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25 Must Haves in a New Home + Free Printable Checklist

25 Must Haves in a New Home + Free Printable Checklist

When it comes to personalizing the design of your dream home, every detail — from building materials to closet sizes — must be selected with care.

As the construction industry fosters innovative trends, homebuilders have more customization options to choose from than ever before.

That’s why we’ve curated a list of the top 25 must-haves in a new home to take the guesswork out of the customization process, including:

  1. Non-toxic building materials
  2. Smart home technology
  3. Solar panels
  4. Open concept
  5. Tall ceilings
  6. Floor-to-ceiling windows
  7. Hardwood floors
  8. Ensuite laundry room
  9. Trash chutes
  10. Cutting-edge HVAC systems
  11. Energy-efficient appliances
  12. Mudroom with dog bath
  13. Built-in accessibility
  14. Built-in speakers
  15. Built-In garage storage
  16. Large closets
  17. Custom kitchen cabinetry
  18. Home office
  19. Flex rooms
  20. Baby proofing features
  21. Paved patio area
  22. Hidden litter box
  23. Separate basement entrance
  24. Heated pool
  25. Sunroom

Now, whether you’re a first-time home builder or an experienced homeowner, let’s see how you can incorporate these smart and sustainable amenities into your new home.

Visual of BigRentz's home builder checklist


1. Non-Toxic Building Materials

Conscious consumers are going the distance to ensure their new home is free of hazardous materials. Non-toxic building materials, like modular bamboo and pollution-absorbing bricks, offer futuristic solutions to sustainable home construction.

Building materials like insulation and drywall can even prevent mold from forming. Splurging on mold-resistant building materials can potentially prevent serious problems that lead to costly repairs.

2. Smart Home Technology

A man adjusts the settings of his home from a smart home control panel.

Smart home tech is quickly becoming the new normal and allows homeowners to remotely maintain their home as well as track the performance of their appliances and more.

Everything from home security systems to bedroom curtains can pair with a smart device to automate your daily routine. Exercise caution when selecting a smart device since this technology is also surprisingly hackable.

3. Solar Panels

Alternative energy sources like solar panels are stealing the spotlight from pay-by-the-meter electricity brands. Installing solar panels into your new home may require a high initial investment, but it has the potential to reduce your electricity bill dramatically.

Depending on the number of panels you purchase, solar panels can supplement your electricity usage or provide you with all the energy you need to power your home.

4. Open Concept

A living room featuring an open floor plan concept

Homebuilders adore open-concept home designs for their spaciousness and ability to generate an effortless flow between every room in the house.

Instead of building walls between your living room, dining room and kitchen, consider allowing each room to melt into the other. It is also possible to define spaces with large area rugs and wall colors within an open-concept design.

5. Tall Ceilings

The height of a home’s ceilings can dramatically affect how spacious a home feels from the inside. Even relatively small houses can feel expansive with the addition of tall ceilings.

Tall ceilings also allow for the inclusion of large windows that can be the focal point of any room, creating a sense of everyday luxury. Don’t worry — automated curtains and other smart home tech can help you access hard-to-reach places.

6. Floor-to-Ceiling Windows

A living room features floor to ceiling windows.

If large windows allow ample light to enter your home, floor-to-ceiling windows can fill your entire house with natural lighting. Not only is this window style luxurious, but it also fosters an indoor-outdoor aesthetic that is always on trend.

Consider investing in hurricane-proof windows with impact-resistant glass for windows that are as safe as they are stylish. Well-insulated windows can also help reduce energy consumption and keep your home cool all year.

7. Hardwood Floors

Durable hardwood floors are surprisingly low maintenance and look great within any room theme. This flooring type is desirable for its ability to enhance the elegance of a home.

Hardwood flooring is available in a variety of colors and styles that are sure to fit any color palette. Wood’s strength-to-weight ratio also makes it a great building material for earthquake-prone areas, making it one of the must-have features in a new home.

8. Ensuite Laundry Room

Someone starts a load of laundry

Transporting dirty clothes to a laundry room across the house is exhausting. An ensuite laundry room is a luxury amenity that solves the problem of trekking across the house with dirty clothes.

An ensuite laundry room can connect to your bedroom, bathroom or closet. Depending on the layout of your home, consider installing a laundry chute for upstairs residents that leads directly to a hamper in this laundry room.

9. Trash Chutes

Speaking of conveniently located chutes, installing a trash chute in your kitchen can spare you the weekly task of transporting indoor trash to outside bins.

Although the trash chute is far from contemporary, it still plays a role in the growing popularity of smart waste management technologies.

Take care of recycling and composting a household’s waste by installing multiple chutes that lead to corresponding exterior bins.

10. Cutting-Edge HVAC Systems

A mature woman adjusts HVAC settings on the home's control panel.

Extreme temperatures are no threat to top-of-the-line HVAC systems. A heating, ventilating and air conditioning system is the backbone of creating a home that can maintain a comfortable temperature throughout the seasons.

As climate change continues to affect every home of the country, cutting-edge HVAC technology is more important than ever.

11. Energy-efficient Appliances

Installing energy-efficient appliances is another way to reduce utility bills and design a more sustainable home from the start. Refrigerators, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers are all available in energy-efficient models.

Using energy-efficient technology is an especially good idea for homes in regions with frequent power outages or stormy conditions. Having your very own power generator can help ensure that your home still has access to electricity if disaster strikes.

12. Mudroom with Dog Bath

A dog is bathed.

Mud rooms turn your entryway into a practical wash station for the entire household, including the four-legged family members. Every active family needs a place to set down their gear and clean off the mud, dirt and snow.

Consider adding a dog bath to your mudroom for a convenient clean-up after a fun day outdoors. As a bonus, complete the mudroom with coat storage and a place to comfortably take off your shoes.

13. Built-In Accessibility

Build a safe new home for everyone to enjoy. Installing built-in accessibility features like stair ramps and walk-in bathtubs can offer your family and friends an easy way to navigate the space.

Consider widening your doorways and arches to accommodate a wheelchair as well. Even if no one in your household requires enhanced accessibility features, your home will be well-equipped to handle new challenges as your family grows older.

14. Built-In Speakers

A hand adjusts the volume on speakers

Pump up the jams while you’re cooking breakfast, enjoying mid-day yoga or hosting your bimonthly dinner party. If your household is all about good vibes, built-in speakers are must-haves in a new home.

Your speakers can easily be paired with your smartphone, allowing you to select songs and control the volume remotely. Built-in speakers can also turn movie night up a notch by flooding your living room with cinematic soundscapes.

15. Built-In Garage Storage

Don’t let garage storage be an afterthought. Designing custom garage organizational systems from the start can ensure you have all the necessary for cars, tools and other heavy-duty equipment.

Customize your built-in garage storage to the shape of your gear. If your garage features an entryway into the attic, leave plenty of space for a fold-out ladder in your design.

16. Large Closets

A woman chooses an outfit in a walk in closet.

Outfit your new house with large closets capable of storing every season’s wardrobe. A closet with ample storage and great lighting can also double as a dressing room. Add a vanity and makeup station for a glamorous effect.

Closets can also be the gateway to your ensuite laundry room, so personalize the space to best fit your weekly routine. Don’t forget to expand the size of the linen closet and those in guest rooms as well.

17. Custom Kitchen Cabinetry

No new house checklist is complete without custom kitchen cabinets. Design custom kitchen cabinets to make putting dishes away a breeze.

Add a lazy susan or custom racks for wine glasses and champagne flutes. Custom cabinetry can also cradle your cherished glassware with a perfect fit and make grabbing a dish more accessible for every household member.

18. Home Office

A home office featuring a shelf filled with books.

Personalized office spaces are essential must-haves for a new home. If possible, constructing multiple home offices allows every family member to focus in a learning environment free from distractions.

An effective home office has plenty of power outlets, storage space and accessibility to the kitchen for well-deserved snack breaks. Consider facing offices in a direction with beautiful views of nature to create a relaxing atmosphere.

19. Flex Rooms

A flex room is just what it sounds like, a flexible space that can quickly transform into anything your family needs. One day it’s a playroom for the kids; the next it’s a guest room for visiting friends and family.

The potential of flex rooms makes it one of the best new homes ideas to implement into your construction project. Consider keeping built-in installations to a minimum, instead opting for as much square footage as possible to keep these rooms dynamic and capable of serving a variety of possibilities.

20. Baby Proofing Features

A baby stands by a baby gate.

Babyproofing features aren’t just for expecting couples or families with young children. Multi-generational families of any size can benefit from baby-proofing their new home.

Safety features like outlet covers and cabinet closures are essentials for a new house, especially if you plan on hosting family and friends with children of their own.

No need to worry about these features being an eye soar — baby proofing equipment can go behind cabinet doors and is available in muted colors.

21. Paved Patio Area

A new home must-haves checklist isn’t complete without low-maintenance yards or dynamic outdoor spaces like a paved patio area. Having a section of your yard that you can enjoy without mowing first is a must for homebuilders who want to prioritize relaxation over yard work.

Paved patio areas can be covered to shield you from the rain and sun. Adding an outdoor heater or AC unit can also help make this space even more enjoyable. Once the fun is over, simply hose down your paved patio or pressure wash it for a quick and easy deep cleaning.

22. Hidden Litter Box

A cat walks out of an enclosed litter box.

Designing your new home with your pets in mind can create a harmonious lifestyle for everyone involved. Petcare can be a home design afterthought, however, litter boxes and doggy doors are still home necessities to consider during the designing phase.

A hidden litter box can be custom designed to hide in a bathroom, laundry room or outdoor spaces. Choose your location, like under a stairwell, and design an entryway that provides easy access the litter box.

23. Separate Basement Entrance

The growing importance of fire safety is encouraging many new homebuilders to design a separate basement entrance into their homes. A separate basement entrance is more than an alternative exit, however.

This design element is a great idea for anyone interested in renting out the basement of their new home. A separate entrance allows everyone to feel like they have privacy and can be a major selling point to future buyers.

24. Heated Pool

A family of four sits by a heated pool

A heated pool might not be one of the things you need for a new house, but it certainly is a desirable amenity. Incorporating the pool into your home design now can help you lay out the rest of your outdoor space with precision.

Heated pools invite family members to spend time outside year-round, even during cold weather. If your yard space is not big enough for a lap pool, consider investing in a heated plunge pool or hot tub instead.

25. Sunroom

Sunrooms are as dynamic as they are beautiful and can serve as a dining room, art studio, indoor garden or flex space. These sunny spaces are full of large windows to let in optimal levels of natural lighting, making sunrooms one of the most desirable must-haves when building a new home.

Spending time soaking up the sun with an array of indoor plants could be perfect on days when your mental health feels unbalanced or you can’t spend time outside.

Once you incorporate these must-haves in a new home, it’s time to begin constructing the house of your dreams. Renting quality construction equipment is the next step in facilitating a safe and productive homebuilding environment.

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