Beyond Aesthetics: Functional Design Elements Every Custom Home Should Consider

The charm of a custom home lies not just in its aesthetic appeal but also in its functional design.

When we talk about home design, it's easy to get caught up in the little details - the colors, finishes, and furnishings that make a space visually appealing. However, we find that functionality is just as important, if not more so!

A well-thought-out design ensures that your home serves your lifestyle and daily needs seamlessly. In this article, we’ll share some of our favorite functional design elements for you to consider.

Space Planning and Layout

A well-planned layout forms the backbone of a functional home. It's not just about how rooms are arranged - it’s also about making sure the traffic flow is smooth and your home is accessible.

Consideration for growing families or aging in place is especially important during this stage. Open floor plans, for instance, offer greater flexibility and ease of movement. You need to consider not only whether or not your home suits your current needs, but if it will serve your future ones, too.

Storage Solutions

We find that an organized home is a functional home - and ample storage is the key. Built-in storage solutions such as closets, pantries, and cabinetry are helpful in keeping clutter at bay and creating a clean, minimalist look.

Creative storage ideas like under-stair drawers or built-in benches with storage underneath can maximize space and add a unique touch to your home's design.


Believe it or not, lighting plays a big role in creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere.

Natural lighting, achieved through the strategic placement of windows, skylights, and glass doors, not only brightens up space but can also help reduce energy costs.

On the other hand, artificial lighting, including ambient, task, and accent lighting, can enhance functionality and set different moods in different areas of the home.

Work closely with your homebuilder to determine where you want both natural and artificial light sources.

Indoor-Outdoor Living

Seamless transitions between indoor and outdoor spaces extend your living area and connect you with nature. Depending on your local climate and landscape, designing covered outdoor living spaces, patios, or decks can significantly improve your home's functionality and also give you a serene retreat to relax on your days off.

Technology Integration

Incorporating smart technology in home design is no longer a luxury - in 2023, it's actually a necessity! Smart home features like automated lighting, heating, or security systems contribute greatly to a home’s convenience, safety, and energy efficiency.

Pre-wiring for future technologies is also a wise decision that keeps your home updated and adaptable to evolving tech trends.

Material Selection

Choosing the right materials is the foundation for your home's durability and ease of maintenance. We recommend choosing materials that are robust, easy to clean, and environmentally friendly.

Local availability and sustainability should also be considered to make your home more eco-conscious and potentially reduce costs.

Energy Efficiency

Design elements that focus on energy efficiency not only reduce the home's carbon footprint but also result in lower utility bills. Proper insulation, energy-efficient windows, and solar panels are some ways to achieve energy efficiency.

Similarly, water-saving fixtures and appliances are a great option for creating a more sustainable and economical home.

Universal Design

Universal design principles ensure that a home is accessible to individuals of all ages and abilities. Features like wide doorways, lever handles, and zero-threshold showers provide ease of access and contribute to a comfortable living environment for everyone.

Final Thoughts

Functional design goes above aesthetic appeal. The goal is to enhance your overall living experience in your custom home, which can be done in many different ways.

Ultimately, creating a functional design is a thoughtful approach to homebuilding that prioritizes the homeowner's daily needs and lifestyle. At Red Door Homes, we prioritize your needs as a homeowner and create custom homes that can fulfill your and your family’s desires.

With functional design in mind, you can create a home that is beautiful, practical, and enjoyable for years to come. To learn more about the Red Door Process, contact us today.


1. What is functional design in homebuilding?

Functional design focuses on creating a home that caters to your needs and enhances your daily living experience. It goes beyond aesthetics to consider how spaces work and how people interact with those spaces.

2. How can I incorporate smart technology into my custom home design?

Integrating smart technology can start with simple features like smart thermostats or advanced security systems. As you continue along, you can also incorporate more smart technology like smart appliances and lighting systems into your home. Plus, Smart Assistants can help you create schedules and otherwise regulate all of these systems with the touch of a button (or even just your voice!)

During the planning stage, talk with your home builder about pre-wiring for future technologies if this is something you’re interested in.

3. What are some eco-friendly design elements for custom homes?

Eco-friendly design elements include energy-efficient appliances, solar panels, water-saving fixtures, and the use of sustainable or recycled materials. It's all about creating a home that's not only good for you but also for the environment. Your custom home builder will know more about how they incorporate eco-friendliness into their design process.

4. How can I make sure my home design is accessible to all?

There are several universal design principles you can incorporate, such as wider doorways, no-step entries, and accessible bathrooms. Hand railings and lower appliances can also make your home more accessible in the long run. Features like these can help ensure your home is comfortable and accessible for anyone, regardless of age or ability.

5. What considerations do I need to make for indoor-outdoor living spaces?

We recommend considering the local climate, landscape, and your personal preferences when planning indoor-outdoor living spaces. Creating a seamless transition between indoors and outdoors can extend your living area and give you a more unique living experience. It can also let you enjoy the entirety of your home year-round.


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What is the difference between a modular home and a stick-built home?

Modular homes are factory-built homes that are partially or entirely assembled in a factory and then brought onto the home site.

Stick-built homes are homes that have not been assembled in any way. These homes are constructed on-site around a stick frame and offer the option of complete customization. Many of our customers find our stick-build homes to be a quality, affordable alternative to modular homes in TN .

What is a construction loan?

A construction loan is the method of financing used when someone contracts to have a house built, as opposed to purchasing a completed home. Construction is financed in two loans: a construction loan for the period of construction, followed by a permanent loan, which pays off the construction loan.

Unlike mortgages, construction loans aren’t meant to be long term. Typically, a schedule is set up to enable funds to be withdrawn as needed to finance the various stages of construction. And, during the time your home is being built, you usually make interest-only payments on the loan.

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