How Do You Begin To Choose Your New Build Finishes?

Too Many Choices

A few months ago, while I was in the thick of choosing finishes for my own new build bungalow, it occurred to me that not every new buyer knows how to navigate the processes required for their new build. There are umpteen decisions to be made regarding flooring, carpet, tile, countertops, backsplash, kitchen cabinets, bathroom cabinets, lighting, bathroom fixtures, doors, trim, hardware, kitchen taps, appliances, paint and exterior finishes. The options are many and vary widely … subtle variations in colour, texture, pattern, finish, size and shape can be confusing. Every finish chosen should be deliberate and coordinated. Your existing, or new furniture, accessories, area rugs and window treatments should also be taken into consideration. The reality is, you get one opportunity to do it right. You need to choose wisely.

Now lets discuss how you are going to choose your finishes for your new build home or condo … ON A DEADLINE. I mention deadline, because the builder often needs to know all of your finishes, appliance choices and bathroom and kitchen fixtures, well before your foundation is dug. That could mean that you signed last month, and next month your finishes need to be chosen. YIKES!!! As mentioned above, not only am I currently going through this process myself, but I have also held the hands of several LUXURY TRANSITIONS clients while we waded through this daunting and unknown territory of choosing new build finishes. Each builder has different schedules, procedures and options when it comes to choosing finishes … ask questions and be aware of how your builder operates before signing on the SOLD dotted line.

After you have bought, I strongly suggest you visit your builder design centre several times prior to your scheduled visits in order to familiarize yourself with the standard and upgrade finishes your builder offers. If you are armed with knowledge of the vast options available, the task of choosing all of your standard or upgrade finishes will become less stressful. 

But before you begin to choose your finishes, you need to answer these 10 questions, as the answers will impact all of your decisions.

1. Do you have a specified budget? Knowing your budget is one of the topmost considerations when choosing your new build home or condo finishes. As I discussed in my previous post, it is paramount that you know your upgrade budget before making any decisions, including purchasing appliances. Determining your honest budget will aid in knowing where and if you need to make compromises.

2. Who will be using your new spaces? … and how will your spaces be used? Do you have children, pets, family members with allergies, older family members that require assistance with bathroom support handles, wider doorways, carpet on stairs and lower counter heights. Do you entertain? … do you work from home? … or do you require extra storage?

3. Do you know the sizes and shapes for all the rooms in your new build. Your floor plan will indicate this, but you need to be aware that these new rooms may not be comparable to your existing rooms.

4. What are the sizes of each piece of furniture you plan to use in your new build? Measure all your existing furniture, artwork, mirrors, window treatments and accessories to determine if they will fit and be suitable.

5. Do you have too much furniture? Will your current accessories, artwork, lamps and window treatments be compatible in your new spaces? Do you need to edit?

6. Are downsizing? If so, you may need to purchase new furniture that has multiple uses, or purchase new furniture that is downscaled. 

7. What is your aesthetic or style? Determine if your prefer traditional, transitional, country, contemporary, MCM, modern, rustic, industrial, french country, minimalist or eclectic decor.  

8. What are your favourite colours, patterns, textures and finishes?

9. Will this be a long term or short term home? Will you live here or rent the space? Knowing this prior to selecting your finishes may help with the choices you make.

10. Finally will you choose standard or upgrade options?  You likely can’t determine this until you are working with the designer at the design centre.

Many new build buyers are equipped to handle the reality of this process themselves and to adequately answer the questions above. They are confident in their budget and the choices required for the success of their new build house or condo. On the other hand, many new build buyers are overwhelmed by the decisions that need to be made, the options presented, and the confines of their budget, not to mention the builder’s strict timeline. The sales office representatives and the designer at the design centre are trained to assist new build buyers … that is their job. However, the sales representatives and the design centre staff will not be familiar with your existing home and if its contents are transferable to the spaces in your new build house or condo. In this case, hiring an interior decorator / design consulting service such as LUXURY TRANSITIONS, will benefit in evaluating your existing home decor, to determine if editing, repurposing or buying new decor will be necessary. Then, and only then can you begin to choose your new build finishes.

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