Floorplan for development project

14 Replies

Could I please get some feedback on this floorplan?

This is for a duplex- total sq footage is 3200 sq feet. There is one unit on the ground floor and one unit above it. The reason I bought the property was to be utilized as student housing. It's right next to a university which I was told has a shortage of student housing. One idea was to rent out the rooms to students at $700-$800 (all inclusive). Therefor having more bedrooms is going to have a higher ROI. However in saying so, I don't want to build a bad property with an undesirable floorplan. If the student housing plan doesn't float well, I will rent it out as a regular rental. The area has a strong rental market. My question is, is the floorplan unattractive due to the small lounge room and living area size? You can see in the images that there is only 1 bathroom and a small lounge area for 4 bedrooms. Is this impractical? What about perhaps just making the 4th bedroom a lot small to enlarge the living area?

Feedback and thoughts appreciated!


I would say you need two bathrooms per floor, I have rented to this crowd in the past and it's all about the bath room and some type of hang out room. Their personal bedrooms never need to be that big. Even if your not going to rent to students, with 4 bedrooms you still would be better off with 2 bathrooms.

@Nat Chan  a 1/2 bath or full would make more sense.   Unless they were all males in the rental it would turn of co-ed housing or vise versa. 

@Nat Chan 

Take this with a grain of salt as I don't own any college rentals. I have drawn a lot of floor plans however. 

I agree with the first two posts. another bathroom is important. Also, the living space isn't so bad, but there is nowhere to put a table if they are domesticated enough to want to sit at a table when they eat.  In my opinion, the kitchen is much larger than necessary for a college rental unless you are going for the high end college kid market. In that case, you need another bathroom and bigger living space for sure. 

I think you could compress the bedrooms to 10x12ish, eliminate large closets and shrink the kitchen. Either way, making the 4 bedrooms work is going to be difficult.

One other note, that stair landing is really small. I see the note saying existing. If you are changing the occupancy of this building or increasing the occupancy, the code official can compel you to make that stair code compliant. I also just realized, the stair joins these 2 units without separation. Is there any other way in or out or can the tenants move freely between the floors? Meaning, are you renting this as an 8bdrm unit or two 4bdrms? If its an 8bdrm unit, you could eliminate one kitchen/living. Move a bedroom and add a bath to that floor. Then add a bath to the other floor and enlarge the living space. Just a thought if that's how this unit works. If its 2 bdrms, then ignore that comment, but you're not showing a 2nd door to secure each floor from the foyer. 

Hope that helps.

If you go with a three bedroom design I would make the current bathroom a Jack and Jill and put a second across the hall with direct access from bedroom three to the bathroom and a door to the hall for common areas.

I agree with everything @Patrick H.  said. I was also confused about the access to each unit from the stair. I would say for 4 people you definitely need another bathroom - I would venture that you need another full bath (or 3/4). Especially if it is a higher end student market. The kitchen is generous, and there is no space for a table. If you turn it into a regular rental and a family moves in, they will need a place to sit and eat. 

Nat Chan -- this will seem an odd question, but would you mind telling me what process/expense you've gone through thus far to arrive at this plan?    

Could you alter the stair layout so it doesn't have the landing and turnaround? I agree the kitchen and bedrooms could be downsized and add a half bath or full bath. I would probably go 3 bedroom in this size with two baths and make the living area larger. 

Beautiful Biggerpockets People, thank you  so much for taking the time to review the floorplan and offer you're invaluable opinions.

I definitely agree with all the feedback received. Presently I asked the draftsman to reduce the bedroom sizes, increase the lounge area and add another bathroom. I'm still clinging to the hope of having 4 bedrooms per unit. There were several comments about no room for a dining table but is there any reason it can't go in the kitchen?

A friend who is a student architect drew the floorplans below. Any feedback on these drawings would be helpful too. This is my first time designing layout and building a property and it's definitely difficult making important decisions. I'm really grateful for everyone's advice.

I always appreciate and encourage student efforts.  If this were a school/studio situation, the sketches might make a great starting point for discussion and development.

That said, both sets of plans posted thus far seem unresolved and very inefficient -- with some potential code issues.

Would love to help -- but I'm about half a country away!

I've seen a lot of student housing go up around the University of Oregon and the big complaint is that they're all four bed 1 bath type of things. Adding a second bath will really help set you apart. I think you should still be able to do so without losing a bedroom. 

Hi Nat! @Nat Chan   Living in many student housing situations, I can tell you that the bathroom thing would be a big issue when it comes to quality.  You definitely want to distinguish your housing from "dorm-style" living.  So sharing a bathroom, though it saves on space, diminishes marketability.  The other main thing that students complain about outside of privacy (make sure walls have a good sound barrier b/w rooms and b/w units) is a space for entertaining and if the common areas within the apartment aren't too big, you may want to consider amenities (pool, clubhouse with pool table, media room, study room etc) the biggest and most valued amenity outside of that would probably be wifi.  For student housing, having a clubhouse with free wifi and perhaps some computers is a big selling point.  Your floor plans are a great starting point and if you plan on having varied Units (some 2 bdrm, some 3 bdrm, some 4 bdrm), you can adjust the price accordingly that might also help.



Hi @Nat Chan  

I would agree with @Kurt F.  and @Patrick H.  Hopefully what your draftsman comes up with will be more workable than the first two options. From my perspective, no matter who you rent to, more common space and at least an additional half-bath will be important.  

Without knowing what the site is like, one option might be to flip the kitchen and BR 4.  This will provide more continuity between public spaces which will make 2 smaller spaces feel larger, and you may be able to utilize the existing over head door opening to let out to a patio...  Also a simple bar/island could serve as divider between the spaces and as a place to eat. 

Hey @Nat Chan  

I think if you simplify the whole plan, you can get everything in you want with plenty of space. That is, assuming the constraints of the existing are pretty minimal. It looks like they are since the plan seems to be ignoring the context for the most part. I had a thought about it and sketched it this morning since it was easier to draw than explain. I felt a little presumptuous just posting it here and tried to send it via PM, but the BP system wasn't working for me. PM me later and I'll send it to you if you'd like. Or I can post it here. Whatever you prefer.  

My draftsman said my dream of 2 bathrooms and 4 bedrooms was 'impossible'.
Then I received a floorplan from the very generous and talented architect @Patrick H.

I think this is just perfect. I hope this works for the existing building structure.

Once again the bigger pockets members have been an amazing help.

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