Value is Not a Four-Letter Word

A recurring theme in the home building industry is housing affordability and the impact the dearth of attainable homes is having on home building  in general. With that mind, Lita along with Tom Devine from Housing Design Matters, presented a program at the International Builders Show (IBS) in January that discussed the importance of delivering homes that buyers want and can actually afford. Thus, illustrating that value is not a four-letter word.

During their presentation they shared tips on how to save money through strategic architectural and interior design decisions. From floor plan design, to finishes, to outside elevations, their presentation was as informative as it was comprehensive. This blog will cover the highlights of that presentation and (hopefully) remove the stigma of the word “value.” Because as you will read, value does not have to be a four-letter word.

Value: It Starts at the Start

While this may sound like something Yogi Berra would say, it’s accurate. To build a home with value in mind, one must be thinking about value from the start, from the creation of the floor plan. Key considerations in creating a value-promoting floor plan include:

  • reduce exterior walls
  • avoid snout garages
  • minimize circulation (buyers don’t want to pay for hallways)
  • create long sight lines (makes a smaller footprint feel larger)
  • maximize natural light and open space (again, to make small footprint feel large)

Ultimately, these considerations add value by creating a small plan that lives large.

Keep it Simple, Keep it Bright

When a prospective buyer walks into your home, you want to them to be overwhelmed with desire to live there. And, as a builder you need to entice that desire without breaking the bank. One way to do that is through light. Maximizing natural light and open space can create that luxurious feel. Ways to promote light and luxury (at least the perception thereof) include:

  • lining up windows with doorways to allow light to flow through the space
  • create long sight lines
  • keep drapery limited (to add light and expand perception of space)

Focus on Flexibility

Providing a variety of options can make a simple floor plan seem like so much more. For example, be sure to create a room that is designed in such a way as to inspire a multitude of dreams (e.g., home office, spare bedroom, etc.). Some buyers may struggle envisioning how they might use the space, so it is crucial to merchandise in a way that shows off and demonstrates that flexibility.


Creatively merchandised flex room in award winning 55+ buyer home includes versatile desk, bed, and storage options in Florida.


Creative Design goes a Long Way

In the same vein as using simple materials to create the feeling of luxury, employing creative design can go a long way towards maximizing your dollar and promoting that luxurious feeling. If your model is merchandised in a creative, strategic way, even the most “affordable” of materials can seem high-end. For example:

  • arrange mirrors to make a room look bigger
  • add a frame around a simple mirror can make it appear more expensive
  • include an expensive pillow or two on a more affordable sofa
  • consider adding wainscoting in a bathroom (small space, big impact)
  • think outside the box for impact pieces

For example, this is just a section of wallpaper that our designer framed to create a strong (and expensive looking) art piece:


Exterior Details Matter Too

It goes without saying that the outside details matter too, and in fact, are perhaps the most important detail. Consider that they are your first line in defense in promoting the importance – and accessibility – of value. Outside elevations are the home’s first impression.

Using the rule of three materials helps to create a feeling of the home being upscale: more customized, less cookie cutter.

Designing and building homes that are affordable does not have to be boring or ugly. With well-crafted architecture and strategic interior design, value does not have to be a four-letter word!

To learn more on high-quality, high value architecture please contact Tom Devine at Housing Design Matters.

And, for more on dream-inspiring-but-yet-not-budget-breaking interior design, please contact us at Lita Dirks & Co.