How Builder Basic Wins the Day

By Rayan Turner

The Design Confidential x Build Design Live / How Builder Basic Wins the Day

Taking a page from the spec-home builder’s notebook and living to tell the tale…

The idea of something being ‘builder basic’ carries a bit of a stigma. Perceived as sub-par and not having much in the way of style, the finishes and fixtures so frequently chosen by home builders have become what many believe to be boilerplate and, well… basic.

While none of the homes you see gracing the pages of magazines are ‘builder basic’, by any means, many of them do find some common ground with spec-homes produced en mass. This is not an accident, nor merely a coincidence, I assure you.

An extraordinary amount of money is put into a housing development, so it is safe to assume there are a fair number of dollars thrown into the selection of finishes and fixtures in the hopes that they will appeal to the widest audience. Beyond simply mass appeal, the goal for most builders is to use finishes that exude quality, yet speak with a soft voice – one that doesn’t intrude upon a buyer’s sense of style. The place where this type of decision making truly shines, and where buyer’s and seller’s alike should take note, is in the paint color du jour, for builder’s everywhere – that slightly off-white color that is used from stem to stern including ceilings, doors and trim.

The Design Confidential x Build Design Live / How Builder Basic Wins the Day

While I don’t happen to appreciate the somewhat low quality, flat paint that is so often chosen for budgetary reasons, I do believe wholeheartedly, that a color that reads as being so neutral it practically disappears, is an excellent place to begin and end your design plan for your home. Before you dismiss this nearly white color as being stark and cold, or boring and not for you, consider this…

Chances are your décor and furnishings change somewhat frequently, right along with your style and taste. With stylish décor being so widely available and barely more than a click of your mouse away, you are confronted with new and exciting home trends at every turn. Naturally, it is likely you partake, in updating your spaces, far more frequently today than you did five years ago. The things you live for and adore right this minute, are probably not what you will love a year from now and if you are like me, it is possible you may tire of those things as frequently as the seasons change. This doesn’t even take into account the changes you will experience in your lifestyle – your kids will get older, you may have more children or move to a new house. Every life change dictates a new round of needs and wants for your home and how you live. This is just a fact of life – especially if you happen to own furniture – which I’m guessing most of you do.

The Design Confidential x Build Design Live / How Builder Basic Wins the Day

Most of us will have a somewhat regular flux in furnishings and a fairly constant flow of change in our lives. Perhaps there is some value in treating our surfaces like that of an art gallery. There is a reason most gallery spaces are a shade of white – it allows the walls be the foundation upon which we can build and redecorate as often or as little as we wish – without being encumbered by a color that clashes or sets the tone in one direction or another. Just think of the freedom… We won’t be limited in choosing furnishings, window treatments or art around a particular color on the walls, with limited options that work along with it. When we feel the desire to change things up and breath new life into our space, we won’t have to worry about repainting before that can happen.

Let your furnishings and fixtures be your investment pieces, and your walls speak in a soft whisper, offering nothing more than high quality words of comfort and support. They will always be there for you, never cut in front of you in line and never drink the last of the milk and put the empty container back in the refrigerator. You can count on a warm shade of white for your walls, no matter the circumstances.

The Design Confidential x Build Design Live / How Builder Basic Wins the Day

If you are planning on selling your home, anytime in the near future, a bright and clean yet slightly warm shade of white is the perfect way to present your potential buyers with a blank canvas. It will help them envision their new lives in your home and give your spaces a fresh feel that shouts ‘clean and lovely’ from the rooftops.

How can you be sure this is the right path, you say? Well, because the builders do it, and like I said earlier… they have invested countless dollars toward finding that sweet spot. You know… the one that suggests a job well done – without suggesting much of anything else. You certainly can’t go wrong with a nice shade of white and it will let everything else stand in the spotlight and shine.

Of course that isn’t to say I don’t love a good color on the walls or a bold wall treatment every now and then. In fact I have done precisely just such a thing many, many times. But, there is a time and place for everything and investing in paint is only wise if you are investing in durability and choosing a lasting, easy to maintain paint. If you are choosing a color, especially a shade of beige, it is tricky to get your money’s worth and nearly impossible to touch up in the future. Colors fade and change over time in ways you will never expect and the sun can be very cruel.



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