The Best Lake Home Floor Plan: 7 Key Elements to Include

Distant drone shot of a brick Modern Craftsman house on a peninsula on Lake Murray in South Carolina.

A luxury lake home in Columbia, SC with a two-story outdoor living area and a great view of a cove in the lake. 

The best house plans for the lake won’t matter much if you don’t have a great view to showcase. So before you choose your home plan, find a great lot with the most captivating view in your favorite location.

Once you have a glorious view, we can build your lake home around it as the perfect complement to your lot.

We take pride in assisting our clients in considering their current and future needs, creating the perfect custom lake home that they will cherish for a lifetime.

Below, we’ll talk about the 7 most important factors to consider when deciding on a lake home floor plan.

Stacked Stone Columns For Patio Under Deck With Lake View 1

The rear exterior view of a lake home on Lake Carolina near Columbia, SC with stacked stone columns for the patio and a waterproof upper level screened-in back porch above.

7 key elements for a good lake house floor plan

Lakehouse architecture is similar to any custom home architecture. But with lake house plans, we want to maximize everything toward enjoying the water. And we want the home to be guest and water-friendly.

1. A home with a walk-out basement

We love to build on lake lots that slope downward toward the water so that the home can have a basement. Why? 

Because having two stories in the rear of the home facing the water provides double the amount of rooms inside with a good water view and allows you to have a patio on the bottom and a covered screened-in back porch on the main floor above.

If your lot won’t allow for a basement, you may want to consider having a second story with a balcony in the rear of your home. Possibly coming off of an upstairs master suite.

White Kitchen with lake view and With blue kitchen Island 1

A Lake Murray home with plenty of windows overlooking the waterfront and a lake view in the eat-in kitchen.

2. Large windows facing the water.

You need several key ingredients to optimize a home on the lake. Having a fantastic view but not many windows facing the lake is a missed opportunity.

When it comes to living on the water, you want your living spaces to face the best view and provide a panoramic view of the lake. This means choosing a floor plan that provides as much glass as possible.

To utilize the walls of glass, consider having an open floor plan so that even the rooms on the front side of your home can benefit from the natural light and gorgeous views in the back.

Rear exterior of brick Lake Murray home and grassy yard

The rear, lake-facing view of a luxury home on Lake Murray in the Columbia, SC area.

3. The perfect home orientation on your lot. 

One aspect that is sometimes overlooked is the importance of properly orienting the home on the lot to fully enjoy the view.

So not only is your floor plan important for the efficiency of layout inside your home, with a lake lot, the interior room layout needs to work well with the waterfront, the angle of the sun, and sunrise and sunset.

Many of our clients want the main living areas in the rear of the home facing the lake. And, they usually want a primary bedroom that provides lake views, as well.

If possible, a home office with a water view would also be ideal. Especially if you will be working from home a lot.

It goes without saying that your outdoor living spaces need to also be near the lake with plenty of access to the water.

Some areas that can be away from the beautiful view would be children’s bedrooms, the garage, the formal dining room, and the laundry room. Although, if you happen to have a peninsula lake lot, it sure is lovely to be able to enjoy the water from any room in the house.

Many of our clients like to remove a lot of the trees between the home and the water so that the view is unobstructed.

French Country Modern Rear Exterior View With Upper Level Screened In Back Porch And Large Fireplace And Lower Level Outdoor Kitchen And Custom Pool  2

A French Country Modern home with two-story patio/screened porch boasts an outdoor kitchen below and a masonry fireplace and huge outdoor tv above.

4. Outdoor living space/entertainment space facing the lake.

We appreciate floor plans that have a 2-story outdoor living space overlooking the lake. This allows different family members to have their own private spaces. But it also makes more room for entertaining so that everyone can enjoy the breeze and breathtaking views outside.

If you are going to have a lake home in South Carolina, it’s a no-brainer that you’ll want an outdoor area for your family to enjoy and a place that will allow you to accommodate all the friends and guests you’d like to invite over.

Some of our clients’ favorite outdoor living areas include a custom pool with a large pool deck and patio, screened-in back porches with vaulted ceilings and outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, and fire pit areas with seating.

Other things to consider at the lake might be a gazebo or covered structure right beside the lake, an extra large boat dock with room for seating, or a built-in station in the backyard to clean the fish you catch when you fish on the lake.

Boat dock on wide water on a lake with brilliant blue sky and clouds.

5. A boat dock

A private boat dock isn’t technically part of a home’s floor plan. Although, some may beg to differ. But you will want to design a walkway to the lake and boat storage if you plan to have a boat. This can be part of your general outdoor living design.

Even if you don’t own a boat yet, you may enjoy a dock for a place to relax right on the water and you’ll have a spot for friends to pull up right to your home.

Luxury Custom Kitchen With Sage Green Cabinets And Dual Islands

A luxury kitchen with a white painted wood ceiling, rustic ceiling beams, hardwood floors, and two islands.

6. A home that meets your specific needs.

While you are dreaming of your amazing dream lake home of the future, don’t forget to consider all the things you’ll want to enjoy there.

Extra storage

Plenty of counter space

Coffee bar area in the kitchen or master bedroom

Specialty appliances for cooking


Butler’s pantry


Home office(s)

Spa-like master bathroom

First-floor master suite

Second master suite or apartment

Basement Apartment With Kitchen

This basement is a gorgeous in-law suite with ground-floor access and its own entryway. There’s an adorable kitchenette and plenty of space for a dining room, living space, and a bedroom suite.

7. Guest accommodations

An apartment or in-law suite on the lower level is simply a must-have. Especially for a waterfront home.

With a kitchenette and plenty of living space, as well as a bedroom with a full bath, you can utilize this space however your family needs to over the years.

A basement apartment space works well if your home:

  • Will host teenagers.
  • May be used for a vacation home.
  • Will be used often for entertaining a lot of guests.
  • Ever needs multigenerational living space for grown children or for aging parents.

Laundry room, mudroom, built-in dog crate, and dog shower with a window seat.

A dog shower in a laundry room/mud room.

Extra tips for building a lake home in South Carolina

Choose flooring materials that can stand up to wet feet walking through and easy to clean.

Have a sizable and functional mudroom where everyone can stop to take off wet or muddy shoes before tracking them through your home.

If you have a dog, consider adding a dog shower in the mud room. And here’s a handy life hack, a dog shower is also a fantastic place for washing off kids or muddy feet.

Of course, you can also opt for an outdoor shower near the back door, as well.

Rear Exterior View Of Custom Luxury Home With Large Pool And Two Story Porch On Lake Murray  1

Back porch and patio with a lake view in on Lake Murray near Lexington, SC.

As a luxury home builder, we have custom lake house floor plans ready for you to choose from.

If you’re going to build a lake-view house, you want to be sure to search for the best lake house floor plans. Check out our latest lake home plans for WhiteWater Landing on Lake Murray in Chapin, SC.

We have many lake house floor plans that can be customized to meet your exact specifications that will work on any lake or home on the water in the Greater Columbia, SC area.

In 2023, our luxury homes generally start around $700k and luxury patio homes generally start around $400k.

Check out our work and if we look like a good fit for you and you are ready to build your dream lake home in the Midlands of South Carolina…

Contact us today.

We build on Lake Murray, Lake Carolina, Lake Katherine, Lexington, Chapin, Irmo, West Columbia, Pine Ridge, and downtown Columbia, SC.


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