Design Studio Tips for New Homes

Posted by under Buying a Home

Buying a home on concept involves the additional step of customizing its interior, inside out. Many major home developers have design studios where the different finishes and upgrades can be viewed. The design studio process can be an exciting and overwhelming experience. This also gives you the perfect opportunity to ensure that your home is up to date with the modern decor trends. Here’s what to consider when reviewing design options for your new pre-construction condo.

Structural Upgrades

Structural upgrades are extremely costly and inconvenient to do after closing. These include floor plan (architectural) options such as hardwood floor stairs. It’s recommended to keep this as a priority, because of the huge costs associated with these form of upgrades. In many cases, structural upgrades can improve the home resale value). For structural upgrades, focus on three major things: hardwood floor stairs, open concept floor plans, and nine-foot ceilings. These factors give any home more of an open, airy concept, giving the space a bigger feel.


The kitchen is the focal point of every home. It’s important to get this part right as this can make, or break the home. Houzz provides a great source of inspiration for kitchen ideas, with millions of pictures for your next kitchen. This would help give you an understanding of your taste, and the colour scheme you’re aiming for within the kitchen.

It can be hard to imagine what the kitchen will look like with the chosen colour scheme and sample pieces at the design studio. This is where Houzz comes handy, with the plenty of pictures available, it makes it much easier for you to visualize your future kitchen. Another advice is to place the countertop, cabinets, and flooring samples next to each other at the design studio – this method will help you visualize the kitchen, and help determine if it is the right match.


You’ll have a huge selection of flooring to choose from at the design studio. Again, I’d recommend looking at interior designing websites for inspiration, to get a taste of what type of flooring you like. Aside from the colour and material from the flooring, you’d also get the chance to customize the installation. I.e., hardwood floors can be installed at a 45-degree angle, to give the illusion of a larger space. This small change can also significantly increase the resale value of your home.

Paint Colour

This is something that can easily be done after closing – it’s not recommended to have this as one of your priority items at the design studio. The paint in new homes cracks as the house settles, so you would end up repainting within a few years, regardless. White paint, or cream paint is usually the standard paint colours for most home builders. Keeping the paint colour neutral would benefit the resale value of your home – since this gears towards most buyers in the market, thus making the house sell faster.


Similar to the kitchen, you can choose fancier finishes for your bathroom such as stone countertops, and upgraded flooring. Standard features are usually suitable enough for bathrooms. The most important part is to get the colouring right (i.e. making sure the colour of the countertops, cabinets, and tiles blend in together). If there is room in your budget, you can do some of the upgrades you desire. However, this shouldn’t be your main focus – as mentioned before, focus on the kitchen and structural upgrades.


This applies for detached homes only. For townhomes, semi-detached homes, and condos, the exterior is usually predetermined by the developer. If you do get the opportunity to choose the exterior of your home, stick to one colour theme. You will be choosing the eaves trough, brick colour, and door/garage colour. Use the developer’s rendering to help give you a vision of what your desired colour scheme would look like.

Don’t Rush Your Design Decision

If you can, visit the design studio once or twice, before your actual appointment. This will give you a better understanding of the different choices available to you. It’s typical to spend more than 2 – 3 hours at the design studio. The payment options at the design studio vary by the builder; some builders require you to pay a certain percentage of the money spent at the design studio. Keep in mind, a higher purchase price would increase your closing costs. My main piece of advice is to stick to one colour theme and design (i.e., contemporary, modern). Make sure the finishes are consistent throughout the house – this would certainly give the house more character.

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