Needs vs. Wants when Building a Custom Home

Blackhawk Custom Home Dining Room

You’ve selected the lot or lake lot for your new dwelling. You’ve chosen Milwaukee’s top custom home builder, Colby Construction, and now you have to determine what you and your family’s needs are for your luxury home.

One of the best things a homeowner can do is to thoughtfully consider the difference between needs and wants. This is more difficult than it sounds. Something that is considered a need for one family may not be a consideration for another. Within a family, something that is a need for one person may not be a need for another. So how do you make the decision on what features and additions take precedence when building your home?

Today’s homes are very different than 30, 15 and even 5 years ago. Trends come and go, so what do you need in your custom home? Will you use a formal dining room? Is a family room and a hearth room more conducive to your lifestyle then a den and a formal living room? It is important for families to figure what is a need vs. a want. You may want a sauna in your lower level off your lake entry…but do you need it? What about a custom study or office? Individuals within the family may have very different ideas as to what they want and what they need in the home.

When you decide to build, start by sorting through your needs and your desires. Work out a simple plan to sort through some of these decisions. Creating an outline to determine what is important to you in your new home is a simple, logical way to help you decide. By working through needs vs. wants when building a custom home, you can save countless hours and money.

Needs vs. Wants when Building a Custom Home

Hot Tub in Shore Acres Custom Home

Needs vs. Wants when Building a Custom Home

Here’s how it works.

  • Family member’s independently create a list of dreams, wants and needs for the new home.
  • Rank your items in order of importance.
  • Once family members have independently ranked their items, compare the lists.  Create one combined master list ranking all the needs an wants in order.
  • Now allow the list to be an outline to work with Colby Construction to create a custom home that meets your desires and stays in your budget.


Needs vs. Wants when Building a Custom Home

Exercise Room in North Lake Custom Home

Some ideas and recommendations for consideration in a custom home:


  • Living room vs. family room
  • Formal dining room vs. an open area kitchen and dining space
  • Number of bathrooms compared to bedrooms in the home
  • Wet bars in lower levels
  • Workout rooms, wine cellars, play rooms and other custom finished parts of the home


The ideas are endless, include your wildest “wants” and then pair down to the essential needs. We will help you to build your dream home that will fit your needs and hopefully include some special wants.Be sure to look at our projects on Houzz for ideas that may be a need for your new home!