8 Designers Share the Surprisingly Simple Features Missing From Their Dream Homes

original built-ins

Sophia Hsin / Stocksy

When it comes to my own dream home, I would absolutely flip over any place that features 1) marble fireplaces (the more, the merrier), 2) wood floors boasting a herringbone pattern, and 3) a set of dramatic pocket doors to boot. If only I could find a beautiful historic row home with all three of these elements that doesn’t drastically break the bank! 

Because we’re always curious about the features that the pros crave in their own dream spaces, we spoke with eight interior designers who shared everything from the practical (a mudroom) to the less common (a steel wall). Perhaps your own home already offers one or more of the fabulous features listed below—lucky you! 

  • 01 of 08

    Wood in the Bathroom

    bathroom with wood accents

    Neon Shot / Getty Images

    We see all sorts of designs at play in the bathroom, from subway tile to ornate mirrors. But for designer Tiffany Hanken, wood in the shower is a must when it comes to her dream loo. “Everyone loves a little teak, especially in a bathroom,” she noted in an email. 

  • 02 of 08

    A Mudroom


    Spacejoy / Unsplash

    Sometimes the most desired features are simply the practical ones! “There aren't enough homes with these, if you ask me,” Julia Newman of Julia Adele Design said of mudrooms in an email. A multipurpose mudroom space serves an array of purposes for busy families. “It's a great way to contain the mess, a place to leave shoes, umbrellas, leashes, etc.,” Newman elaborated. And it’s an extra key space for pet owners! “An essential part of this would be a dog bath as well,” Newman added. 

    Designer Elizabeth Stamos agreed. “We are currently house hunting, and I think a dealbreaker is a home without a mudroom,” she explained in an email. “With children there is so much stuff.” In fact, Stamos noted, a mudroom is so integral to her lifestyle that she would choose one in lieu of a large [primary] bath!

    About This Term: Primary Bedroom

    Many real estate associations, including the Houston Association of Realtors and some national builders, have classified the term "Master Bedroom" as discriminatory. "Primary Bedroom" is the name now widely used among the real estate community and better reflects the purpose of the room.

    Read more about our Diversity and Inclusion Pledge to make The Spruce a site where all feel welcome.

  • 03 of 08

    A Sunroom or Conservatory

    A sunroom

    The Spruce / Candace Madonna

    This type space is a common home feature across the pond, and designer Paige Kontrafouris is ready to hop on board. “The idea of floor-to-ceiling French windows, black and white floors, detailed molding, and doors opening up to a courtyard are what dreams are made of,” she said in an email. Best of all, because these spaces are not actually outdoors, they’re excellent rooms in which to kick back, no matter the weather. “I love the idea that you can enjoy all the seasons from one space with so many windows,” Kontrafouris added. 

  • 04 of 08

    Painted Floors

    painted wood floors

    FreshSplash / Getty Images

    This is a feature that Caroline Agee of Tuckahoe Home is craving, particularly in the kitchen. “I love when floors are painted in a diamond, checkerboard, or trellis pattern with stained wood peeking through,” she elaborated in an email. “I love the statement that Bunny Mellon’s Swedish-style painted blue and white checkerboard floor made with all white walls and trim in her Antigua home!” 

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    A Designated Home Office

    Home office

    Collov Home Design / Unsplash

    Surely this is a space that tops many small space dwellers’ lists after extensive time spent working from home. “We are currently living in a small condo after downsizing and didn’t plan for both my husband and myself to be working from home,” Linda Holt explained in an email. “The guest bedroom needs to go back to being a guest bedroom!” 

  • 06 of 08

    A Steel Wall

    Steel and glass wall divider

    Decouvrir Design

    As to be expected, designers are frequently influenced by the elements that they often incorporate into client projects. Becky Shea has included steel walls in many of the homes she has designed and craves one of her own. “We have always been into open concepts but also appreciate privacy, and steel walls allow us to get the best of both worlds,” she said in an email.” It's such an industrious, utilitarian feature but also allows a space to feel continually bright and airy, contrary to a sheetrock wall. I can't wait until the day that we can actually include this in our home!” 

  • 07 of 08

    A Butler’s Pantry

    Butler pantry

    PC Photography / Getty Images

    Serial entertainers, we can bet Maggie Griffin’s dream feature also falls high on your wishlist. “My dream home has a gorgeous butler’s pantry to hold entertaining pieces, my never ending sets of china and linens, and lots of drawers for flatware,” the designer said in an email. 

  • 08 of 08

    Original Built-Ins

    original built-ins

    Sophia Hsin / Stocksy

    All of those books and trinkets have to go somewhere, right? “Casey, my business partner, and I have a thing for bungalows and I’ve always admired original built-ins—a pretty common feature of this architectural style,” Sharon Derry of Lime Tree Home explained in an email. “I still don’t have them in my own home, but I may someday...a girl can dream, right?”