Building a custom home is an exciting journey that allows you to create a living space tailored to your tastes and needs. However, with countless decisions to make and a budget to consider, it’s crucial to know where to skimp and where to splurge to get the most value out of your investment. Here’s a guide to help you make those decisions wisely. 


Where to Splurge 

  1. Kitchen
  • Why Splurge: The kitchen is often the heart of the home, a place for family gatherings and entertaining guests. High-quality appliances, durable countertops, and custom cabinetry not only enhance functionality but also add significant value to your home.
  • Splurge Suggestions: Invest in good quality appliances, stone countertops like granite or quartz, and custom cabinets. 
  1. Bathrooms
  • Why Splurge: Bathrooms are another area where quality matters, both for personal enjoyment and resale value. Quality fixtures, interesting tiles, and efficient layouts can make a big difference.
  • Splurge Suggestions: Go for high-end fixtures, durable tiles, and perhaps a freestanding bathtub or a spacious shower with multiple heads. 
  1. Windows and Doors
  • Why Splurge: Quality windows and doors improve energy efficiency, security, and aesthetic appeal. They also provide better insulation, which can save on energy costs in the long run.
  • Splurge Suggestions: Choose energy-efficient, double-glazed windows and solid, secure exterior doors. Consider large windows or sliding glass doors to enhance natural light. 
  1. Insulation and Energy Efficiency
  • Why Splurge: Investing in good insulation and energy-efficient systems can lead to significant savings on utility bills and make your home more comfortable year-round. Consider spray foam insulation for the ceilings at a minimum, and for the rest of the house if budget allows.
  • Splurge Suggestions: High-quality insulation, energy-efficient HVAC systems, and possibly even renewable energy solutions like solar panels. 
  1. Flooring
  • Why Splurge: Durable and aesthetically pleasing flooring can withstand daily wear and tear while adding to the home’s overall appeal.
  • Splurge Suggestions: Hardwood, stone, or high-end tile flooring in high-traffic areas like the living room, kitchen, and entryways. 


Where to Skimp 

  1. Secondary Bedrooms
  • Why Skimp: Secondary bedrooms are typically used less frequently and for shorter periods. While they should still be comfortable and functional, they don’t need to be outfitted with top-of-the-line materials.
  • Skimp Suggestions: Use less expensive tile or laminate flooring and standard fixtures and fittings when necessary. 
  1. Light Fixtures
  • Why Skimp: There are plenty of stylish yet affordable lighting options available. Spending less on lighting doesn’t mean you have to compromise on style.
  • Skimp Suggestions: Choose budget-friendly, attractive light fixtures and save the splurge for key areas like the entry or dining room chandelier. 
  1. Interior Doors
  • Why Skimp: Interior doors don’t face the same wear and tear as exterior doors and can be easily updated down the road.
  • Skimp Suggestions: Standard, pre-fabricated doors work just fine for interior use. 
  1. Landscaping
  • Why Skimp: While a beautiful yard is desirable, landscaping can be a continuous and gradual project. You can start with the basics and add more elaborate features over time.
  • Skimp Suggestions: Initially focus on essential landscaping and plan for future enhancements as your budget allows. Having a long-term design in mind will help avoid unnecessary costs.
  1. Cabinet Hardware and Small Fixtures
  • Why Skimp: These items can be easily upgraded later on if desired and often have affordable yet stylish options available.
  • Skimp Suggestions: Select basic, functional hardware and fixtures that can be swapped out as trends or tastes change. 


In conclusion, building a custom home involves balancing your budget while ensuring you get the quality and features you desire. By strategically deciding where to skimp and where to splurge, you can create a beautiful, functional home without breaking the bank. Focus your spending on high-impact areas that enhance daily living and long-term value, and opt for cost-effective choices in areas that can be upgraded later. With thoughtful planning and prioritization, your custom home will be a true reflection of your vision and a wise investment for the future. If you’d like to learn more, contact SM Built at