20 Perfect House Plans For First-Time Homeowners

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Moving into your first home comes with plenty of excitement and decisions. What square footage fits your family? Which design style matches your own? Will your budget cover a wraparound porch? Luckily, our Southern Living House Plans cover every base.

For first-time homeowners, we chose our favorite compact plans—under 2,500 square feet—that appear much larger with clever layouts and cozy accents. We married traditional Southern styles, like Lowcountry, with stylish updates that keep things fresh. From modern farmhouse plans to charming cottage house plans, this collection is chock-full of inspiration.

Sizes To Fit All Families

Laurey W. Glenn

Find a country cottage with more charm, we dare. This 2,057-square-foot abode offers a satisfyingly symmetrical exterior and stunning entry for first-time homeowners that want character and style.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
  • 2,057 square feet

Southern Living House Plans

From the stately historic influence seen on the exterior to the traditional Southern influences felt inside, this house plan is a perfect fit for first-time buyers that love a classic look.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
  • 1,804 square feet

Southern Living

Want every day to feel like a getaway? Enter this classic cottage with a Lowcountry feel and vintage twist. It features a mix of simple spaces and natural materials that set the tone.

  • 4 bedrooms, 4.5 baths
  • 2,233 square feet

Southern Living

Southern charm meets New England style. This charming cottage lives more significantly than its sweet size thanks to an open floor plan.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 1,800 square feet

Southern Living

This haven is detailed for comfort. A wraparound porch and tucked-away bedrooms are cozy touches, while a free-flowing living and kitchen space makes for easy entertaining.

  • 2 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 2,418 square feet

Southern Living

Tiny house lovers, rejoice! This Fontanel carriage house plan packs its 1,099 square feet with country farmhouse charm. Modern accents make it feel fresh and stylish enough for young buyers who prefer cozy over spacious.

  • 2 bedrooms, 2 baths
  • 1,099 square feet

Southern Living

Joanna Gaines might swoon over this modern farmhouse plan. For those who love shiplap, this one’s for you. Built-in cabinets in the entry hall and laundry room help maximize efficiency.

  • 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
  • 2,341 square feet

Southern Living

You’ll love this modern take on a classic cottage. Enjoy a lived-in, organic flow thanks to its L-shaped layout—Placing the great room towards the back of the home positions it to open to the outdoor deck and kitchen.

  • 4 bedrooms, 2 baths
  • 1,929 square feet

Southern Living

This house plan offers plenty of historic character on the outside while fitting first-time homeowners’ needs with contemporary interior details (since it’s a newer house plan). And there’s no denying the curb appeal garnered from Chippendale front railing, front columns, and floor-to-ceiling windows flanking the front door.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3 baths
  • 2,314 square feet

Southern Living

This coastal-inspired cottage is ideal for those who love relaxing at home. It’s warm and inviting—all at a compact square footage perfect for young owners. The cedar shake exterior amplifies the Nantucket-inspired porch for an authentic look.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
  • 1,315 square feet

Southern Living

Find this plan somewhere between Greek Revival and Southern cottage on the style spectrum. The front porch lets you enjoy winding down the day on the porch together—a perk of living in the South.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
  • 2,530 square feet

Southern Living

Talk about curb appeal. This front porch is a warm welcome for all guests, while a Dutch Colonial-era shingled roof is a cute finishing touch.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
  • 2,329 square feet

Sugarberry Cottage, Plan #1648

Southern Living

This house plan, pairing compact square footage with ample covered and screened porch space, appears larger than its not-too-big, family-oriented layout. Enjoy the blend of Craftsman and bungalow styles and a welcoming owner’s suite.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 1,679 square feet

Southern Living

Who doesn’t love a little bay breeze? This house plan agrees. The two-story home makes a case for late-afternoon porch sits and cheery-hued shutters.

  • 3 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
  • 2,030 square feet

Southern Living

This shingled home, with its traditional style, keeps things cozy with a Southern cottage feel. The primary suite opens up to a personal porch space, a special treat for young buyers.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2 baths
  • 1,806 square feet

Southern Living

This plan is infinitely versatile in fitting potential owners’ personal style and location, making it an easy pick for first-timers. The slightly larger square footage will work for those who want the room to expand.

  • 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths
  • 2,718 square feet

Southern Living

This Carolina-inspired cottage is a beautiful blend of past and present. A galley-style kitchen and fireplace-focused living space make the plan warm and inviting.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 1,720 square feet

Southern Living House Plans

This house is as functional as it is comfortable, with 12-foot ceilings in the great room that creates a sense of space and scale to this home. The great room, kitchen, and dining areas have box beams to accentuate the gathering spaces.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 2,089 square feet

Lake & Land Studio, LLC

Hawthorn Cottage is a perfect blend of style, function, and size. In just over 1600 square feet, this cottage has two bedrooms, two baths, and a large screened-in porch. Enjoy the separation between entertaining spaces and private bedroom areas.

  • 2 bedrooms, 2 baths
  • 1,611 square feet

Southern Living

The great room features a beamed ceiling, reflecting the inviting and open floor plan. River Place Cottage is ideal for entertaining with a classically comfortable atmosphere and screened porch with an outdoor fireplace.

  • 3 bedrooms, 2.5 baths
  • 2,420 square feet

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