Home design board with various colors and textures

Know Your Style Before You Build

Before you schedule a meeting with a builder or interview an architect, it is important to know the style of home you would like to build. These details will be the foundation on which you decide your home building team. When you know your style before you build, a builder will be able to give you a more accurate price per square foot, and you can better assess whether the designer or architect’s style matches yours.

A Few of Your Favorite Things

One of the best ways to narrow down your style is to search online for pictures that you just love. It would be helpful to have a few pictures for each aspect of your house, both inside and out. Here’s a list of the categories you should consider which ones apply to your home and have a few pictures saved for referencing back to your favorite looks:


  • Craftsman, Modern, Ranch, Contemporary, Traditional etc.
  • Doors – Front doors, Garage Doors and Interior doors, Height
  • Windows – Size, Color, Shape, and Decorative features (if any)
  • Roof – Style and Material for your climate and budget


  • Carpet
  • Hardwood,
  • Laminate,
  • Linoleum,
  • Tile,
  • Concrete
  • Which rooms have which flooring or the same throughout?
  • Flooring for high traffic areas should be easy to clean and durable.


  • Trim – Color (Natural wood or painted), Height, Decorative features
  • Hardware – Door knobs, Handles, Faucets, Shower heads
  • Paint – Sheen level (glossy or matte), Undertone hue, Unified color throughout or colors based on room


  • Layout – U-Shape, L-Shape, G-Shape, U=Shape, Galley
  • Island – Size, position and features of island: prep sink, outlets, seating area, Storage within island or Table style island
  • Cabinets – Natural wood or painted, Lower drawers or doors, Open shelving or Upper cabinets or Both
  • Pantry – Walk-in, Wall of cabinets, Pull-out drawers, Features, What do you need to accommodate: Height of mixers, Food processor, Cereal, Coffee maker etc.
  • Sinks – Kitchen, Bathroom and Laundry/Mudroom, Apron front sink, washboard sink, double sink or one large sink


  • Wood stove
  • Fireplace
  • Double-sided fireplace
  • Gas
  • Wood burning or Gas assisted wood burning fireplace
  • Off-Center or centered on wall
  • Wood storage location


  • Window seats
  • Shelving
  • Cabinets
  • Closets
  • Storage


  • Coats and shoe storage
  • Flooring that can handle mud
  • Clothes hanging area
  • Dog washing area
  • Laundry sink
  • Clothes hanging area

Outdoor Living

  • Paver stones
  • Basic or stamped concrete
  • Deck (wood or composite)
  • Fireplace or fire pit
  • Outdoor kitchen

Narrow Down

Refer to your two or three favorite pictures for each category as you make design decisions. This will help you stay true to your style and taste. Your style might change as you go through the design process.

 “As your style evolves be sure and let the old inspirations and directions go (delete them) so that you do not find yourself pulled in too many directions. It will be hard — but narrow down, narrow down, narrow down, so that the inspiration images you are using as reference are really the top, most-prized ones.”

Kristina Leigh Wiggins, Building Your Home: A Simple Guide to Making Good Decisions

Resources (ahem! This Blog!)

A couple of great online resources for saving pictures are Pinterest.com and Houzz.com. As you work on your plans and get a more specific understanding of the cost of your home, it will be easier to narrow down your top choices, as you will know which ones fit within your budget. Be sure to follow I ❤ Home Design on Pinterest!