Creating a custom home can sometimes be misleading. “Custom” is often synonymous with “new” rather than actually being completely customized to your taste and personality. What often happens is that a custom home is built for an individual family, but it is also a replica of the neighbor’s home, or the home down the street. And while that makes sense to a certain extent given that different builders and contractors favor different styles, there’s still a level of customization that most people crave.
So, how do you truly customize your home’s look when faced with typical builder-grade fixtures, tile, and finishes? The answer is to get creative and source from a wide variety of vendors, including mom & pop shops, vintage and antique dealers, big box hardware stores, and online marketplaces. The wider you cast your net, the more unique your home’s look is bound to be.
Lighting is one of the most overlooked elements of a custom build, and many people assume they have no other option than to use the exact same flush mount fixtures throughout their home. But nothing screams “cookie cutter” like taking that route, and trust us when we say that getting your lighting right is worth every penny because it will completely transform how you feel in each space.
To choose your lighting, you’ll first want to narrow down the style you’re drawn to. And whether that’s traditional, modern, vintage, or a mix of all three and more, you want to maintain consistency throughout your home. Then, get your size and scale right. A too-small fixture is always a bad idea, and it’s better in general to choose fixtures that are slightly bigger than you think you’ll need. An oversized chandelier can look absolutely amazing over, say, a dining room table, but a tiny pendant over that same table will definitely seem off.
When it comes to sourcing your lighting, don’t be afraid to check out different vendors, too. Especially if you’re drawn to popular styles, there are a ton of different options to choose from, and as long as you’re keeping to your overall home style, it’s actually preferred if you have different fixtures in each space. Now, if this feels overwhelming, that’s totally okay – lighting is a fairly straightforward thing to change as time goes on, so don’t be afraid to live in the house for a bit to determine exactly the types of fixtures you love in your rooms.
Similar to lighting, tile is a major game changer in a home – but with this finish, you’ll definitely want to get it right the first time because replacing tile down the road can be a costly and messy fix. But don’t go rushing to your local hardware store to pick up whatever white subway tile or grey chevron backsplash you first lay eyes on. Choosing a tile pattern and style takes a bit more finesse to give it the most longevity in your home.
First and foremost, remind yourself of that style goal you had in mind while choosing your lighting. The tile you select should stay true to who you are and what you love because it makes a statement, no matter where it’s placed. Have a bold and whimsical personality? Go ahead and embrace a colorful graphic encaustic tile. Prefer things a bit more streamlined and minimalist? Probably a good idea to stick to neutral colors and simple patterns. Just be sure to follow your gut instead of following whatever happens to be trendy at the moment – you want to be sure you’ll love it 5, 10, and 20 years from now.
After selecting your style, you’ll want to explore as many tile vendors as you can, both in person and online. The benefit to in-person viewing, of course, is that you can really grasp the texture and feel of each piece. But with online shopping, you do also get a much wider range of options to choose from. Whichever route you take, just remember that tile is one of those custom items that can get pricey pretty quickly. The cost runs the gamut from an inexpensive ceramic tile to a large-scale marble tile made of natural stone. These and everything in between are gorgeous, but being aware of your budget while shopping around will definitely help you narrow down your selections and stop you from falling in love with something far outside of your price range.
Flooring is another key element you won’t want to skimp on. And whether you’re drawn to engineered flooring like luxury vinyl tile or luxury vinyl planks, or you prefer a good old fashioned hardwood flooring, your flooring is a choice you won’t want to make lightly.
While it may seem easy to just choose inexpensive flooring to get it done, it’s best to consider all options on the market because it will affect the lifespan of your flooring. Will you have heavy traffic areas in your home, like mudrooms and kitchens, that will likely need easy-to-maintain and durable flooring? Are you someone who prefers the soft feel of carpeting under foot when waking up in the morning, or do you like the look of natural wood with a plush rug on top instead? All of these are key factors, and ensuring that you’re looking at a variety of flooring vendors to figure out what they offer is essential.
Faucets & Hardware
Finally, making the decision on your faucets and hardware is quite important. You certainly don’t want to choose these at random because the result will be a mish mash of clashing styles throughout each space. Instead, with these selections in particular, you want to try to maintain some sort of consistency throughout. Your door handles, for one, should be identical throughout the entire home, while the finishes on your faucets and cabinet hardware can vary from room to room (as long as you’re keeping things pared down visually in those spaces). Mixed metals can work in a room, but if you’re worried about the space feeling too cluttered or overdone, it’s much easier to keep it simple and stick to a single look.
Oh, and just as you’d reach out to other vendors with your lighting, flooring, and tile, you absolutely want to take a look through multiple vendor sites and shops to find the right look for your faucets and hardware. Faucets lining your hardware store aisle are perfectly functional, but often lack the stylistic and customized elements you may prefer in the long run. Similarly, choosing your cabinet hardware is incredibly important because while these pieces are small, together they have a big impact on the overall space.
A home’s footprint and layout don’t have to be 100% customized. In fact, in many cases, reinventing the wheel (so to speak) is entirely unnecessary – after all, there’s a reason builders tend to stick to certain floor plans again and again – they work! But building a custom home should still, at the end of the day, feel customized to your needs. And while furniture and decor certainly accomplish that, you want to make sure you aren’t skipping the more permanent elements in the process. From faucets to tile, there are endless options to choose from, and with a bit of searching, you’re bound to find the look that fits just right for you.