5 Tips For Kitchens – New Construction

Building a new construction can be exciting and scary. Here are my 5 tips for kitchens when it comes to staying on a budget. 

If you have ever built a home with a specified builder – you have the “what I wish I had done” and the “I’m so glad we made that decision” stories. Here are my 5 tips for kitchens when the budget is important.

We took on this process in May 2019 and moved into the home in February 2020. Even though I tried to stay within a budget- I gave myself grace and put the money into the areas that I thought would make life either easier when moving in, like the floors for example. 

So when you decide to go with a certain builder, they will give you and design allowance to use, run incentives, etc. to make the decision a little easier to move forward. Unfortunately, this amount can melt away quickly – especially in the design center and you see the builder grade versus the level up to grade.  Most of my design allowance went into these beauties. 

These floors were the perfect fit for our family. They are already antiqued with a matte finish. They work hard take a beating and you would never know it.  Find these gorgeous wood floors here.

Let’s get to my 5 tips for kitchens when it comes to new build construction –


Where to save:

Dishwasher – the Basic for our builder was decent. It wasn’t the Bosch 3 tier I had in the old house but it’s a great compromise. If your builder basic isn’t on the quiet side (google it) then compare the price for a quieter version through the builder versus on your own. Remember to add in installation fees and tax. 

Microwave – the basic model was great and I didn’t need a convection microwave like at the last house. I only had one oven and the convection microwave became my second oven when needed. 

Refridgerator – this will be a research project for you.  17 years ago, it made sense to purchase the fridge from the builder. The price was the same as the big box store and it could be installed before we moved in. Fast forward to now and it was better for us to purchase from the big box. 

Where to splurge:

Double ovens – this was a big one for me. We could most of our meals at home and with double ovens, I can have the entire meal ready in no time. Please note, if you are short like me – having the set up below is not ideal and I didn’t catch it in time. So, make a note my friends. 

5 tips for kitchens

Stovetop – I went with big here. Heavy-duty 6-burner workhorse style with iron grates. I replaced our stovetop in the previous house and it was the best decision! 

 Building Materials 

Countertops – I went with quartz. To save money, I went with a showstopper on the island and a basic on the back counters. 

Backsplash – I chose a pretty ceramic that fit the budget better and to tie it all together – I chose a grout color that pulled the back gray color of the counters up. 

Cabinetry – Simple clean cabinetry is great, especially for resale. I went with paint grade to save a little cash and knew they would give a timeless look. Add slide-out drawers for pots and pans, storage containers, etc. – they are a pain to retrofit. 

Island – I went with color here but kept it calm. I chose to go with what the builder offered instead of upgrading due to the huge additional cost. I will be adding a butcher block cart (to hold cookbooks)to one end eventually. The little extra square footage added by extending the island wasn’t worth it to me. 

5 tips for kitchens

 Cabinet Hardware

Soft close drawers – have the builder do it.

Soft close cabinet doors – you can do it.

Cabinet pulls – you can do it. 

5 tips for kitchens

The boy showing off the new bright light above the stove. Blue tape is all the little dings and “oops” that the builder will come back and fix. 


I went back and forth on this one and ended up going with the builder grade. I will be honest – walking into a home where you just spent a lot of money – the eye goes directly to the boring lights. This is where you can not lose heart and enjoy the hunt for new fixtures. I brought a couple of beloved fixtures with me from the old house and once those were up, I started feeling better. 

I am so excited to put up the new kitchen pendants and I am so glad I waited because what I found is unique from what I have been seeing out there. It’s okay to wait on the right items.

5 tips for kitchens Pendant lighting option


We chose to hold off on adding the cabinetry to the morning/breakfast room but now we are looking to bring in that much-needed storage. 

Check your pantry layout – make sure the shelves will maximize your storage opportunity – I.E. the corners – make sure corners are fully exposed and you are not fighting to grab items around a post.

Make a list of your most-used kitchen items everything from the favorite skillet to the beloved mixer. This will help you understand the big needs. Do you need more pull-out shelves? Do you need more large drawers versus cabinets? Making these decisions ahead of time will save your sanity come move-in day. 

5 simple tips for building out your new kitchen. We will take a deeper dive in to each section as this year progress – so be sure to bookmark theaspiringhome.com!

Until later my friends, keep creating home!

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