Making a Budget: What to Splurge on When Building a Custom Home

Making a Budget: What to Splurge on When Building a Custom Home

October 31, 2023

Building a custom home requires you to make a concise budget, but how do you decide what to splurge on and where to save? We encourage our clients to think through all the elements they may want to splurge on so we can design an accurate budget that accounts for the unique design features that take a new home from cookie-cutter to one-of-a-kind (which is also why we have a design-first philosophy). As you start your home building journey, here’s our top list of splurges to help you create your ultimate list of must-haves.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 1: Location and Land

The first consideration when building a custom home is the location and the piece of land on which it will be constructed. This is one area where splurging can make a significant difference in the long run. A prime location with beautiful views, proximity to essential amenities, and a safe neighborhood can add substantial value to your property over time. Additionally, investing in high-quality, well-drained land can save you money on potential future issues like foundation repairs and drainage problems. While it may be tempting to save money by purchasing cheaper land in a less desirable location, it’s often worth the splurge to secure a prime piece of real estate.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 2: Architectural Design

Your home’s architectural design is the foundation of its aesthetic appeal and functionality. It’s essential to hire a talented and experienced architect who can bring your vision to life. While architects come with a range of fees, it’s generally wise to splurge on a skilled professional who can design a home that reflects your style and meets your specific needs. A well-designed custom home can enhance your quality of life, increase resale value, and provide a sense of pride and satisfaction. It’s not an area to cut corners.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 3: Energy-Efficient Features

Investing in energy-efficient features for your custom home is a splurge that pays off in the long run. This includes high-quality insulation, energy-efficient windows, solar panels, and energy-efficient appliances. While the initial cost may be higher, the long-term savings on energy bills and the positive impact on the environment are well worth it. Additionally, energy-efficient homes often have higher resale values, making it a wise investment for the future.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 4: Kitchen and Bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are often the focal points of a home, and they’re also spaces that see a lot of wear and tear. When it comes to designing and outfitting these areas, splurging can be a smart choice. High-quality countertops, fixtures, and appliances not only enhance the visual appeal but also the functionality of these spaces. You’ll also appreciate the durability and ease of maintenance that come with top-tier materials and appliances.

In the kitchen, consider investing in high-end appliances like a professional-grade stove, refrigerator, and dishwasher. Granite or quartz countertops and custom cabinetry can give your kitchen a luxurious feel. In the bathroom, opt for quality fixtures and finishes, such as a spa-like shower, a soaking tub, and elegant tile work. These upgrades not only add to your comfort and enjoyment but also increase the resale value of your home.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 5: Flooring

Flooring is a significant component of your home that can benefit from a splurge. High-quality flooring not only enhances the visual appeal of your interior but also withstands the test of time. While hardwood floors are a classic choice, they can be relatively expensive. However, their durability and timeless aesthetic make them a worthwhile investment. If hardwood is beyond your budget, consider engineered hardwood or high-quality laminate that mimics the look of hardwood.

In areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, where moisture can be a concern, consider investing in tile or natural stone flooring. These materials are not only durable but also add a touch of luxury to your home. Carpeting is another area where quality matters, as a well-constructed carpet can last for many years and provide a comfortable and cozy feel in bedrooms and living areas.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 6: Lighting

Lighting is often an overlooked aspect of custom home design, but it plays a crucial role in setting the mood, enhancing functionality, and showcasing your home’s features. Splurging on well-designed and high-quality light fixtures can transform your space. Consider investing in a combination of ambient, task, and accent lighting to create a layered and versatile lighting scheme. For example, chandeliers, pendant lights, and sconces can add a touch of elegance to your dining room and living spaces, while under-cabinet lighting and well-placed recessed lights can improve the functionality of your kitchen.

In addition to the fixtures themselves, consider installing a home automation system that allows you to control your lighting from a smartphone or tablet. This technology not only adds convenience but also increases the energy efficiency of your home.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 7: Smart Home Technology

Speaking of technology, integrating smart home features is a splurge that can make your life more convenient and efficient. These features can include smart thermostats, security systems, lighting controls, and entertainment systems. Smart home technology can enhance your comfort, security, and energy efficiency. It also adds value to your home by making it more attractive to potential buyers in the future.

When splurging on smart home technology, work with a professional installer who can ensure that all systems are integrated seamlessly and can be controlled from a central hub or your mobile devices. This ensures that your smart home features work together harmoniously, offering a true modern living experience.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 8: Built-In Storage and Organization

A well-organized home is not only more functional but also more enjoyable to live in. When building a custom home, consider splurging on built-in storage solutions and organization features. Custom closets with built-in shelving, drawers, and shoe racks can help keep your bedrooms tidy and clutter-free. In the kitchen, invest in custom cabinetry with pull-out shelves, pantry organizers, and built-in trash and recycling bins. In the bathroom, opt for vanity drawers and medicine cabinets with ample storage space.

Built-in storage solutions not only improve your daily life but also add value to your home, making it more appealing to potential buyers when it’s time to sell.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 9: High-End Finishes

The finishes in your custom home, such as trim, moldings, and hardware, can make a significant impact on the overall look and feel of your space. While it might be tempting to cut costs by choosing standard or builder-grade finishes, splurging on high-end finishes can elevate the entire design. Crown molding, wainscoting, and custom trim can add architectural interest and sophistication to your rooms. Additionally, high-quality door hardware, cabinet knobs, and faucets can provide a luxurious touch that’s immediately noticeable.

When selecting finishes, consider your personal style and the overall design of your home. It’s essential to choose finishes that complement the architectural style and create a cohesive look throughout your custom home.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 10: Outdoor Living Spaces

Don’t forget about the exterior of your custom home when considering where to splurge. Outdoor living spaces, such as patios, decks, and landscaping, can significantly enhance your quality of life and the curb appeal of your property. Investing in a well-designed and well-constructed outdoor space can create an extension of your indoor living area, providing a place for relaxation and entertainment.

Consider features like a covered patio, outdoor kitchen, fire pit, or a professionally landscaped garden. These elements can make your outdoor space a desirable area for family gatherings and entertaining. Well-maintained landscaping also adds to the overall value and aesthetic appeal of your home.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 11: Quality Construction and Materials

While it’s essential to splurge on various aspects of your custom home, it’s equally crucial to ensure that the construction and materials used are of the highest quality. Skimping on construction quality or using subpar materials can lead to costly problems down the road. Make sure to work with reputable builders and contractors who have a track record of delivering quality work.

When choosing construction materials, focus on durability and longevity. High-quality roofing, siding, and insulation can protect your home from the elements and contribute to energy efficiency. Proper insulation and weatherproofing can save you money on heating and cooling costs in the long term.

Custom Home Budget Splurge 12: Future-Proofing

When building a custom home, consider how your needs may change in the future. It’s worth splurging on features that can future-proof your home and make it more adaptable to different stages of life. This might include designing a ground-level bedroom for aging in place, adding space for a home office, or wiring your home for future technology upgrades.

By thinking ahead and investing in features that allow your home to evolve with your changing lifestyle, you can save money and avoid major renovations or expansions down the line.


Building a custom home is an exciting endeavor that allows you to create a space that truly reflects your preferences and lifestyle. Remember that the splurges you make should align with your personal preferences and long-term goals for your home. Working with experienced professionals, from architects to builders, can help you make informed decisions and bring your dream home to life. By carefully choosing where to splurge and where to save, you can create a custom home that is both a source of pride and a sound financial investment.

We created the ultimate design guide to help you review your fixtures and finishes.