What NOT to Upgrade at the Design Center

I would almost equate our builder’s design center to an amusement park. It’s a wonderland of every available option and upgrade that you could possibly add to your house, from under cabinet lighting to marble countertops.

My personal adult theme park

And just like an amusement park, it’s insanely expensive.

My previous post included the things that we upgraded at the design center aka how Amanda turned a tract home kitchen into a custom kitchen. Oops.

However, there are something’s that I couldn’t bring myself to update. Of course, there is a disclaimer: my husband and I love to DIY. If you know that you would hate being a weekend warrior and don’t want to make any changes, then the design center would be a great option for you and that’s great! But here’s our thoughts:

  • Carpet – We have a dog, a cat and are planning on getting another dog early next year. Kids haven’t happened yet but they are in our future. Carpet gets trashed so quickly unfortunately, and the upgraded carpets at the design center were so expensive that we went with the base carpet knowing that my husband could easily replace it in a few years if need be. The only carpet is in the bedrooms anyway, so we were happy with our decision.
  • Plumbing – The design center’s base model of kitchen and bathroom faucets is this bright shiny chrome that is so not our style. However to upgrade the kitchen, master bath, guest bath and powder room was going to be serious cash. Instead, we are having them install these faucets but my Amazon account currently has 5 bathroom faucets in my House Wish List for a fraction of the price. IMG_1930.jpg
  • Door Handles – Again, a relatively easy thing to upgrade but an eye boggling upgrade price at the design center
  • Light fixtures – Honestly at this point in the appointment my brain was fried and I just picked the prettiest standard option. There were prettier ones, sure, but light fixtures can easily be swapped down the road.
  • Stair Flooring – It would have been an enormous amount of money to upgrade the stairs to hardwood rather than carpet. Instead, my husband is planning on ripping up the carpet after the first unfortunate late night spill incident and replacing with hardwoods himself with only a little bit of effort.
  • Cabinet accessories – Of course the design center has the lazy Susan upgrades, the spice rack drawers, the drawer sliders and the double trash can pull-outs. These are all things that we definitely want in our home, but they would be quadruple the price to add in the showroom. Instead, my husband is going to install them himself with the help of his handy drill. We did, however upgrade one of our corner cabinets to a lazy Susan (aka hard working Susan). This involved changing cabinet configurations and we were not equipped to handle this after the fact. IMG_1904 (1)

We were lucky in our experience that our consultant wasn’t pushing us to upgrade everything. She listened and was very thoughtful when giving her opinion. Essentially, anything that wasn’t going to be too time or labor extensive we kept standard with the understanding that we will add these things at a later date. Some might say that it’s smart to roll the cost of these items into the mortgage, but we decided we were happy to pay the cost out of pocket.

What upgrades would you add in your home?

One thought on “What NOT to Upgrade at the Design Center

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