Plans or House Elevation? Which comes first in Designing your House?

What should be Designed first, the House Plans or the Elevation? What is the right approach to this conundrum?

We come across this very important discussion during the time, we decide on Building our Dream Home. Should we get the Front Elevation designed first or should we concentrate on the Floor Plans, while designing our house. It’s like a chicken and egg situation, which should come first?

There are two typical theories in Architectural Design and House Design, the first one states that ” Form Follows Function”, that is, the Form of the building will be derived out of the function of the building, hence once the Layout, the floor plans are designed and meet all our requirements, that itself will create the Form or Elevation of the House. In this scenario the House is Designed with the Floor Plans being made first.

The second theory states that “Function follows Form”, that is, the function is derived out of the geometric form of the building, so in short we may take up a particular Elevation of a House and use that Elevation to fit our requirements. In this scenario the House is Designed backwards, wherein the Elevation is designed first and the floor plans are made to fit into the design.

So, what is better. Well its an open debate and anyone can be wiser, but in our experience and in particular to a House Design, its important that we give more preference to the Functionality and usability of space and then provide appropriate Elevation for aesthetics. However the ideal scenario would be wherein both these activities can go parallely to arrive at a solution that meets both the requirements without much compromise.

I still would like to Design the Floor Plans First, based on user requirements, space utilization, vastu principles, location of toilets, kitchen, bedrooms, etc. with proper ventilation and privacy. Once these living spaces are meeting all the requirements, then design the Elevation or Front Elevation to add aesthetics to the building. Most of the times, the way we Design the Floor Plans, the Form of the building automatically comes out to be pleasing, beautiful and natural. We just add few elements like cladding, pergolas, railing, copings, etc. to enhance the already beautiful house a little bit more or to meet the client’s requirements.

Sometimes if we try and Design the house with the Elevation or Form of the House being finalised first, we may encounter dead spaces, or rooms at in-appropriate locations or compromising the ventilation. Its better, then to First Design the Floor Plans and then Design the appropriate elevation or if possible do both simultaneously.

A Simple House designed for your requirements will be more useful and enjoyable than the one Designed for only looks or for passersby.

You can contact HouZone if you wish your House to be Designed as per your requirements and needs, HouZone provides customized house designs, floor plans, etc. for a very affordable pricing.


About the Author:

Author is an Architect with more than 16 years of vast experience in House Design and Construction across India & abroad, he is an IIT Graduate and visiting Professor to Architectural Colleges. You can contact him at