One of the most exciting, most intimidating steps to building our dream home (for me, anyway) was making all of our design selections. When you’re building a home, every detail is chosen by you. That’s AMAZING because it’ll be exactly to your taste, but it’s also incredibly scary if you’re a perfectionist or plan to die in the house you’re building (because I will never move again). The key to knowing how to make design choices is research.
Our builder had us go to their showroom for two three-hour appointments with the SWEETEST design consultant (who, thankfully, got our sense of humor) where we selected everything from the flooring, cabinets, lighting packages, countertops, shelving, doors, exterior, paint, EVERYTHING. We walked out of the second appointment knowing what our home is going to look like, inside and out. Before we went into the first one, though, I spent hours upon hours on Pinterest, searching for terms that would bring up ideas for the style we love. In this case, it was farmhouse, but you may want to look for “design styles” to see what jumps out at you in the beginning. I had a board for each room of our home, as well as one for overall design aspects like color scheme, architecture, etc. (You can see all of my boards here!) Thanks to that research, Ryan and I had talked about what we liked and didn’t like, so we went into the first appointment having a pretty good idea of what we wanted. This made the appointments fun and so smooth because it was just a matter of choosing things that matched the pictures we had in our minds.
That said, there are a few tips for design choices that we have for those who are about to attempt to choose all 198,272 items on the design choices list for a builder. Haven’t gotten to that step yet? Check out the rest of the Built with Love series and make sure you know the steps to building a home!
7 Tips for Design Choices
- Go in with pictures– whether they’re pulled out from a magazine, on Pinterest on your phone, or pictures of someone’s house you love, having concrete images to use helps immensely.
- Don’t forget to have an idea of what you want the exterior to look like– You might know what you love inside, but do you know what you want the exterior to be? I knew I hated pink brink (thank you, 90’s Texas home designers for that one) and I knew that if I could find stone that looked like it was pulled off our family ranch, I would cry when I saw the finished product (we did, and I cannot WAIT to see a piece of my heart in the front of our home). Again, pictures, pictures, pictures!
- Have an idea of what you want the overall look to be, but also where you want to change it up– for example, the boys’ bathrooms upstairs are identical, but we wanted to spend a little more on the guest bath downstairs since it’s the one everyone will be seeing (and adults who stay with us will use).
- Don’t let the consultant rush you– Ours was amazing about letting us take our time and go back and forth (and then back again) between design choices, but if yours isn’t, remember: you’re paying them! They are there to make sure your home is exactly the dream home you want it to be.
- Don’t worry about upgrades– Most homes, if you’re going through a builder, have a design selection allowance. When you’re going through all the options, choose what you like the first time around. Now, if you know you don’t have a TON to spend, maybe choose among the lower two or three levels, but don’t limit yourself to only the lowest. It’s a whole lot easier to downgrade something if you end up being over budget than it is to say “We still have $1000. What the heck do we upgrade now?” You might even end up like us, with only having to write a two-digit check AND getting exactly what you wanted in your home!
- Know what’s worth the money for YOUR family– If you spend a ton of time outside, you might want to spend more on your back porch than the upstairs bathrooms. If you’re a chef-in-the-making, spending more on your kitchen and less on your master bath might be the better option for you.
- Take a deep breath and make one choice at a time– yes, you want it all to coordinate, but if you take it one room at a time, one choice at a time, it won’t be so overwhelming. Knowing how to make design choices really comes down to what YOU want!