Practical Tips to Design an Economical Home


Designing your family home can be a delicate balance between dream and reality. You've planned, pinned ideas, and poured over the details of your home to get every space exactly as you want it only to find those details you love won't fit the budget you can afford for your home.

Knowing how to still get the home of your dreams while staying budget-savvy can be overwhelming. You can read about our budget saving tips in our article, " Practical Tips for Budget-Savvy Home Design" by clicking the image below.


Practical Tips for Budget-Savvy Home Design


In this article, we will talk about practical design and construction tips that will help keep your home design both economical and efficient.


Build in Phases

When working within your budget there are likely areas that you can prioritize over wish-list items. For example, leave the basement unfinished or partially unfinished. Often the basement is used for bonus spaces such as theatre rooms, home gyms, or bars. Our suggestion is these bonus rooms can be planned out and roughed-in for future finishing. Another luxury item that you can rough-in but wait to build is a swimming pool.


Reduce the Size of Your Home

Great home design is about maximizing the space you use, and working with an experienced home designer is your greatest asset to keeping costs down. An efficient floor plan will always be more cost-effective than having big rooms that you won’t use.

Finding ways to reduce your building square footage has a domino effect with other costs like:

  • excavation
  • site work
  • foundations
  • framing
  • insulation
  • roofing
  • trims
  • details
  • and the list goes on and on.
* Remember that certain rooms cost more to construct (i.e. kitchens and bathrooms) so edit your design carefully. *


Go for a Smaller Building Footprint

Building ‘up’ by adding a second floor rather than ‘out’ is another way to get the square footage you need without adding expense with things like concrete foundations, roofing and site work.


Simplify the Form of Your Home

Simplifying the form of your home can reduce construction costs greatly. Though that elaborate floor plan you’ve dreamed of is gorgeous, every exterior building corner can add $1000’s of dollars to your final build cost. More complex designs take more time to build, and time is money.

By reducing the number of jogs in your footprint (the number of corners), the more efficient and quicker it is to construct.


Standardize Your Building Products

Standardizing the products used in your home construction opens the way for big savings. Look over your material lists and “sharpen the pencil” by carefully choosing where to utilize larger quantities of the same material or finish. For example, standardizing your bathroom tile selection, or perhaps your cabinet knobs and pulls, can save money on overall material costs because of bulk purchasing.

A great budget-conscious design tip to consider is working with different color variations of the same line of materials. This will add variety without adding more cost, and will help to not make your home look repetitive.

Use Standard Dimensions

Every material has a standard size. Most plywood and drywall come in 4’x8′ sheets. Designing a house with a 2′ or 4′ method can make the most of your building material usage and minimize waste from cut-offs.


Use Cost-effective Materials 

We have great designers who can help you pick out finishes within your budget. They can pick out finishes that are beautiful and budget friendly and be strategic where they use them.

For example, a few higher quality lights in the “main” space of the house (ie kitchen, living room, dining room) and more economical choices for other lesser traffic areas (ie bathrooms, bedrooms).

When it comes to materials, custom options tend to be more expensive than using standard products in your design. A lot of people believe that "the more expensive something is, the better it must be," but this isn't always true when it comes to building materials for your new home. Research your options and ask multiple vendors for quotes instead of buying on impulse.


Use Creative Solutions for High-Ticket Items like Cabinetry and Millwork

To help reduce expenses on cabinetry, consider replacing cabinet doors with open shelves. This costs less because you don't need as much material and labor. Another consideration is to choose economical materials (like laminate or melamine) for your cabinet boxes as it is a great way to save money for other must-have features.


Bottom line- With a little bit of planning, an open-handed approach, and a skilled team of designers dedicated to seeing your dream home vision come to life, it is possible to get into a home that perfectly reflects who you are and how you live without breaking the bank.

If you would like to know more about how our design team can help your home planning, contact our Client Care Team!


  • Anna Collins
    Thanks for the advice about how it’s better to get a smaller building footprint by building up a second floor rather than making the ground floor wide if you want fewer expenses for concrete foundation, roofing, and site work. I managed to save up enough money to have a house of my own built by this year, so I’m currently handling the preparations for it. I’ll be sure to keep this advice in mind while I get in touch with a custom home building service to hire soon.

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