Like picking a university or falling in love and deciding to marry, choosing to build a new home can be one of life’s most rewarding and stressful experiences. The house plan – your dream on paper – becomes the manuscript which weaves together the various people (developer, builder, sub-contractors, lender, etc.) and products that will bring your vision to reality.

One of the joys of the home design phase is discovering new amenities that will make the home “just right.” Rather than fitting into someone else’s personality/lifestyle (as you do when buying a resale house), being able to harmonize new design thought with innovative product solutions means your new home reflects you and your priorities. From our staff and the readers of HER HOME, here are our top 10 recommendations when it comes to home design:

1. Establish a realistic budget for your new home.

There. We said it. Money. For most of us, price is a constraint. Talk to a mortgage officer to see how much home you can afford and compare that with what you are comfortable paying. You need an understanding of area new home prices. Visit builders’ homes for sale. Get a feel for what’s possible within your budget and don’t base it on the cheapest builder. If you don’t already have your home site, research neighborhoods and land for sale to have an accurate budget number.

2. Embrace how you want your home to “live.”

Design Basics research identified that women primarily use four “lenses” when evaluating a home’s suitability: areas for entertaining; de-stressing; storage and organization; and flexible living spaces. Take the Livability At A Glance™ quiz at to learn how important these types of spaces are to you!

3. Rank your priorities.

A common method identifies three categories: “needs” (things you must have in your new home like wide doors and halls for a brother in a wheelchair); “wants” (important but not must-have items such as a prep pantry in the kitchen); and “desires” (amenities you would love to have if the design and budget allows, such as a sound-proofed home theatre). Then, when you are looking at home plans and/or working with a home design professional, you can ensure important design and product amenities have not been overlooked.

4. Consider the bigger picture.

How long do you see yourself living in the new home? Life happens! What will like¬ly change, such as kids moving out? Are “aging-in-place” features important? What about parents moving in? Is your home easily adaptable to future needs? Wider doorways may not be feasible at a later date. Design flexibility – the ability to make changes – is key to long-term happiness with your new home. This is also the time to consider resale. You’re single, so two sinks in the owner’s suite bathroom and a private toilet area may not be important to you but lacking those amenities could be a real drawback for resale.

5. Collect.

Photos…literature…articles…print outs…all of these help identify and communicate elements of your new home that you like. Houzz and Pinterest are great resources and can help identify your style. You’ll be thankful you did your homework and so will your designer and builder!

For Tips 6-10: Click Here

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