Popular New Home Upgrades to Request

Popular New Home Upgrades to Request

We all have specific pictures in our mind of how our dream home will look. For those that decide to buy a new construction home, the design and building process is an excellent time to make those dreams a reality. While some upgrades are better made after the fact, others are cheaper, easier and less time consuming when done during the construction process. Here are seven popular home upgrades to request in your new home:

Hardwood flooring

Hardwood floors seem to be a timeless staple in any home. While upgrading to hardwood flooring in the entire home can be expensive, consider having it installed in the most used areas such as the living room and kitchen during construction.


Some kitchen upgrades are easy to add after you’ve settled in. However, if you want to upgrade your kitchen cabinets, it is less expensive to do so during the construction process. You can request custom cabinets that are made with high-quality materials, taller or deeper or offer extra storage.

Kitchen island

The kitchen is often the heart of a home, and extra counter space is always needed. During the planning process, request that an island be worked into the kitchen design or, if an island is already included in the plan, request it be expanded to include more space.

Separate bathtub and shower

If a separate tub and shower are on your dream home wish list, now is the time to make it a reality. If you wait to do this upgrade, you’ll likely have to gut your entire bathroom. Builders can install the right connections during construction and save you money on installation and plumbing down the road.

Recessed lighting

The lights themselves are inexpensive, but installing them after the fact is a hassle. Have recessed lighting added to your living room, dining room, bedroom and kitchen during the construction process.

Electrical outlets

In our technology-driven world, you can never have too many electrical outlets. Save time and money by having electric outlets installed in these locations while your home is being built.


If you want more energy efficient windows in your home, have them installed during the building process. You’ll save more money than if you wait to replace them a few years down the road. If you want more windows added to your home design, now is also the time to discuss this with the builder.

Which upgrades are most important for you to have in your new home? Share them with us on Facebook!

How to Decide If You Should Buy or Build Your Next Home


Furniture, wall colors, landscaping—there’s a lot that goes into making a house a home. However, before any of that can begin, you have to make one important decision. Do you want to buy an existing house or build a new one? The decision isn’t as black and white as you may think, and there are advantages and disadvantages to both options. Read the pros and cons of buying or building your next home:


Pros: One of the biggest benefits to buying an existing home over building new is the ability to move in immediately after closing. If you plan on adding upgrades to the home, you don’t have to immediately cover the cost for them and can instead add the upgrades on schedule with your budget. Buying an existing home also gives you more insight and control over the neighborhood you’ll be living in.

Cons: The major downside to buying an existing home is the limits it places on design and personalization. You have to pay to upgrade the home to your preferences. While you can remodel the home you buy, this process can get expensive quickly. Also, if you have young kids, having ongoing construction inside the home might be a safety risk to them.


Pros: Building a new home gives you the chance to personalize the house to their own needs and tastes. If you want an upgraded kitchen, bathroom or master bedroom in your home, these can be done before you move in, during the building process. Control over the design of the home. Home insurance is often up to 15 percent lower in new construction homes. Newer homes are also more energy efficient and can be built to easily incorporate the newest technology.

Cons: The upfront costs of building a new home are typically higher than purchasing an existing home. Also, it takes time it takes to build a home, and not every family may be able to wait the 6 months or so it can take for construction to finish. If you’ve already sold your old home or your lease is ending, you’ll have to find and pay for temporary housing during the building process. New construction neighborhoods are often less established, meaning you might not immediately find the sense of community you’d have in an existing subdivision.

In the end, the decision boils down to time and design. Do you prefer the personalization of a new home or the convenience of an existing home? Either way, it’s easy to find your dream home whether you decide to buy or build with Sands Companies.

4 Designs For Every Type of Home Entryway


With the holidays on the way, your home will soon play host to visiting family and friends. Now is the perfect time to update your entryway so guests will be wowed when they open the front door. Welcome loved ones into your home with these four entryway designs:

Longer, hallway-like entryways



Make the most use of the narrow space with a DIY mudroom built-in. Not only will it make the entry more inviting, the built-in will also provide storage and hooks for your guests’ bags and coats. You can also convert a closet in the entry hallway into a coat and storage nook.

Entryways the open to a blank wall



Make the space more inviting with a repurposed desk, dresser or sofa table. Add a lamp, some seasonal decorations and a mirror on the wall above to make the space appear bigger. If you’re feeling bold, paint the wall an eye-catching color such as bright blue or cover it in shiplap for a unique texture.

Entryways that open to a set of stairs

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If the stairs wood covered with carpet, remove the carpet and refinish the wood underneath for a more modern, open look. This tutorial will help you get started on the process. Add a small bench or table to the landing or wall at the base of the stairs as the main visual focal point.

Front door opens directly into main living space



Create the feeling of a separate entry hall by strategically arranging your furniture to create a faux wall. Get a narrow hallway rug to mark the entryway path and you’ve got yourself an entryway!

4 Home Improvement Projects to Get Done This Fall


Fall weekends in Myrtle Beach are perfect for pumpkin carving, hayrides, football games and– you guessed it–home improvement! The milder autumn weather is ideal for getting small updates done around the house before the holidays begin. Here are four quick home improvement projects to tackle this fall:

Deep clean carpets

It might not be the most exciting project, but spending a fall weekend deep cleaning your carpets is a wise investment of your time. Either hire a professional or rent a carpet cleaner from a local hardware store. With the summer humidity past and the colder winter days still a few months away, you’ll have great temperatures to open your windows and air out the room. While your carpets are drying, get outside and enjoy the beauty of fall in Myrtle Beach!

Revamp your entryway

Fall and winter are the prime seasons for inviting guests into your home. Before the holiday rush starts, take a weekend to refresh your home’s entryway. Start by adding a new coat of paint to your front door, both the inside and the outside. Consider adding a mudroom type bench with hooks for coats and bags and storage underneath for shoes. Repaint the interior walls a warm, inviting color. Add some candles, pumpkins and a wreath, and your home will be holiday-hosting ready!

Replace windows

If you have an older home, you may be literally tossing money out the window when it comes to air conditioning. Many homes built before the 21st century have single-pane instead of double-pane windows. Take advantage of the mild autumn temperatures and make your home up to 50 percent more energy efficient by upgrading to double-pane windows this fall.

Organize your garage

Spring may be the go-to season for cleaning, but Myrtle Beach falls are also perfect for a garage cleanout. You’ve most likely got lawn tools, beach chairs, bicycles and more littering your garage and taking up space. Install shelving for tools and supplies and hooks to hang bicycles from the ceiling. You’ll thank yourself later when the temperatures begin to dip and you can actually fit your car in your garage.

The Past and Future of Open Floor Plan Homes


If you watch home design shows or peruse interior design magazines, you’ve noticed the trend toward more open spaces. The open floor plan has seen a surge in popularity in Myrtle Beach and in other cities around the country. However, if you think back to the house you grew up in or your grandparents lived in, you likely remember many more walls and closed-off rooms. Where did this modern trend toward open home layouts come from and is it here to stay?

The Past

Before the late 19th century, home builders didn’t have the materials to make many of the unconventional load-bearing walls we have in modern homes. Homes needed to be divided into individuals living spaces to allow for better temperature control and to fit the more private customs of the time.

By the start of the 20th century, steel was becoming a more common material in home building. Additionally, families began to seek more comfortable, flexible living areas and spaces for less formal entertaining. Lots for home became smaller, making economical use of space a necessity. Multi-functional rooms started to be more desirable.

While there are houses dating back to the 1930s with open plans, it wasn’t until later in the 20th century that it became the norm. In the late 1970s, homes were becoming less closed off, but many rooms still had dividing walls. By the 1980s, higher ceilings and split floor plans rose in popularity. Half walls replaced full dividers between shared living spaces. At the turn of the century, the idea of an open floor plan home was beginning to be the norm in new construction. Kitchen, living and dining rooms flowed together into one great living space.

The Future

All evidence points to open floor plans staying in high demand for the foreseeable future. However, some homeowners still prefer the privacy that more divided living spaces offer. There are many pros to the open plan model, from increased versatility to ease of social interaction. On the other hand, open floor plans are often louder, offer less space for hiding clutter and offer little privacy.

While it’s clear the majority of modern homebuyers are in favor of an open plan home, the future is still up in the air. The most likely scenario we’ll see in the years to come is a combination of an open and closed floor plan that offers privacy but still facilitates easy flow between living spaces.

What do you think about open floor plans? Will they stay popular throughout the years to come or will we return to the more closed-off designs of the past? Share your thoughts with us on our Facebook page.

How to Style and Stage Your Home Like a Professional

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Even the most beautifully built home won’t sell if it isn’t properly staged. However, not everyone is eager to shell out the big bucks for a professional designer to come in and restyle their home. Channel your inner interior designer and learn some of the key tips to style and stage your home like a pro:

Everyone loves symmetry

Balance is crucial to good design. Dark colors carry a heavier visual weight than light, patterns seem heavier than solids, and textured surfaces are visually heavier than smooth surfaces. Divide each room into four equal sections in your mind and make sure each section is balanced with furniture and decorations.

Color is okay, but not everywhere

Darker or bolder colors can make a space feel cozier and more memorable. Consider painting dining rooms, home office or bedrooms a rich color that will make an impression on buyers. Deep red or even black accent walls are also visually appealing in the right room. However, stick to neutral wall colors such as whites, tans or pale blues in main living areas to maintain the flow of open rooms and don’t overwhelm the buyer.

Mix up the texture

Texture isn’t just judged by touch, but also by sight. Knit or suede throw pillows on a leather couch create visual interest. An area rug will not only bring your dining area together but also warm up wood flooring and make the space look more inviting. Flowers and placemats can make a kitchen island feel less sterile and empty.

Add a mirror or two

A well-placed mirror can save smaller rooms or areas that are poorly lit. Floor to ceiling length mirrors on either side of a fireplace double the visual size of the room. A beautiful, unique mirror hung next to a window not only provides decoration but also lets natural light reflect throughout the space.

Seating in the master bedroom

It might seem counterintuitive, but adding seating to your master bedroom makes it seem larger. Try placing an upholstered bench at the foot of your bed or an armchair in the corner of the room. It also lets the buyer picture a routine of getting ready in the room.

Hotel-style bathroom

No one wants to go in a stranger’s bathroom that looks like it’s been used recently. Take a tip for luxury hotels and freshen up your bathroom by clearing counters, replacing the toilet paper roll with a new one and place some rolled up white towels in a basket on top of the toilet or neatly folded on the counter. Replace any busy or more personalized shower curtains with white cloth ones.

How to Clean Your Kitchen Stovetop


Over the course of cooking a meal, it’s inevitable that sauces, grease and food bits will splatter all over your stovetop. No matter which type of stove you have—glass, electric coil or gas—it can be a tedious, nearly impossible task cleaning all that residual food gunk off your cooking space. Thankfully, there are tools and cleaners out there that will help you keep your stovetop looking spotless with less elbow grease. Here are a few tips about how to easily and effectively clean your stove:

For Gas Stovetops

Start by removing the grates and placing them in a sink full of hot, soapy water. Let them soak for about five to ten minutes before scrubbing away any leftover gunk with a wash cloth. If this doesn’t get all the baked on gunk off your grates, try soaking them in a solution of half water and half vinegar over night. While the grates are taking a bath, sweep away the crumbs that hide underneath them on the stovetop. Make sure no leftover food bits are blocking the gas output. Lastly, wipe down the surface with a bit of rubbing alcohol on a paper towel to remove any streaks of grease.

For Glass Stovetops

Making sure the stove is completely cool, spray the glass with white vinegar and then wipe with a wet rag. Next, generously sprinkle baking soda over the entire surface. Take a towel large enough to cover the stovetop and get it damp with hot water. Lay it over the baking soda and let it sit for 15 minutes while it goes to work loosening all that caked on grease and dried food. After the 15 minutes, use some good old fashioned elbow grease to scrub away the baking soda with the towel, rinsing it frequently. If any stubborn food leftovers remain, take a small razor blade and gently scrape it away while it is still damp. Polish the cleaning process off with another spray of white vinegar and one more wipe down before buffing with a dry microfiber cloth.

For Electric Coil Stovetops

Remove the burners from the stove and wipe them down using a dish rag soaked in warm water and dish soap. Make sure to avoid the electrical socket. Apply a paste of baking soda and water to any residue that won’t come off your burners with basic soap and water. Let the paste sit for about half an hour, and then scrub and rinse it off. Use more baking soda paste to gently scrub the surface below where the burner coils sit. Wash off with a wet towel, replace the burners once dried and you’re ready to go!

Now that you know how to clean them all, which type of stovetop would you want in your dream home? Share it with us on Facebook!

How to Pick Out the Right Kitchen Backsplash


You’ve picked countertops, flooring, cabinet colors and even the kitchen sink. What’s left to add? Even the most beautifully designed kitchen can rise the next level with the appropriate backsplash. Not only do kitchen backsplashes add style, they also serve to improve functionality and protect your walls. But with so many tile types, designs and patterns, which backsplash is the right choice? Here are our tips for picking out a backsplash that you’ll love in your Myrtle Beach kitchen:

Tile material

When it comes to kitchen backsplashes, stone, glass, porcelain, ceramic, metal and even wood are all possible material options. For more durability, ceramic is a good choice. If you want something that is easy to clean, consider porcelain or glass tiles. Stone tile backsplashes are certainly beautiful, but be prepared for easy chipping and staining. Be sure to also factor in the material you chose for your countertops. Glass tiles may not make sense with concrete counters.


An interesting backsplash pattern will become the visual focal point of your kitchen. If you have a neutral cabinet color and simple countertop design, a bright, busy pattern could be a great choice. You can make a design with different color tiles or choose painted tiles with a replicating pattern. Be careful with complicated patterns if you already have busy granite or marble counters picked out.


Much like pattern, the color of your kitchen backsplash can be a distinguishing feature or can blend in with the counters and cabinets. Similar to picking a wall color, the color of your backsplash will set the mood of the entire room. Blues and greens can give a beachy vibe to an all white kitchen. Browns and other neutral earth tones can make the room feel cozier. White tiles can make your kitchen feel clean and modern.

Kitchen size

Another important aspect to consider when picking your kitchen backsplash is the overall size of your kitchen. If you have a smaller kitchen area with limited counter space, large subway tiles may seem out of place. On the other hand, thousands of tiny ceramic tiles with contrasting grouting in a larger kitchen may be overwhelming visually. Additionally, make sure you have your kitchen measurements in mind so you stay on budget when it comes time to order enough tile for the entire backsplash.
Whichever backsplash you choose for your kitchen, proper installation is crucial. Learn more about how Sands Companies can build your perfect home down to the very last detail.

5 Useful Electrical Outlet Locations In Your New Home


There’s a seemingly endless list of details to consider when building a new home. You work closely with your contractor to decide on lighting, flooring, hardware and more, but what about electrical outlets? We all use these plug-ins every day to charge and power our many devices, so why not strategically plan their placement? Avoid extension cord and power bar messes and consider these five useful areas to place electrical outlets in your new home:

Underneath your kitchen cabinets

You spent a week deciding which backsplash you wanted for your kitchen. Don’t ruin the aesthetics of the beautiful tile pattern with plug-ins. Instead, ask the contractor to install outlets underneath your kitchen cabinets every two to four feet. You’ll have plenty of places to plug in your mixer, coffee pot and toaster, but the outlets won’t mar the look of your kitchen backsplash.

Above the mantle

Many people like to hang their television above the fireplace mantle in their living rooms. However, once the television is mounted and plugged in, you’re left with unsightly black cords everywhere. To avoid this, place an electrical outlet above the mantle directly behind where you will hang the television. Bonus: it’s great for plugging in lights around the holidays if you like to decorate the mantle with garland.

Medicine cabinets and vanity drawers

With electric toothbrushes, razors and other hair styling tools, it can seem like there’s never enough outlet space in bathrooms. For smaller electronic grooming devices, have an outlet installed inside your medicine cabinet. For hair dryers and curling irons, install an outlet at the back of a drawer in your vanity.

On the floor in your living room

If you have a smartphone, you know just how often you’re looking for a place to plug in the charger. Install an outlet in the floor of your living room next to any couch or arm chair that won’t be against a wall. You’ll be able to charge your phone without creating a tripping hazard from the charging cord. Plus, you can cover it up with an ottoman when not in use.

Desk level in your home office

Computers, printers and internet modems all require outlets to supply them with power. However, no one wants to crawl around under their desk trying to find a plug-in for their laptop charger. Ask your contractor to place one or two electrical outlets on the wall at desk level in your home office space.

What other useful outlet placements would you want in your new Myrtle Beach house? Our contractors are always happy to work with you to make your home perfect.

4 Laundry Room Designs You’ll Want In Your New Home

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Laundry day. That phrase alone is enough to make many groan in dread. However, laundry day doesn’t have to be a chore if you design a laundry room you’re excited to spend time in. Check out these four stylish, functional laundry room designs to inspire your next laundry day:


Photo by Lauren McBride

The small and cozy laundry room.

If your laundry area is less of a room and more of a closet, consider a getting a front loading washer and dryer so you can utilize the space above as a table for folding and storing supplies. We love the farmhouse countertop in this laundry closet.



Photo by Ricky Rhodes for This Old House magazine

The pet-friendly laundry room.

Whether you need a convenient place to wash your dog or just like having them keep you company while you fold laundry, this pet-friendly laundry room design will fit your needs perfectly. With a cubby for the dog to lay in and a separate doggy shower, it’s a pet lover’s dream laundry room.



Photo by Nathan Taylor for Obelisk Home

The family sized laundry room. 

Sometimes laundry day is a group effort. If you have a large family and need a laundry room that can handle multiple loads of laundry a day, consider this design with space for every family member to sort their own clothes.



Photo by Michael Graydon for Style at Home

The mudroom/laundry room combo. 

Sometimes your laundry room will get more traffic than it does laundry. For laundry rooms that also serve as a mudroom from your back door, consider this design that keeps things functional, and stylish while providing ample walking space.

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