The Homebuilder's Guide to Designing Your Own House

For many home buyers, designing a home is a lifelong dream. The secret to successfully designing your own house lies in understanding the style you want, the tools you have access to, and taking your lead from the way your family lives. Effective communication with your home builder and a solid plan upfront can help you design a home that you’ll love for years to come.


Consider Your Home Design Style

When you are first conceptualizing your home’s design, you’ll want to start with an overarching word or phrase that captures your style. Check out this list and see how many of these words resonate with you and your hopes for your home.

  • Traditional
  • Contemporary
  • Modern
  • Trendy
  • Vintage
  • Comfortable


Any of these ideas can give you a jumping off point to the general design you will want to communicate to your builder. Still not sure of your style? Try our short video “What Design Style Am I?” below.


Questions to Ask Before Designing Your Home

In addition, to nailing down your favorite style you might also consider the following questions:


How do you want to use your home’s outdoor spaces?

If you live in an area with good weather for much of the year, your outdoor spaces may function almost as an extension of your home’s interior, providing space for seating, dining, and outdoor entertaining. If, however, you don’t see yourself using your outdoor spaces very often, you’ll want to put more emphasis on ease of maintenance.


How long do you plan to be in the home?

If you plan to build the home for your family, then move somewhere else upon retirement, you will want to optimize the space for storage and for convenience, with extra room to grow and an eye on resale value. If you plan to make this your lifelong home, you may want to emphasize accessibility that will work for you as you age and as your mobility changes.


How will your life change during your time in the home?

Do you have soon-to-be elderly parents who may need to come and live with you? Will your children be leaving home soon? Do you plan to transition from working outside the home to starting a business and working in a home office? Think through your upcoming plans and see if you need to create specialized space for the future.


How do you want your home to function?

Do you love formal entertaining? Is your home the hangout for all of your kids’ friends? Do you host all of the extended family’s gatherings? Do you need a secluded sitting room or study for some quiet Me-time? Think through the way your home needs to function to prioritize the traffic flow and design of your space.


Home Design Tools to Help Design Your Home

Once you’ve taken some time thinking about the space you want, consider working with tools that help you to visualize the space.


Pulte offers a number of interactive design tools to help you customize the look, feel, and function of your home, its spaces, and its furnishings. You’ll find:

  • An interactive floor plan tool for designing your room layouts
  • An elevation tool for determining how you want the home’s exterior to look
  • A furniture planning tool to help you fill the space
  • A room design tool to help you consider fixtures, finishes, and color palettes.


All of these online, interactive tools are designed to help you make better choices and to visualize changes in your design.


Top Advice from Home Builders on Designing Your Home

As you work with your builder, it is important to ensure that the process is both efficient and fun. Here, from home builders, is some advice to keep things moving along as smoothly as possible.


Put your needs first.

You may get caught up thinking about what will work or look good to guests in your home while overlooking the most important element: you and your family. Make sure that your home functions well for the way you live on a day-to-day basis and prioritize those needs over those of your guests.


If choosing between style and convenience, choose convenience.

It may be tempting to choose a material or design element that looks great but is difficult to care for or doesn’t work for every day. If you have to choose between the way something looks and the way it functions, choose function. You’ll eventually fall out of love with a look, but you’ll never stop appreciating convenience.


Pay attention to your budget.

While you may have decisions that come up during your building process that require you to stretch your budget, you don’t want to break the bank. Prioritize upgrades that will pay you back, including those that save you money through greater energy efficiency or those that make every day easier and more convenient like smart home features. No one wants to worry about how much home they can afford when they are dreaming about the future.


Communicate with your builder.

It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your builder. Don’t be afraid to ask for what you want, even if you think it’s impossible. It’s better to explore the options than live with regrets about what you didn’t do when you had the chance.


Trust the process.

There will be bumps in the road, but know that with healthy and constructive communication the home building process can be a smooth and enjoyable one. Remember to keep the long-term goal in mind rather than getting hung up on short-term challenges in order to keep your perspective.


Designing your home for the way you live can be one of the most exciting and enjoyable processes you’ll ever experience. Envision the possibilities, then work with your trusted Pulte builder and make your vision a reality.



Contributed to Your Home blog by Christy Murdock Edgar

Looking for more tips, ideas or inspiration? Return Home here.

Published 8.6.19

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