I’ve known people who have designed and built their dream home only to walk in when it’s finished and say… ‘we hate it, we don’t want to live here.'”
-REALTOR WE MET. NAME: UNKNOWN
Ummm… what??!! One day while David and I were creepily touring a new construction model home (with absolutely no intention to buy), we heard this little gem and it rocked my world.
We had taken to bringing a tape measure where ever we went. We would look for open houses and model homes just so we could go in and measure the room sizes to see how they compared to the plans we designed. “This room is just a little bigger than our bedroom will be… it feels like a good size…” David was in the middle of saying, as the realtor came in to talk to us about buying the house we were obsessively measuring. Feeling bad and not wanting her to waste her time I fessed up to our shenanigans. That’s when the very nice, nameless, realtor smiled and encouraged us to keep measuring. She explained that it’s very common for people to hate the home they custom build because they’ve never actually experienced the feel of each room until it’s too late.
I was terrified. How on earth do we make sure this doesn’t happen to us? Measuring different spaces was a good start but we could never find rooms that were an exact match. I’m not trying be dramatic here, but when you are pouring all of your savings, a crazy amount of time and effort into a project… you want to love it. You want to avoid the feeling of regret at all cost. Read below to find out how we got some peace of mind.
Click here to read more about the Where to Start If You Want to Build A New Home
3 Things You Should Do Before You Build A Home You’ll Regret
- Measure EVERYTHING! Although we felt like we needed something more to get a feel for our future space the experience of measuring kitchen islands, closets and various rooms was invaluable in the alterations we made in our home design. This is how you can figure out if your DIY custom house plans fall in with a “normal” sized closet, bedroom or living room.
2. Design a 3D version of your home. We used this app: Home Design 3D. It’s a game changer my friends. This amazing app allows you to upload your house plans and build a 3D version of your home! You can even hold up your device and walk around your new house virtual reality style! It’s awesome. **We are not affiliates of this app… we just really like it and feel good about recommending it because it helped us so much!**
Click here to learn how we designed our own custom home with no previous experience!
Some apps like this are hard to work with, and sometimes you can end up with a refrigerator that’s backwards with no way to turn it around… or some other such nonsense. But this app is very user friendly. You can pretty much pick it up and use it intuitively with very little learning curve. There is a free version but we sprung for the paid version which has a few more bells and whistles. I was willing to pay $12 for the peace of mind I hoped it would bring.
The reason this is so exciting to me, is that we were able to create our home on this app, decorate it, fill it with furniture, change colors and finishes AND WALK AROUND IN IT!! Seeing how it will look decorated in different ways was nice but what was REALLY wonderful is it really gave us a sense of the space. We could fill the rooms with furniture and see if that sofa was going to be too big for the living room. We could pretend to walk in the front door and figure out if we liked the size of our kitchen and dining room. Was it too big? Too small? What about the bedrooms?
Here… just take a look:
Going through this exercise taught us that our living room, kitchen and dining room will actually be smaller than I had imagined. I’m fine with that… because we are having 20 foot cathedral ceilings and I think if the rooms were too large then our house would not feel homey at all. It was so good to know this, though, rather than decorating our rooms in my head filling them with things that would never fit! Can you say life saver??
3. Dream Board EVERY room. Trust me on this. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, sit down with your house plans and dream. Where do you want your couch to go? Where would you like lamps to be placed? Is there a good spot to store the microwave where it won’t become an eyesore in your kitchen? How many pendants should hang over the island? This exercise is really important for figuring out how many plugs you might want in a room… etc.
Putting these together was super helpful for us in figuring out the concepts we are going for in each room, deciding on possible layouts and looking at finish choices. It also helped us figure out things like… “I think we need to put a plug right there if we plan to have a lamp beside the couch in the middle of the room.” Or, “Let’s see what kind of light fixture I’m supposed to pick for the powder room… wall or ceiling? Wait, what?? There was nothing in the finalized plans for a light in the powder room?? Good luck with your aim everyone, because there isn’t even a window in there!” No, seriously that happened.
See more design dream boards of our home on our Design Page, plus learn what program I used to create these virtual dream boards.
Honestly, this part is the free and fun part! Dreaming, planning and imagining how you and your family will fill those walls with memories and beauty is a fun process. I am arguing here that not only is it fun, it is necessary. It will probably not stave off all “I wish we would have’s”… but it will undoubtedly save you some.
I hope as you sit down to dream, these tips will empower you to make the best decisions for you and your family you possibly can. Ultimately, I hope they will help you realize your dreams in a way that helps you truly find joy in when move in day finally arrives.
Happy planning my friends…