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Affordable Modern House Design — on a Budget

Your Checklist to Build a Modern and Affordable House Design

There continues to be a lot of buzz about Modern Design recently – from headlines in my Twitter feed to the magazines at the checkout line and on cable TV (you can't even turn on HGTV without hearing about it). Of course, we probably shouldn’t be too surprised – the Millennial generation has arrived! What might be surprising is that modern design actually began back in the early 1900s.

Although there have been numerous different movements and schools of design, modern style generally focuses on strong geometric shapes. Polished surfaces are a predominant feature -- as are large windows, neutral palettes, and certainly state-of-the-art amenities. These elements can be found in commercial and residential architecture, home furnishings, and cars. In fact, Steve Jobs and Jony Ive at Apple recognized the popularity of these modern design elements and were the first to popularize them in electronics — from the later generation of Mac computers to the iPod, iPhone, and iPad.

Modern home design has been embraced in certain parts of the U.S. for some time but has begun to gain traction throughout the country and even globally. While some of these house plans can be very expensive, architects and house designers have concluded that great residential architecture does not require out-sized budgets - but smarter planning and pushing the boundaries of creativity from not only a design sense but from a budget sense as well. 


How Do I Build a Modern House Design on a Budget? 

1. Look at the Floor Plan with an Eye on Complexity.

Much of this is driven first by the selection of the house floor plan itself. Highly complicated designs involving numerous vaulted ceilings and cantilevered levels will drive up the cost. Look closely at some of the simpler house plans in the category - they offer a great modern look without all the extra cost. 


2. Consider Your Building Lot. 

A flat or level lot will generally result in lower costs for construction. However, if you are looking for extra space, a sloping lot can be an effective way to gain extra square footage without expanding the floor plan's actual footprint.


3. Evaluate Your Building Materials. 

Sure, top-of-the-line everything looks great -- but it generally blows your budget. While often there is little flexibility in terms of lumber options (but be sure to get competitive bids), evaluate your other building material choices—stone versus concrete versus granite, for example. You can often find similar building materials that deliver a similar look for 20–50% less. Discuss this further with your contractor.


Finding Modern Style House Plans

1. Consider Ready-Made House Plans.

Ready-made house plans provide plenty of options for those interested in a modern style. While some are certainly complex and will require a sizeable budget, some of these newer house plans generally focus on home design, allowing for more efficient (e.g., cost-effective) construction. Ready-made or pre-drawn house plans will also generate significant savings from hiring a house designer or architect to prepare a set of custom plans for you. Ready-made house plans can also be easily modified to meet your specific needs or desires – so you get a custom design at a fraction of the cost.


2. Do Your Research: Look at Lots of Modern Plans.

The Plan Collection has a wide variety of Modern Style House Plans ranging from the Contemporary/Prairie style homes of Neal Aronson (shown at the top of this article) to the very angular designs by Dan Tyree (as seen below). To see all of the different options, check out our Modern House Plans page.

Modern style home with stacked-stone accents on exterior

Modern house design demonstrating the power of angular design.


Furnishing a House in a Modern Style

As the modern style has become more popular -- it has become more affordable and prevalent. Fixtures and even furniture are now available in modern design that is both affordable and stylish.

Another popular resource for great modern furniture and ideas in modern design is Design Within Reach. We are constantly on the lookout for new and exciting trends in modern home design. As we come across fresh ideas, we will share them with you via our blog or our ideas page.


Footnote: The lead photograph of this article is the rear view of a 4-bedroom, 4.5-bath Contemporary luxury home from our collection (Plan #107-1015).


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