Building a custom home empowers you to customize every detail of your home to fit your lifestyle. But a lot goes into designing a home, and with so many considerations to take into account the process can be overwhelming. Avoid the stress by planning ahead with a custom home design checklist!

Keeping a checklist can help you and your architect keep track of layout decisions and designs, and it can ensure that you don’t leave out any important details out of your home design. With a checklist, your custom home builder and architect will be able to do a more thorough and complete job of customizing your home’s features.

What Should You Consider in Your Checklist?

The more detailed and thorough your custom home design checklist is, the more likely the results will truly reflect your vision of your dream home. For this reason, your checklist should start from the very beginning of the design process, including broad considerations about selecting a build site and the positioning of your home. As your project progresses, it will become easier to focus on more minute details of your home, such as the finishes and materials you would like to work with.

Siting Checklist Questions

Regarding the siting of your custom home, your design checklist should include decisions about the ideal location for your home. This means thinking about the type of land you want to build on, the kinds of views you hope to see from your home, and how your home relates to the larger surrounding area or neighborhood. Some examples of questions to answer on the siting portion of your custom home design checklist are:

● What kind of topographical terrain do you want to build on?

○ Do you want your home on a flat lot of land, or should it sit on top of a slope?
○ Do you want to build on/near a specific type of landscape, such as a forest, lake, mountain, or beach?
○ Do you want your home to be privately situated out of view from other nearby lots?
○ Would you like your home to be surrounded by open areas or tall trees?

● What kind of view should be visible from your home?

○ How should your home be situated in relation to the sun?
○ What type of garden (if any) do you hope to maintain, and what are the lighting requirements for these species of plants?
○ Are you in a climate where you want more direct sunlight entering your home to provide warmth and natural light?
○ Are you in a climate where you want to prevent direct sunlight from entering your home and providing warmth?

● How close should your home be built to neighboring houses?

○ How large do you want your home to be?
○ Will you need to use a portion of your land for wells, septic tanks, or electrical hook-ups?
○ Do you want your home to mimic the style of nearby houses or stand apart as stylistically unique

General Home Layout Checklist Questions

Once you have an idea of where you plan to build your custom home, it is important to do some additional research on the zoning requirements. You may find that certain areas require specific measures to gain access to regular accommodations, such as electrical power or a water supply. More than that, lots in historical districts may have restrictions on the types of styles and finishes you may use on the exterior of your house.

Besides figuring out siting details for your project, you will also want to think about the general layout and functionality of your home, such as how many rooms you need and how much space can be allocated to parking vehicles.

You home layout checklist may include:

● How many bedrooms should your home have?

  • Will all of the bedrooms function as sleeping areas, or will some serve other purposes, such as a library, home gym, play room, or home office?

● How many bathrooms should your home have?

  • How many of these bathrooms should be directly connected to bedrooms?

● How many parking spaces should your home have?

  • Do you want to park in a sheltered garage area or will the climate accommodate parking outside?

● Do you want multiple living spaces in your home?

  • Will any of the living spaces be outdoors, such as a balcony, patio,

● Do you want multiple dining spaces in your home?

● How many levels (and flights of stairs) will your home have?

  • Will your home include a basement area underground?
  • For homes with multiple stories, which rooms should be most accessible (and therefore on the first floor)? Should any include special mobility accommodations, such as an elevator, to make all areas of the home accessible?

General Interior Flow Checklist Questions

Having a clearer picture of the number and types of rooms you want your custom home to provide allows you to start thinking about the style and design details of your home interior. For example, you may want to ask yourself about your preferences in terms of individual room size, open vs. closed layouts, room ceiling heights, and the placement of doors and windows throughout.

● How big should each room of the home be?

● What rooms of the home can be grouped together (for example, placing the kitchen near a dining area)?

  • Will some of these areas share a space in an open plan or will each room be physically separated with walls?

● What rooms of the home should be kept more private from the rest of the house (for example, an in-law suite)

● Do any rooms have specialized functions requiring unique construction (for example, tall ceiling heights to accommodate bookshelves or increased levels of sound insulation for music rooms)?

● How many entrances and exits do you want the home to have?

  • Which rooms of the home should have direct access to outdoor areas, such as a balcony, deck, or patio?

Detailed Features of Each Room Checklist Questions

After figuring out the general functional flow of your home, it’s time to consider the customization you hope to achieve in each room of the home. Should your kitchen include any specific appliances? Do you want some bedrooms to also have a walk-in closet? What features do you want to include in the living areas of your home? For this step, you may want to create a checklist for each room of the home. That way each room can be customized to suit your functionality needs.

Here are some common questions regarding individual room customization.

Living Areas:

● Do you want to allow for specific activities in the living areas, such as watching TV or gathering by the fireplace?

● Do you intend to have a formal or informal living area (or both)?


● Should your kitchen include a traditional pantry or butler’s pantry?

● Do you want specific areas in your kitchen, such as a wet bar, food prep station, or eat-in area? Will you need a special pet feeding area?

● What appliances will you need to cook with most often?

Dining Areas:

● Do you want a formal or informal dining space (or both)?

● Will you display any art or heirloom items in this area?

● Do you want to make accommodations for a bar or coffee bar area in your dining space?


● How many closets should each bedroom have?

○ Should any of these closets be planned as full walk-in closets?

● Will any of the bedrooms have access to a private bathroom?


● Will the bathroom make use of a shower or tub (or both)?

● Is there a dressing area or makeup area included in the bathroom?

● How many bathrooms will be full vs. half bathrooms?

Work with an Experienced Custom Home Architect

These are just some of the decisions to make when planning your custom home. In order to ensure that your checklist includes everything you need to design your dream home, start with broad ideas and then narrow to style and design details. As you begin the process of planning your custom home, you’ll probably come up with even more questions, so it’s important to start planning your custom home with a trusted architect.

Working with an experienced luxury custom home architect like the Anderson Studio of Architecture and Interior Design can improve your overall experience of building a custom home. Our knowledgeable and accomplished team puts the client’s preferences, inclinations, goals, and dreams at the center of every project to create personalized luxury homes. When you work with a professional architect group that you can trust, you’re sure to love the way your dream home is built!