Tools to Design: Tips and tricks for customising your home design

You’ve finally bought a house in the US, congratulations! You can begin your life of independence, live at your own pace and invite your friends over when loneliness hits. Besides, having your own house gives you the chance to explore your creativity when it comes to designing. This means you can put showpieces in every corner and make your living space an echo of who you are.

However, if you’re a first-time homeowner, you might feel clueless about where to start. What should you put inside your house, and how do you create plans that an architect or a designer can successfully pull off? 

Don’t fret! When it comes to these things, you don’t have to be a pro. Designing the perfect home suited to your preferences come with viable steps you can accomplish in a period! Check them out below:

Determine your budget

The first step isn’t exactly the most enjoyable part of designing a home, but it’s crucial. You can only make decisions based on the amount of money you’re willing to spend, so it’s better to have a rough sketch from the very start. 

In this way, you can prevent yourself from splurging. Let’s say you impulsively buy an expensive couch worth thousands of dollars. With that kind of decision, you’ll have less money to spend on other things like curtains, flooring, paint and many more. 

Keep in mind that the cost of home design expenses can build up in the blink of an eye. Do you remember that wishlist you plan to buy from top to bottom? The bad news is, you have to make tough decisions on which ones are realistic. 

Here are some of the expenses you need to focus on:

  • Building permit fees
  • Site work
  • Foundation
  • Plumbing, electric and HVAC
  • Architect fees
  • Interior and exterior finishes

Make sure that you leave room for unexpected expenses. Keep in mind that some things don’t go according to plan. You don’t want to get so surprised and overwhelmed when you finally review the receipts and bills!

Start small

Most homeowners assume that before they can design their homes, they have to act as an architect and use complicated software. However, this is not entirely true. All you have to do is grab pieces of paper and a pencil. Start by sketching your ideas. Don’t be afraid to brainstorm and welcome every thought that comes your way. 

You can also make a list of features you want every room to have. Even if you’re not great at drawing, having a rough sketch on your side will help architects understand what you want. 

Think ahead

One of the things that homeowners fail to consider is the future. They design their houses in a way that doesn’t include their prospects in terms of career, family and other scenarios. 

Do you have any plans on getting married and building your own family when the right comes? Do you have old parents you plan to take care of in the future? If yes, then your home design should accommodate family members. You may have children returning from college, or a bunch of family relatives wishing to stay for the holiday season. 

You should also think about your career. If you have any plans to transition from an office job to remote work, then your home design must include an office space where you can work. To put it simply, when creating a custom design, you need to examine the amenities needed for the kind of family and career you envision.

Pick the style of your home

Even though you still don’t know the entire picture of the house you want, you should already have an idea of the style you prefer. For instance, if you want something traditional, you’d have pointed roofs made from materials like wood, brick, stone or stucco. With this style, you’ll have small windows and rich colours. 

On the other hand, modern houses come with large windows, clean lines and muted colours. They may also use different materials such as concrete and steel.

This also means that the floor plan in every interior design varies. In the case of traditional homes, the space is typically divided into single-purpose rooms. Meanwhile, modern houses come with open concept floor plans with fewer dividing walls. The rooms also serve several purposes. 

Of course, you’re just not stuck with two choices. Other styles include farmhouse, ranch, country French, mid-century modern and contemporary, among others. If you’re still unsure of your preferred style, you can start by gathering photos of houses that appeal to you.

Write a brief for the architect

Make sure that you write a brief about your custom home design, especially when you’re working with an architect in the US. It is a document that outlines your requirements and vision for your living space. This means that you need to be extremely detailed if you want the architect to convert your ideas to a real-life layout. 

Here is the following information you need to include:

Budget and time frame

Make sure the architect knows the amount of money you’re willing to spend. You should also inform them how much time you need for the project. If you’re still unsure of how long this project will take, it’s best to make a guess and discuss it with the architect. 


Another thing you need to disclose is your lifestyle. Discuss how your new house will be used so the architect has an idea of what design truly fits your circumstances. To begin, write down what happens in your daily routine and everything that you need to make your space better.

To keep you guided, ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you have pets? If so, how many?
  • Are your family members working from home?
  • Do you have regular guests that visit you during the holiday seasons?
  • Does anyone in the family require special accessibility?
  • How much storage space do you need?

Another thing you can write down is your past experiences. For example, if this is your second home, list down all the bad situations you’ve experienced in the past that you want to avoid in the future. 

Less is more

Some houses in the US that are too overwhelming to look at because every corner is filled with unnecessary decorations. Although this might be perfect for someone, having too much clutter around the house kills space. When creating a custom home design, don’t focus too much on showpieces and accessories that might end up useless down the road.

For example, just because you have a spacious wall doesn’t mean you should fill it with an art collection. You should also refrain from filling every corner of the living room with shelves and cabinets that can be placed in other rooms. That way, the air circulation inside your house will be better. 

Consider home maintenance

No matter how sturdy and well-built your house is, you may have to deal with home maintenance sooner or later. That’s why you need to pay attention to the materials and fittings that will be integrated into your design. 

For example, bricks and roof tiles will remain in their best condition for several decades, but other materials like barge boards will require regular maintenance. Having an open roof over a stairwell along with chandeliers may also add flair to your overall atmosphere, but changing the light bulb is tough. 

Don’t visit the furniture store

Have you ever heard the saying, ‘Don’t go grocery shopping when hungry?’ If yes, then this applies to creating a home design as well. A lot of homeowners have made the mistake of visiting furniture stores just because they want to fill their empty homes. This has led to poor decisions they end up regretting, especially in terms of budgeting. 

Refrain from shopping when you’re in a panic! Sure, you may have fallen in love with the white fabric sectional sofa at first glance. However, if you haven’t taken any measurements or created a budget plan, then you’ll be stuck with it forever. 

Prioritise features

One of the biggest benefits of building a new house in the US is you have the chance to prioritise features to make your home life a lot better. However, since there are so many luxuries to choose from, it’s easy to go over your planned budget. 

One thing you need to consider is bonus rooms beyond the essentials. For example, if your family enjoys movie nights on the weekends, adding a home theatre with a projector or large TV is a good idea. But if your family is more active and prefers physical activities, you can dedicate a space for a yoga studio or a gym. 

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