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14 Upgrades That Boast Upscale Appeal

Riverstone - 14 Upgrades That Boast Upscale Appeal

January 24, 2022

Not everyone can afford a custom-built home. That doesn’t mean it can’t look like it is. Chosen wisely, upgrades can give your new Riverstone home the custom look you crave. Check out our top 14 upgrades before visiting your builder’s design center.


Builders usually give you a choice of up to three looks using materials such as brick, wood or stucco. Choose the design that appeals to you then see if you can choose unique color combinations of brick-and stone, high-end paint and upgraded shutters. Add a covered porch if available.

Front Doors

An elegant front door sets the tone for the rest of your home. Choose double doors for a custom look. If the standard height is 6 feet, upgrade to 8 feet. Upgrade the wood and make sure it harmonizes with the materials used to construct the elevation.

Interior Doors

Eight-foot doors to the study and bedrooms complement high ceilings. Sliding barn doors to bathrooms, media rooms and studies can be stylish as well as practical. Sliding glass doors allow for a seamless transition between your indoor and outdoor living spaces when open. If possible, see if your sliding glass doors can be incorporated into your wall of windows for a sophisticated look.


Splurge on hardwood floors. They add warmth to any room, are easy to keep up and will increase the value of your home. Oversized tile also looks custom. See if you can add underfloor heaters in the bathrooms for chilly days.


What’s cozier than a fireplace in the family room? For a custom look, extend the surround to the ceiling.

High-end Fixtures

Nothing says custom like beautiful pendant lights and solid brass hardware. Many homes offer pendant lighting over the kitchen island as a standard feature, but the style can be upgraded to match what you see in pictures of custom homes. Not a fan of brass? Oil-rubbed bronze or satin nickel hardware can instantly upgrade your bathroom. 

Kitchen Islands

Granite islands are standard on most new homes, but you can upgrade to quartz or marble. If you like granite, upgrade it. The style of your island can also give your kitchen a high-end look. Waterfall edges that extend the island to the floor are gorgeous. Extended islands with the look of dining tables are also favored in custom homes.


Backsplashes serve as the backdrop for your kitchen appliances. Its standard for the backsplash to only come halfway up the wall. For a custom look, extend it to the bottom of cabinets (which should extend to the ceiling). Non-traditional materials such as glass or mirror tiles have that designer-selected appeal. 

Farmhouse Sinks and Double Ovens

A practical upgrade that looks fabulous is a farmhouse sink. For ease of upkeep, choose stainless steel. Professional-grade appliances are found in most custom homes. If your budget doesn’t extend to those, spend a few dollars on a double oven. It looks luxe and you can cook the turkey and holiday casseroles at the same time.

Paint and Trim

Choosing a higher-quality paint can instantly transform the look of your new home. Pick neutrals so your interior design stands out but ask for high contrast trim to make a statement. If you like the look of painted cabinets in kitchens and bathrooms, use high-quality paint and make sure it contrasts with the tile or wood floor.

Statement Walls

If you’ve gone with a neutral palette, add a splash of color on one wall to make a statement. Add texture with wood wainscotting, brick or crown molding. Statement ceilings are also in demand. Coffered or tray ceilings add dimension, but you can easily have the ceiling painted to draw the eye upward.


Bay or bow windows in the master suite, breakfast nook or family room are sophisticated. Builders usually offer this structural change guaranteed to impress guests.

Built-ins Everywhere

Built-in shelves and cabinets are great for storage or enhancing the look of books and art objects. A built-in desk in the game room creates a homework center or secondary workspace.

Dry Bars, Wet Bars and Wine Rooms

Wet or dry bars in the game or media rooms are a must for custom look. Wet bars ensure you don’t have to go downstairs to mix drinks. Dry bars are fun places to keep movie snacks. Wine rooms are sophisticated but for a truly high-end look, see if you can build one in the family room to display your favorite vintages.


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