Building a new home is one of the most exciting and rewarding experiences a family can go through. And lots of decisions will be made, but it’s hard for most families to know where to consider splurging and which things they can save some money on.

I’m clearing up this common dilemma by going over one simple rule to follow and giving you some practical and real-life examples of how Rochester residents are making new home design decisions with ease.

Where to Splurge When Building a New Home

Everyone’s wants and needs lists are different and that’s entirely the point of building a new home—you get to create something that works perfectly for your family’s lifestyle.

What one considers “an upgrade” another might think is frivolous and wasteful. But there is a general rule when deciding if you should splurge or save on a particular section of your new home: splurge on things that are difficult, expensive, or impossible to change down the road.

Ceiling heights

Ceiling heights may not seem like an obvious splurge to most people. But it’s far and wide one of the best ways to make your home feel larger than it really is.

Taller ceilings not only give the feeling of a more grand and expansive space, they can open up opportunities to add more windows. Doing so will bring more natural light into your home; giving it a brighter, airier, and spacious look and feel.

In most homes it’s very hard, and nearly impossible to increase ceiling height after construction has been completed so you’ll need to make this decision very early on in the design stage.


building a new home

There’s no such thing as too many closets. Period. So take some time during the design stages to carve into your plans more closet space than you think you need.

When you’re deciding where to place closets think about how you’ll use each one. Open up your mind to new ideas that your builder and architect have.

One way to be smart about closets is to nix the oh-so-common square walk-in closet. With this type of closet you’ve usually got racks and shelving along the outside walls but are left with some wasted space in the middle.

Going for rectangular versus square shaped walk-in closets will maximize useable space.

An Architect

I’ve talked quite a lot about how the most important things happen during the planning and design process. This stage is arguably the single most important step when you’re building a new home, but most families aren’t awarded the proper resources during this vital time.

Before you choose a builder, ask if they have an “in-house” architect that will physically sit down with you and your family on multiple occasions to design, stretch, and tweak the plan until it’s perfect for you and your budget. Your family is special and building a new home means something more than just choosing from a floor plan that was designed for someone else.

building a new home

How to Save When Building a New Home


Flooring makes up a huge portion of your new home’s budget, and it’s something that needs to be visually appealing and also very durable.

You may be thinking, well if I need it to look amazing and be durable, why is it in the “save” category?

I’m telling you to save in this area because there’s something you don’t know about flooring and how you can save significant amounts of money on your new home build without sacrificing durability or visual appeal.

Natural hardwoods are not only more expensive than other options but they’re much less durable. For the typical family with children and/or pets your hardwoods will be scratched, scuffed, and damaged in a very short period of time, leaving you with expensive maintenance needs for the foreseeable future.

The alternative is to choose a Luxury Vinyl Plank (LVP) flooring for your home. This is not a natural hardwood but if I didn’t tell you that, you’d never know it walking into a new home. It offers scary-realistic wood grain patterns, holds up to almost anything, and is much easier and cost effective to replace or repair than it’s natural counterpart.

Lighting & Hardware

Lighting and hardware are two things that can make or break a budget quickly when you’re building a new home. The price of these items could not have a larger range, and the amount of styles one has to choose from is mind blowing.

Use this area of your budget as a chance to do some digging on your own to find the best deals, because they’re also easier to upgrade in the future than other items.

building a new home

The Basement

It’s undoubtedly the smart choice to build a home with a basement from the get-go, since this is something you cannot change down the road. But that doesn’t mean you have to completely finish all of that extra square footage.

If you know that your family’s lifestyle doesn’t require all of that space right now and you want to save a significant amount of money up front, ask your builder to forego finishing off the basement.

Building a new home in Saint Paul? These might also be helpful…

Should You Build Your Next Home or Buy?

Buying a Lot to Build On: What You Need To Know

Choosing a Minneapolis Builder: Questions You Need To Ask