All white bathroom with glimpse of a shoe closet

Design Your Dream House

A handy worksheet helps you prioritize the projects that will make your new house, your home.

Image: Pretty Providence

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This article was contributed by BFF’s Jessica Burgess and Sarah Skaggs, who collaborate (long-distance) on the lifestyle blog Pretty Providence, where they share home DIY projects thrifty tips and other money-saving wisdom.

Hello, friends! I’m so excited about this post! Whether you’re just now in the process of buying your first home, or you’ve been in your home for years, chances are you have big plans to make it into your dream home — I know I do! 

Why New Construction Was Best for Us

We built our house about two-and-a-half years ago through a volume home builder because it was the smartest financial option for us. At the time, the market was really high, and using a volume builder was actually cheaper than buying an existing home. Plus, we got exactly what we wanted! 

We had the freedom to pick out colors that we loved, but we were limited by the builder’s feature options. 

This resulted in us choosing very basic styles and making plans to find replacements down the road that we really loved — like all of our light fixtures. (Don’t you love the pretty copper chandelier we put in our home library?!)

Blue-green library with piano and copper chandelierImage: Pretty Providence

Our house had amazing bones, a great family floor plan, and a nice color palette. Still, almost immediately when we moved in, I had a mental list of all the things we could to do to transform it into our perfect place.

Now, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to change and improve your home, but it can be a dangerous game, too. I didn’t want all these awesome ideas I had for our house to take away from the beauty of it right then as it was.

For example, we are loving all the electrical updates we’ve made in our home like the nightlight outlets underneath the towel holder in the picture below. But our home was still totally functional before we had them.

Child looking in mirror of white bathroom with black crossesImage: Pretty Providence

The trick is to be content with what you have while you simultaneously work to improve. The easiest way for us to do this was to make a dream house project list!

Related: The Best Ways to Personalize Your Home

“Create Your Dream Home” Worksheet

My husband and I listed all the projects we wanted to do, along with their associated costs, and then ranked them in order of priority. This helped us develop a clear plan to work with the money we had on hand.

Of course, I had to make a free printable option for you guys, in case you want your own dream house project list. You can download and print your own right here

Having things listed allowed us to honestly evaluate our feelings and determine which things were most important to us. Also, on those occasions when we found a little bit of extra money but not enough to tackle a huge renovation, we looked at our list and selected a smaller project to accomplish. 

Chalk door that says, "Come what may and love it!"Image: Pretty Providence

For example, in our tiny mudroom makeover pictured above, we added a chalkboard door for a cheap addition that makes a statement.

Our dream home project list was so fun to compile together, and it has transformed our dreams from feeling daunting into exciting again. Plus, it’s fun to look back over our list at the end of the year and remember all the things we’ve already accomplished! 

Good luck turning your houses into dream homes, friends! 

Related:  The 7 Most Financially Savvy Home Upgrades You Can Make

Sarah Skaggs and Jessica Burgess of Pretty Providence

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