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Things to Consider When Building a House: 11 Amazing Additions

With limitless design options, how do you know what things to add when building a house? Although custom houses tend to reflect originality, they should also be built to maximize investment. Whether you’re about to construct a new home or just curious about design features, we’ve put together a list of things to include when building a house, regardless of the size or style.

#1. Energy Efficiency Features

Energy-efficient homes lower energy consumption, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and decrease carbon footprints. A home’s construction, appliances, and major features impact energy consumption, which, given climate change, is a major building consideration. So much so that the U.S. government offers federal residential tax credits to offset the cost of renewable energy technologies.

New house must-haves include installing energy-efficient appliances, solar-powered heating, and lighting, as well as considering the direction windows face and their insulation capabilities. Smaller considerations include selecting the right LED lights and utilizing natural light as effectively as possible to reduce electricity costs.

#2. A Better Water Heater

tankless water heater

One of the features to consider when building a new home is a tankless water heater. Also known as an on-demand or instant water heater, these heat water instantaneously without the use of a storage tank. They are about 24% to 34% more energy-efficient, resulting in significant energy savings.

#3. A Multipurpose Kitchen

If you’re committing to a kitchen overhaul, you might want to consider designing a multipurpose space to accommodate dining, a breakfast nook, or a pantry area. Kitchen islands are also cool things to add when building a house and offer ample countertop room for cooking and dining, while dual sinks make cleaning easier.

Smart storage design also provides space for recyclable and non-renewable bins and large pantry cupboards if you don’t have space for a walk-in area. Layout and lifestyle play a key role in designing an economical and efficient multipurpose space.

#4. More Drawers and Cupboards for Extra Storage

Building a house gives you carte blanche to design ample storage areas. Consider how storage pieces can enhance other functions taking place in the room. For instance, if you’re building shelving in your study, you might consider integrating a working desk space.  

Maximizing the practicality and aesthetic of wardrobe and closet storage should enhance and not compete with a home’s architecture and interior design. Some ideas include built-in wardrobes under stairs or in awkward nooks and kitchen cupboards built to the ceiling to store items less frequently used.

#5. Convenient Outdoor Outlets

outdoor outlet

Convenient things to put in your new home, like outdoor outlets, eliminate the need for potentially hazardous extension cords. Smart outlets allow for the easy programming and operation of outdoor lighting, ranging from remote control smart lighting to device-driven options compatible with Alexa and Siri.

#6. Better HVAC System

New HVAC technologies reduce carbon emissions by up to 25%. Installing active solar thermal units and high-efficiency heat pumps is far more eco-friendly than traditional units. Quality HVAC systems clean the air as it cycles, preventing the build-up of pollutants, allergens, and dust.

Some of today’s automated HVAC systems offer individual room temperature control in heating or cooling mode. Not only are these HVAC systems easy to use, but they’re also manufactured with hi-tech noise-absorbing materials that remove operating noise, creating a more pleasant environment.

#7. Comfy Heated Floors

Heated Floors

Heated floors are cool things to include when building a house. Radiant heating, a system of tubes installed under floors, behind walls, or the ceiling, is capable of warming up the entire house. It’s also more efficient than baseboard or forced-air heating because it eliminates duct losses and operates at 84 degrees Fahrenheit.

#8. Heated Driveways

Exterior custom home building ideas include strategies to keep driveways free of snow/ice during winter. Installing a heated driveway system can keep your whole drive snow-free, or it can target a section. Often, a single heated wide tire lane is sufficient. Although it comes at a cost, it is well worth the investment if you live in an area with heavy snowfall.

#9. A Taller Basement Sealing

Homeowners have increasingly realized the benefit of choosing a higher ceiling when basement remodeling. It’s more inviting and offers better resale value, in addition to improved usability. The option of larger basement windows also means more natural light.

Desirable homes include basements with nine-foot, ten-foot, or even higher ceilings. With an open space, you can add tall features like arcade games, a large viewing screen,  or extended storage space.

#10. Sun Tunnels for More Light

If parts of your home lack natural light, then you’ll want to include sun tunnels on your custom home feature checklist. These tubular skylights run from the roof windows into the living areas, providing much needed natural light.

Whether flexible or fixed, sun tunnels are easy to install and have become a mainstay in eco-friendly architectural projects. Their polished sheet metal tubing acts like a mirror that reflects light down the length of the tunnel, preserving intensity and warmth.

#11. More Spacious Garage

More Spacious Garage

Other things to consider when building a house include a bigger garage. Parking is much easier when you have a slightly larger space. Moreover, many homeowners are transforming garages into creative spaces that are not just for car mechanics. There’s also the option to transform garage lofts into complete living spaces for elderly parents, older kids, or renting out to generate additional income.


There are so many cool new house features that accommodate the growing importance of sustainable and functional design that suits different lifestyle needs without compromising individuality or uniqueness.

When it comes to knowing how to combine the two, there’s no substitute for hiring professionals who know what they’re doing. Zenith Design + Build is an award-winning remodeler and custom builder in Des Moines. We’ve built many beautiful homes to the delight of our happy clients, who live in homes they love. If you’re searching for a custom home builder, then contact us to find out how we can help!

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