The window wall above illustrates what I often find in spec homes. Return walls that are uneven or non-existent. The window units are placed too close to the perpendicular walls to accommodate a drapery pole,panels, and proper finial. As the drapery may stack when opened, it will close off half of the right window and one quarter of the left window. Please ask your builder to leave more room on the left and right side of your windows. Try to keep the same distance on both sides. Otherwise, visually it may look uneven and unplanned.
2.) PLACEMENT OF THERMOSTATS, SWITCHES, AND DOORBELLS
Make sure you mark the walls where you would like the electric switches or door bell to be located on your walls. Otherwise, the electrician is going to arrive on site and make these decisions for you. Often times they are not concerned with the placement of artwork or sculpture and will place the items in the middle of a wall. No joke. It happens all the time and it's a pet peeve of mine. Be proactive about the placement of your switches/doorbell. Details like this make a huge impact on the quality of the overall design.
Sometimes in an effort to access a room from various sides of the house, the builder may have two or three doors opening onto the same space. These room are very difficult to layout. The circulation path now cuts through the middle of the room. Furniture placement for a decent social setting is compromised. If three sides of a room have door openings it's probably too many unless the room is huge! Builders often may not be focused on usable space, but simply square footage for resale. Note: It's better to have usable square footage than a lot of it.
The door swing above has a few feet from the vanity, but how many times have you walked into a bathroom and you got hit by the door? Leave enough room, several feet, around the door. Otherwise, it feels claustrophobic! Again, I can't stand bathrooms or closets that do this. One step worse is having to step in and then walk around the door (shutting it) to get to the other side of the space. Again, it's just bad design and should be fixed.
Lighting design is so very important to a successful space. There should be several layers of lighting at play within a room. General. Ambient. Task. Make sure you have addressed each one of these types even if you then choose not to add it OR choose to add it later on in your home. The wiring can be done now and pulled through the walls later. It will save you money when you choose to add that pretty wall sconce or pendant.
-Anita Bhattacharya Oates, NCIDQ