Building your own custom home involves a lot of design decisions, from the style of the house itself to the interior fixtures, floors, and finishes. How do you know where to start? How do you make your brand-new, custom-built home look cozy, stylish, and welcoming for your family and guests?
This blog article is part of Castle Brook Builders' Design and Build Process Series.
Plan Ahead: Designing from Start to Finish
Ideally, a design/build team will work together throughout the entire homebuilding process to help you develop design ideas and stay on budget. Designing a kitchen layout with less contiguous counter space, for example, can save enough money on countertops to splurge on higher-end sink fixtures without breaking the bank.
If you’ve walked through one (or many) of our model homes, you may have seen elements that inspire you. Taking pictures or making notes of the things you love is a great place to start, even if those things seem very different from each other! Pin boards on Pinterest, compile websites using a program like Evernote, or rip out photos from magazines—however you prefer to collect your ideas. You’ll probably start to see similarities in the things you like: similar colors, shapes, finishes, or styles. This is a great starting point for developing your design. Think about what works for you and your family, too; you may love a stark, all-white design palette, but with a busy lifestyle that may not be practical.
Start with the Basics: Fixtures and Finishes
You’ll have to make choices on fixtures and finishes during the building process, which will give you a foundation for your home design. The color and style of your flooring, cabinets, countertops, backsplash, and appliances can really influence the overall look and feel. To preserve the most long term flexibility and resale value, choose neutral colors and classic materials. On the other hand, bold choices can really make a statement; think about using one-of-a-kind tilework, unusual colored cabinets, or statement lighting pieces. Focal points like unique fireplace boxes and feature walls can set the tone for your entire home, so take extra time and effort to choose what fits you best.
Next: Enhance the Elements
Paint is a fast, relatively inexpensive way to change the whole look and feel of a room. Think about an accent wall in a bold, trendy color or subtle, warm shades to make a room feel cozy. Don’t forget the ceilings, too! Painting them a few tones lighter than the walls gives a neutral, finished feeling; doing them in contrast can strike a bold, modern feel. Many paint suppliers offer online tools that allow you to upload pictures of your actual rooms and “try out” the combinations of colors you’re considering, which can be both useful and an addictively fun way to spend an afternoon. High-style wallpaper has also returned to fashion, especially when used as an accent rather than a floor-to-ceiling covering. If you’re worried about the commitment of wallpaper (and the eventual headache of removing it), there are even designer brands of removable wallpaper! “Faux” paint treatments like marble, plaster, or stucco are generally more common in an Italian restaurant than a living room, but a skilled artist can enhance your space with a variety of tricks and finishes.
Lay Out Your Space
For each room, spend time thinking about how you plan to use the space. This can help you create a layout and a focal point. If you plan to mostly use your living room as a space to hang out with your family around a fireplace, talk, read, and play games, set up the space to be most conducive to conversation and interaction. If you entertain frequently, make sure there are multiple seating areas and surfaces to set drinks and plates. If you love to gather around the TV after dinner, make sure there are good sightlines for everyone.
Figure out a layout that works before you buy furniture, and make sure you measure the spaces you’ve chosen for each object on your list. Plan in enough room for people to comfortably walk around sofas and chairs and to scoot their chairs back from tables. Determine where you need additional task lighting and where accent lighting could enhance a room's style.
Purchase Your Cornerstone Pieces and Accents
Big-ticket furniture pieces like your sofas or couches, dining room set, and bed frames are likely going to last you a number of years, so buying neutral, quality pieces is a safe investment. Choose items that fit your family’s lifestyle in designs and colors that can easily adapt to many trends. Then, complement these pieces with more cutting-edge, retro, antique, rustic, or modern pieces according to your style. As your tastes (or design trends) change, it will be easier and more economical to replace smaller items and repaint or reupholster chairs than to replace a bold sofa that’s definitely “of a certain era.” An exception is chandeliers and lighting fixtures. These cornerstone pieces are a great opportunity to choose distinctly trendy, strikingly artistic, or downright captivating pieces. Lighting fixtures are available in every price range and are generally easy to upgrade, so choose ones you like and can afford; you can always replace them in a few years.
Get Trendy: Finishing Touches
Finally, soften everything up with textiles and accessorize! You can take more risks when choosing rugs, pillows, throws, and drapes because these are easily changed as styles evolve. Add in thoughtful accessories, art, and accent pieces that convey the style, look, and feel you are hoping for. This is the step that can really “tie together” your overall design, so it makes sense to get some professional advice from someone with a designer’s eye.
Every Castle Brook home comes with a unique added bonus: complimentary design hours. Utilize the services of our partner professional design firm, Shaping Spaces, to help pull your design together and make your house a home. Contact us to find out more or make an appointment to see one of our Omaha model homes in person! You can also take a virtual tour on our website and check out our online gallery for inspiration.
When you’re ready to get started on making your dreams for a new home come true, contact Castle Brook Omaha home builders to schedule a consultation.