Designing your new home is a dream come true for many Australians. It’s often the result of years of hard work and strict saving, so it’s important to get it right.

There are a few different options when it comes to choosing a home design. A house and land package means you will get to pick an existing plan or design, while still enjoying the fun of customising your dream home through small changes and selecting your finishings.

Buying land and choosing your own builder means you can pick from hundreds of house designs that could be better suited for your lifestyle, or you could opt to engage an architect if you are wanting to build a higher-spec, custom-made home tailored perfectly to suit your lifestyle.

House design has come a long way in recent years. Advances to building techniques, including developments in technology and energy saving measures has made the process of home design smarter, faster and more sustainable than ever. 

However it’s understandable to feel daunted by the job ahead. Choosing a design that works for your family now and into the future requires a lot of planning and preparation. Your home design journey will be unique and the result needs to be customised to best suit your lifestyle.

In this guide to choosing a home design that’s right for you, we walk you through the entire process from start to finish, giving you everything you need to make informed decisions.

Early research

Look around your current house and make a list of what works and what doesn’t. It could be as simple as paint colours or something more complex such as the arrangement of bedrooms. This will help you start a definitive list of everything you would like included in your new home design.

Separate your list into needs and wants because you may find your budget can’t accommodate everything.

To define the features on your list and to make sure they integrate into your house design, you’ll need some inspiration. You might have seen features in other homes, magazines or virtual tours, but the best inspiration can be found at display homes.

Display home

By visiting a display home, you’ll see the latest in smart floorplan designs and interior features plus a range of house sizes and facades. Best of all, display homes are grouped together in display villages so you can easily compare styles to narrow down your vision. Check out our blog about how to plan your day out at a display village here.

Allow at least 30 minutes to look through each house, take in all the details and gather home decor ideas. If it helps, take photos or notes to refer to later.

Have a close look at the quality of the fixtures and fittings and you’ll soon start to get an appreciation of the finer details.

It’s important to remember display homes rarely feature standard inclusions. They usually feature many optional upgrades not included in the base price. Ask the sales staff what the base price is and what the value of the upgrades are. 

While most homes are designed to fit on the average house block, it’s important to know the size and length of your site to make sure you’re getting the best fit. 


A budget is essential in any home design experience. Compiling a detailed budget will guide you on what you can and can’t afford, and will save you time and energy throughout the process. Without a budget, you’re flying blind, and more likely to encounter stress and disappointment.

Meeting with a mortgage broker or your bank early in the process to discuss your financing options is a great way to get ahead of the game. Compare the loans your broker offers and make sure you understand the differences. The broker will help you apply for loan pre-approval so you can speed up the process of purchasing your new home.

If you’re a first home buyer, check out the incentives offered by your state or territory government and you may find you’re eligible for cash grants or stamp duty discounts.

Planning for the future

You may be focused on what your house should look like now, but what about in a years’ time and 10 years’ time?

If you plan on having children, or more children, you need to consider how many bedrooms you will need. Growing families need plenty of space, so think about the functionality of outdoor spaces plus the potential need for secondary living areas such as a games room and extra bathrooms.

The impacts of COVID-19 have begun to shape ideas on home design, particularly with the addition of home offices. During lockdown, many Australians found their houses lacked adequate study spaces for children and work spaces for adults.

Your design may need to factor in study nooks and spaces for desks in bedrooms, as well as flexible rooms that can be shut off to isolate noise and provide privacy.

The pandemic has also highlighted the importance of ventilation, which can be solved through the principles of passive design. This takes into account the orientation of a home, the placement of windows and doors, as well as the height of ceilings. 

Choosing the right builder

Selecting a good builder who understands your home design is key to achieving exactly what you envisage.

Research builders to find out what their costs are, how long the build takes and who will handle the relevant building and planning applications.

Ideally you want a builder that offers the right living solution for your family, but one who also gives you the option to customise floorplans and designs to suit your needs.

Builders will typically offer a range of floorplans, but it’s personalising these designs that really makes the home your own. When you discuss this with a builder, ask if they charge to make changes to their floorplans and what the costs of their upgrades are.

It’s important to avoid common mistakes such as too few power points in each room, a garage that is too small to house large four-wheel drive cars or utes or not enough storage.

When you select a builder, try to speak to people who have built with them before and do some research online to determine the reputation of the builder.

With more than 40 years of experience in developing thriving new urban communities, Satterley is committed to helping you to get into your new dream home across our various estates in Western Australia, Victoria and Queensland.

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2021-09-17 Property Tips

A guide to choosing the home design that's right for you


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