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Custom home with large front porch and brick exterior

8 Upgrades to Include When Building a Custom Home

Posted on Aug 18, 2023 by dreeshomes

What tips do custom builders have for buyers looking to build a custom home? We asked the experts at Drees Homes, who cater to buyers looking to build in custom communities or on their own land. Their answers may surprise you.


1. Create a WOW kitchen

Your kitchen is the heart of your home and a central hub of activity. To really make an impact, splurge on the countertops and cabinet features. Consider a dramatic granite paired with cabinets that extend to the ceiling. Or incorporate open shelving with a dramatic tile backsplash.

kitchen with white cabinets and stainless steel appliances
kitchen with dark wood cabinets and stainless steel appliances
new kitchen with white cabinets

2. Add smart features in the kitchen

Wiring and lighting in the kitchen, as boring as that sounds, is key. LED lighting within cabinets and drawers is becoming a major must-have for buyers. Connected appliances are also emerging which can keep an inventory of your food, send spoilage alerts, suggest recipes and even place reorders for grocery delivery. Think about what to incorporate and plan ahead with your builder.


3. Create a spa getaway

You'll spend a lot of time in your owner's bathroom, so splurge a little to build a relaxing sanctuary. Consider incorporating unique tile designs and upscale lighting fixtures. We're seeing an increasing number of buyers choose super-showers with built-in seating instead of bathtubs. And don't forget to place outlets where you'll need them!


custom shower
tile shower with seat
Primary Bathwith tile shower

4. Make a grand entrance with a stylish front door

This may surprise you! But the front door sets the stage for your exterior and the main entrance of the home. Make a statement that will really wow guests.


5. Plan for outdoor living

If you love fresh air, definitely think about establishing an outdoor living space. This area will allow for an extra entertaining area. There are many options for adding covered spaces with built-in fireplaces. It's a home upgrade you won't regret.


vaulted ceiling covered patio with stone fireplace
outdoor courtyard with a dining table

6. Add trim

This is an often-overlooked feature of the home. Add character by adding trim around windows and creating statement walls with your favorite trim treatments. For example, shiplap in a tray ceiling above your bed or even a wainscoting wall in your dining room will add style.


7. Incorporate high ceilings

Ceiling height allows for an open and airy feel. Two-story foyers, dining or family rooms create a dramatic focal point. Vaulted ceilings with extended fireplaces or heightened cabinets draw the eye up and give an expansive feel. If you are looking to finish your basement, let your builder know to plan for 9 foot ceilings, if possible.


family room with vaulted beam ceiling
Primary Suite with chandelier and accent wall

8. Future-proof your home

Pre-wiring for any needs you might envision down the road will save time and money. It is easier to get the wiring done prior to your home's completion than to tear up walls later. Also consider adding rough-in plumbing in unfinished spaces in case you might like to add a bathroom in the lower level in the future.

The home building process can be fun and easy! With so many options to include in your custom home, you need a team by your side who can provide expert advice every step of the journey. Interested in learning more? Have a lot or need help finding land? Drees can make your custom dream home a reality.