For a home design to be successful, it must first satisfy a homeowner's program, which is the design's spatial criteria. The program often takes the form of a list, describing each desired room/use, the approximate amount of square footage assigned to each, and the relationship of each to other rooms/uses, environmental forces (like sun and breezes), and/or the site.
Think of the program as the building blocks of your home design -- whether your home will be new construction or a renovation/addition. Your program will be unique to you. It should reflect how you would like to experience your home. Edit it, and edit it again to be sure the spaces and relationships it includes are true to your lifestyle, not your parents' lifestyle, not your neighbors' lifestyle, not the imagined lifestyle of some unknown potential future buyer.
If you're drafting a program for your home project, you might want to visit the homework section of the KHS website. There, you'll find a number of questions that will challenge you to hone your program. Visit the KHS design process page to to get a sense of how your program fits into the overall design process.
by Katie Hutchison for House Enthusiast