Designing / BuildingHome & Garden

Home Design Tip: How To Determine What You Want & Need In Your New House

So, you’ve been collecting ideas for some time now, and you’ve probably organized them into some form of idea notebook or file folder or something.

If not, go here to see how to make your own notebook & organize your ideas.

Next in the process of designing your new log home is to make a list of your “wants” and your “needs” — as a family.


Here’s how to do that…


How To Determine Your Wants & Needs

This is one of the first steps in designing your new home: determining which features you really want and which ones you really need inside your home in order for your entire family to be the most productive… and happy.

For me, it was a series of 7 simple steps.

You may want to tackle #1 on one day, #2 on another day, and so on. This will assure that your mind is fresh and that you’ll be starting with a blank slate each time.

In fact, it will probably be necessary to take a few days off and step away from this project at times — in order to clear your mind completely of all the “wants”, “needs”, “likes” and “dislikes” and ideas that will be running through your head.

Otherwise, things will start to overlap and get a little fuzzy. (Been there, done that.)

The last thing you want is for this process of designing your dream home to make you feel overwhelmed. If ever you do feel overwhelmed, or that it’s not fun anymore, then take a break! For a few days… a few weeks… whatever.

This process works best if you always start with a clear mind and you’re truly eager and excited to fine-tune the details of your new home.

Be sure to keep it FUN — rather than a chore.


This Is What Worked For Me:

#1 – Start by going room-by-room through your current home and making notes about the things you LOVE… the things you HATE… and the things that you wish were different in this home.

Be as detailed as you possibly can. (For example: “I hate that the sliding patio door opens on the righthand side rather than on the left.”) This step will also be incredibly helpful later on down the line when you have to make decisions about the nitty gritty details of your log home.


#2 – Then, forget about your Love/Hate list and your current home for a few minutes and just brainstorm. Think BIG… What are those things that you dream about including? What would you absolutely love to have in this home — if money were no option?

Go ahead and dream big at this point.

If you need help getting started, think back to other homes you’ve been in or seen, pictures from books & magazines, or ideas from websites you’ve visited. Your favorite things will begin flooding your mind in no time.

TIP: If you’ve got an Idea Notebook, then flip through that a few times. It probably contains your “best of the best” ideas at this point. On the other hand, if you haven’t spent much time looking around & gathering ideas yet, then by all means… spend the next couple weeks doing just that!


#3 – Next, spend some time looking over both #1 and #2 above comparing… what’s on each list… differences between the lists… obvious must-have’s that have now become evident… and so on.

You are beginning to fine-tune your personal tastes and meld them with your family’s actual needs.


#4 – Use a fresh sheet of paper and make your best attempt at listing every single thing that you know that you want in this house — at this point in time. Include functional items (like “a laundry chute”) and as much detail as you can about those items (like “a laundry chute that goes directly from the master bath directly into the laundry room”).

Try to be true to yourself, while still keeping some general budgetary constraints in mind. By that I mean, don’t include an in-ground swimming pool, if that’s just not likely to happen.


#5 – Now this one’s a two-parter:

  • First, take a few days off from this project altogether, so you can clear your mind completely of your wants, needs, likes and dislikes. The less you think about the house for a few days, the better.
  • Then, as soon as you can find a big chunk of time to immerse yourself into this project again, go the other extreme and overwhelm your senses (and your eyeballs) by viewing tons of websites, books and magazines looking for “the best of the best” ideas you can find. But only make note of those that you actually believe you could pull off at this point. (If you’ve got an Idea Notebook, get it up-to-date now.)


#6 – Next, create one big (final) list of your “must-have’s” for this log home of yours.

Think long & hard… it should include as many bullet-points of the nitty gritty details that you truly want and need in your next home.

See my final list of “must have’s” here.


#7 – Finally, prioritize your “must-have” list. (This will determine what gets axed when and if money becomes an issue.)

Number each item one through how ever many you have on your list. Begin with #1 being the most important thing that you feel you just have to have in this log home. Then, the next most important thing… and so on.

That, my friends, is how we actually designed our log home!