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11 Helpful Interior Design Tips For Building A New Home

Before starting a new home construction project, read this must-see list of Interior Design Tips so that you end up with a home YOU’LL LOVE!

Helpful Interior Design Tips For A New Home Build

Building a new home is A LOT of work for everyone involved. Of course the builder and contractors are doing the physical labor.

But, the homeowner generally has to make TONS of decisions along the way. And, making all of those decisions is pretty exhausting, in it’s own way.

BUT, with all of those decisions comes the risk of ending up with a brand new home that isn’t exactly what you wanted when you started the build.

So, I put together this list to hopefully help you avoid ending up with a new home that isn’t your idea of a “dream home”.

Image says "11 Helpful Interior Design Tips for new home builds." For a post about planning for building a new home.
Helpful Interior Design Tips for making sure your new home build ends up being your DREAM HOME.

I’m going over every possibility I can think of when it comes to working with a Custom Home Builder. Generally you have a lot more say in the details of a home with a “Custom” builder.

Some of the items on this list won’t be optional with builders in a pre-fab or planned community. They generally keep their builds pretty standard, with just a few options available for each floor plan.

But, it’s worth reading over this list BEFORE YOU BUILD with either type of builder so that you get a better idea of what to ask about before deciding who to hire as a builder. Now, let’s get to those 11 Tips!

1. Do Your Research For Home Inspiration

Know exactly what you want before you start building or remodeling. Find inspiration pictures showing the type of exteriors you like.

Focus on the type and colors of stone, brick, or siding that you’re drawn to most.

Find similar inspiration pictures for the interior too. Focus on wall colors, trim work, appliances, faucets, anything and everything that you get to have a choice about when you’re building a new home.

Beautiful Open Concept Living Room, Dining Room, and Kitchen. Interior and Furniture Design Inspiration Pictures from Model Homes and Local Stores.
I took this picture of a beautifully designed Model Home in my area. I’m a huge fan of visiting Model Homes for Interior Design Tips! See more photos from Model Homes I’ve Toured in a previous post.

Visit a bunch of Model Homes in your price range to see what the latest design trends are. Model Homes are a great place to take pictures of rooms and design ideas that you love.

Once you have a big picture idea of what you like, pick a floor plan that fits that style. Or, if the floor plan has been picked, work with your builder to define the look you want using the photos.

2. Natural Light Is EVERYTHING

If you have the choice of blueprints, pick one with tons of LARGE windows. If you have the option to enlarge small windows or to install exterior doors with large windows in them, do it.

If you have the option to add moon lights in bathrooms or skylights in dark rooms, go for it.

You’ll never regret having tons of natural light. Natural light makes any home feel bigger, more cheerful, better.

And, it never hurts to have great views of any landscaping, pools, or greenery outside. Being able to see nature or water from inside tends to improve the mood of the people who live there.

Tour our cozy Modern Farmhouse, Traditional Living Room with this look at our fun & colorful Living Room Christmas Decorations, this year. Full of pops of Red, Blue, and Green! #AbbottsAtHome #ChristmasIdeas #ChristmasDecorations #ChristmasDecor #ChristmasLivingRoom
All of the BIG windows in our Living Room make this room feel so bright, open and welcoming.

3. Plan (And Order) Ahead

Some materials take weeks or months to come in. Plan ahead!

Seriously, that must-have tile, high-end stove, amazing faucet, and stunning light fixture can end up holding up your move-in date if it’s not ready when the contractor wants to install it.

So, try to figure out when your builder expects you to have things picked out and ordered by And, if in doubt, start picking those things out early, folks.

White marble master bathroom with blue cabinets and light walls.
The super deep tub I installed in our Master Bathroom took a few weeks to be delivered. If a builder had to wait 3 weeks for a tub, that likely means you’ll be waiting a few weeks longer before you can move in.

4. Avoid Boring Color Choices

This may be controversial, but just say no to medium beige or that shade of grey that looks like an office building.

Builders often like to paint everything in beige. In fact, they buy TONS of it in bulk to use in most homes. Don’t let them! One of our local builders was even painting all of the trim beige. It was BAD!

10 years ago, when we moved in, I went for beige as a safe neutral in our home. I picked beige for everything, our living room furniture, lamp shades, blankets, carpet, etc.

It was so boring, guys. And, all of that beige made every room in my home look drab and dull.

Even when I would try to introduce color in a room with lots of that medium beige, the brown just weighed the whole room down.

Sorry, medium beige, it’s not your fault you’re boring. A soft grey, white, cream, or even a light beige would have worked so much better.

So, chat with your builder about the default paint colors they’ll use before they get started to avoid having a color you’ll hate.

These ORC Living Room Makeover Plans are so fresh and light. Includes bright Blues and light Cream Walls with accents of pale pinks and green. #AbbottsAtHome #LivingRoom #BlueFurniture #MakeoverPlans
This is a before photo of our Living Room. All of the beige in this room felt so boring and drab. Painting the walls a light color and adding a lot more color really improved this room. You can see the after above (image with windows and teal green DIY Console Table).

5. Do You Like Textured Walls & Ceilings?

To texture or not to texture, that is the question. Wall texture seems to be a regional thing in the US. I am a huge fan of smooth walls and ceilings. Smooth walls was the default in Cincinnati, where I grew up.

But, in Texas, textured walls and ceilings are the default. I had to hunt around to find a house in Houston with smooth walls.

Make sure you specify your preference on textured walls and ceilings in the building contract.

DIY home office makeover with a large area rug and library style shelves and built-ins.
I was lucky to find a home with smooth walls in Houston. You can see in this picture of our Home Office that the ceiling has a subtle texture. Check out Best Ceiling Paint Finish: Flat vs Eggshell Sheen to see 8 examples of ceilings in my home.

6. What About Rounded Corners?

Do you prefer rounded or squared corners on walls and window frames? This is similar to the textured walls situation, it seems to be regional.

I definitely prefer squared corners. Our current house has a mix, rounded corners on archways. Squared corners at windows and most walls.

Check with your builder to verify that they’ll be finishing the corners the way you’d like.

A cat in a white traditional foyer with board and batten.
If you look around the edges of this photo of our foyer, you can see that the arched doorways in this house have rounded edges.

7. What About Your Trim Work

Is window trim included in your new build contract? If you want just a lower sill or full trim around windows, talk to your contractor. The more trim you want, the more it will cost.

Specify the other types of trim you’re getting too. If you like a big baseboard or crown molding in some rooms, you need to work that out with your contractor before hand.

I am LOVING this Before and After Family Room Makeover Transformation! Check out the amazing pictures and budget friendly DIY projects.
The windows in this Family Room, our Dining Room, and Home Office are all surrounded by beautiful trim work. But, all of the other windows only have trim at the bottom of the windows. I might install full trim in every room, one day.

8. Check Out Your Doors

What type of doors will be used, interior and exterior? You should pick out the style that you prefer beforehand to avoid finding a style you hate hanging everywhere later.

And, barn doors are cool, but do they make sense everywhere? I love a good barn door, folks.

But they aren’t as sound proof or private as a standard door. So, it might not be the best option on every room (ex. bathrooms and laundry rooms).

View of a stained wood door in a white 2 story entry of a home.
This door is great for letting in lots of light, but this wood door is weathering badly in the Texas sun well. I’m hoping to replace it with a better option sometime soon.

9. Ceiling Height and Ceiling Features

Here’s another of my favorite Interior Design Tips for building a new home, check out the ceiling height. Make sure that the ceilings in your new home are as high as you’d like.

My house has 10′ high ceilings on the main floor and 8′ high on the upper floor. That extra height on the main floor makes every room feel larger and grander. AND, it means I have extra space for ceiling details.

Most of the rooms on the main floor have standard crown molding, this two piece crown molding, or a three piece crown molding. I installed the 2 piece and 3 piece crown on my own.

DIY trim and molding projects are some of my favorite home improvements. If you can’t afford to have the builder install ceiling trim, beams, or other features, you can always DIY it later.

Try this Simple DIY Coffered Ceiling Design I used to give my Dining Room ceiling a beautiful new look. Includes lots of pictures and a how to video. DIY Ceiling Design Ideas. DIY Ceiling Makeover Ideas.
Our Dining Room already had beautiful wainscoting and a Tray Ceiling. I decided to install a Flat DIY Coffered Ceiling in the center to add even more style and impact in this room.

You can see more ceiling ideas in 36 Great DIY Ceiling Makeover Ideas: Designs From Easy To Just WOW!

10. Get The Flooring Right

Flooring is a paint to replace later, so you’ll want to get this one right. Make sure you’re careful about which materials, colors, and styles you use when you’re building.

If you pick a long-lasting material, like Porcelain tile or hardwood, it can last A LONG TIME. Just avoid trendy tiles or colors if you want it to last you 15 years, or more.

Home office with a large, traditional area rug on a faux wood tile floor, in front of built-ins.
I installed this faux wood, porcelain tile from Floor & Décor in our Office and Family Room. I wish they had this tile when we remodeled our kitchen, I wish it was in every room in our house. See my favorite rugs in 20 Best Area Rugs On A Budget.

11. Don’t Forget The Porches

My Custom Built Home had tons of extras, like 6″ baseboards, crown molding in most rooms, wainscoting, vaulted ceilings, and more beautiful traditional design add-ons.

BUT, even with all of those extras, builders can still try to go cheap if you haven’t specified something. The builder used cheap plywood on our front and back porches. And, it wasn’t even installed evenly.

A DIY Pine Tongue and Groove Ceiling Tutorial that will turn your porch into that beautiful, charming spot you've always wanted. For most porches, you can have these wood planks installed in a weekend, guys! #AbbottsAtHome #PlankCeiling #PorchCeiling #TongueAndGroove
BEFORE photo: You can totally see the uneven seems between the plywood boards on our back porch ceiling.

So, it turned what should have been a feature (a nice covered patio) into an eyesore. I ended up installing a pretty, low cost DIY Tongue and Groove Porch Ceiling that has made a HUGE improvement there.

Modern Farmhouse DIY Pine Tongue and Groove Ceiling Tutorial that will turn your porch into that beautiful, charming spot you've always wanted. For most porches, you can have these wood planks installed in a weekend, guys! #AbbottsAtHome #PlankCeiling #PorchCeiling #TongueAndGroove
Covering that plywood with cheap and easy to install Pine tongue and groove was a huge improvement.

When you’re planning your porches out, be sure to think about the type of doors and door style you want, the door handles and what light fixtures or ceiling fans you want.

If you leave it up to the builder, they will almost always pick the cheapest thing they can or the first thing they see. They’re worried about getting the job done. They usually don’t have time to worry about style.

And, don’t forget to decide whether or not you want paint or stain on the doors, columns, exterior trim, and ceilings.

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Don’t forget to Save or Share these New Home Build Interior Design Planning Tips.

That’s it for my top Interior Design Tips for building a new home.

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Feeling inspired? That’s it for my Interior Design Tips for building a new home! Let me know if you have questions.

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