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Home Build prep guide



Must Haves When Building a Custom Home

Published on:


written by:

Carrie Barker


When you google the phrase, ‘must haves when building a custom home’, you’ll find lists of what *other* people consider to be must-haves in their own homes. However, these lists might not include things that are must-haves in your own dream home.

A must-have for one person may be something that you don’t even care about … so you shouldn’t be adding it to your list of where to splurge. This is YOUR house, and it should reflect YOUR wants and needs (not what others think you *should* include in your home)

In this episode, I will share a lengthy list of what other people consider to be must-haves in their homes. But remember … this list is simply to get the wheels in your head turning so you can create your own list of what is most important to you and your family in your future home.


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As I mentioned before, what other people consider a non-negotiable (i.e. a must-have) in their future dream home might not even be a thought for you.

It kinda bothers me when someone tells you that you *must* include something in your home. 

That’s NOT true! This is your house and you can do whatever the heck you want.

With that said, I want you to take what you want from the ‘must haves’ lists that you find online (as well as the list below) and leave the rest. In other words, if something is NOT important to you, don’t worry about including it in your house! 

This is YOUR house … simply use these ideas to get started in creating your own list of what you and your family are not willing to give up in your future home :).


Just to be clear … this is NOT my list of must-haves (although I do share my list as a bonus inside my BYB Program).

This is a list of ‘must haves’ that I have gathered and compiled from blog posts online. 

  • Large mudroom with plenty of storage
  • First-floor primary suite
  • Second-floor primary suite
  • Large bedrooms
  • Large bedroom closets
  • 3 car garage
  • Dedicated laundry room on the main level
  • Dedicated laundry room on the second level
  • Dedicated home office
  • Walk-in closets
  • Custom kitchen cabinets
  • Walk-in pantry
  • Outdoor Kitchen
  • Built-in shelving 
  • Guest suite
  • Playroom
  • Teen Room
  • Coffee bar in the kitchen
  • Built-in speakers throughout the home
  • Double kitchen islands
  • Energy-efficient features
  • Accessible features (and Aging in Place features) 
  • Window seats
  • Extensive trim work 
  • Wine storage
  • Smart technology
  • Heated floors
  • Tons of storage
  • Linen closets in bathrooms 
  • Separate ice maker in the kitchen
  • Beverage fridge in pantry or kitchen
  • Two stories
  • One story
  • Basement
  • Rec room above garage
  • And so much more!


All of the ideas in the list above are great ‘must haves’ for somebody, but that doesn’t mean they are necessarily must-haves for your family … and that’s OK!

Just because one person considers something a must-have in their home doesn’t mean you need to incorporate it in your house … especially if it’s not something you even care about (e.g. wine storage or large bedrooms). If you don’t care about it, don’t add it to your list!

Use the ideas from this list to help you start brainstorming, but ultimately, your list of must-haves in your future home is up to YOU. I encourage you to grab a piece of paper (or open up a fresh Google Doc) and start creating a list of your own must-haves when building a custom home.

If you want more guidance on preparing for your home build, download my *FREE* ‘Custom Home Build Start Guide’ and learn the four crucial steps to build your home with less stress, more confidence, and a strategic plan to stay on budget :). 

  1. Adrienne Morgan says:

    I will add what I’ve heard from my clients: a dog wash, a gun room/safe room, a freestanding tub in the master, a coat closet by the front door (builders often leave this out), and gas lanterns out front.

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I designed my own custom home from the ground up, inside and out. A home that is cozy, comfy, laid out perfectly for the way my family lives, and makes us happy every single day. Oh, and did I mention I did this all without blowing the budget?! 

Yep, it’s true. I’ve been there, done that, and actually lived through it … and you will too. Pinkie promise!

a.k.a. Caroline on Design

I’m Carrie Barker.

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