new house with lights on

20 Regrettable Electrical Fails In New Home Construction (2023)

There’s so much to consider when building a new home that oversights in electrical upgrades happen all too often.

This leaves homeowners with ‘would’ve, should’ve, could’ve’ moments after the closing.

When it comes to planning new home construction electrical ideas it’s crucial to think through the entire floor plan. Consider who will be using each space and how they will use it.

For many years, I sold new construction homes, and later in my career, I conducted new home design appointments, hundreds of them.

One thing became abundantly clear: there’s often a disconnect for new home buyers between selecting structural options—like electrical upgrades, which typically happen at the permitting stage—and choosing design elements, which may not occur until 30 to 90 days later.

These two aspects are intrinsically linked, and it’s essential to consider them simultaneously.

Doing so ensures that you don’t overlook any critical electrical tips that could impact your home’s functionality and aesthetics.

New home construction electrical ideas

So what are the top 20 missed new home construction electrical ideas I’ve seen over the past decade?

Here’s my list of electrical projects that should absolutely be on the electrical drawing!

New homeowners should work closely with a professional electrician and interior designer in the early planning stages to ensure the building process goes smoothly.

  • Wall Outlets
  • Air Switch Garbage Disposal
  • USB Ports
  • Pool/ Spa Prewire
  • Electric Vehicle Receptacle
  • Pendant Pre-wire
  • Floor Outlets
  • Generator Pre-wire
  • Upper Cabinet Lighting
  • Wireless Access Point
  • Cat6 Wiring
  • Structured Wiring Box
  • Soffit Outlet
  • 110V 20 Amp Outlet
  • Outdoor Flood Lighting
  • Additional Light Box with Wall Switches
  • Recessed Lighting
  • Whole House Surge Protector
  • Indoor/Outdoor Flat Panel TV Prewire
  • Audio Surround Sound Prewire

This post is all about new home construction electrical ideas, continue reading for illustrative photos, best practices for electrical systems, and borderline genius location ideas.

1. Wall Outlets 110V

wall outlet in kitchen island

Wall outlets are standard in new home construction, with pre-determined placement established by local building codes.

However, these basic guidelines often don’t account for how you’ll live in the space.

The absence of strategically placed electrical outlets can become an everyday inconvenience, affecting the functionality and comfort of your home.

Here are some ideas for an interior 110-volt non-dedicated outlet

New Home Electrical Outlets Location Ideas

  1. On the side of the kitchen island for small appliances
  2. In the master bedroom, for custom closet lighting solutions, ironing boards or steamers
  3. Kitchen pantry to recharge cordless vacuum cleaner
  4. Under stair storage closet
  5. Laundry room walls opposite of washer and dryer

2. Air Switch Garbage Disposal

air switch button kitchen countertop

Tired of fumbling under the sink to find the garbage disposal switch? A countertop air switch is the next best thing to sliced bread.

It adds convenience and a clean look to your kitchen.

Location Ideas

Place the air switch just above the top of the kitchen sink for easy access. It’s a nifty little button that eliminates the need for back-breaking under the kitchen sink switch.

3. USB Port

USB port outlet in kitchen backsplash

We’re all practically attached to our mobile devices, aren’t we?

How many times have you played musical chairs with adapters and chargers?

Built-in USB ports in your wall outlets make life so much easier.

Plug in your cell phone or tablet right there, Game changer!

Best Spots to Install USB Ports:

  • Bedroom: Perfect for late-night social media scrolls or early-morning email checks next to your bed.
  • Kitchen Island: Ideal for following recipes on your tablet.
  • Home Office: Naturally, it’s a workspace that demands connectivity.
  • Living Room: Right next to the sofa for those Netflix binge-watching sessions.
  • Mudroom Benches and lockers: Convenient for quick charges when you’re coming in or heading out.

Quick Tip

When choosing these USB outlets, look for ones with higher amperage. Faster charging is always a win!

so whether you’re updating an older house or a new home build, USB ports are a good idea.

4. Pool Spa Prewire

new construction pool and spa

Swimming pools and hot tubs can add substantial costs to the bottom line of your new home’s final purchase price and tax bill.

Sometimes homeowners have to make a difficult decision and decide to wait to install a pool.

My husband and I decided to do the pool and hot tub aftermarket, but we made the wise choice to have our builder install the electrical wiring for the pool and spa.

This was an itemized cost we could remove from the pool quote which saved us time and money.

PRO TIP: Ensure your builder installs a UL-listed outdoor GFI outlet with a cover suitable for wet locations. We overlooked this, and our outdoor outlet had to be both converted and relocated 4 feet away from our new pool.

Take a look at my new construction home electrical ideas fail! Not pretty!

outdoor pool outlet

5. 240 V Receptacle for Electric Vehicle

electric car plug outlet

You don’t need me to tell you that electric cars are the future as we strive to rely less on natural resources.

Future-proofing your new build is important; even if you don’t currently own an electric vehicle, you or someone in your household may very well own one soon.

While it’s true that you can charge your EV using a standard residential 110V outlet, this will only yield 3 to 6 miles of charge per hour.

On the other hand, a 240V receptacle, considered a Level 2 charger, can charge your electric car 5 to 7 times faster.

6. Pendant Pre-Wire

kitchen pendant lights

Pendant lights over a kitchen island may seem optional, but they’re well worth the investment.

Even if you’re uncertain about using them, I often recommend installing the necessary wiring and capping it off for future use.

The take rate on pendant lighting in the new home design studio was well over 95%. This is clearly an in-demand design feature.

Pendant lights serve as a kitchen focal point and can significantly influence the room’s overall design style.

Don’t forget to measure your kitchen island to determine the number of pendant lights you’ll need.

7. Floor outlets

floor outlet wood floor

If you’re opting for a new construction home with a production builder, you’re likely getting an open-concept floor plan—a design trend that shows no signs of waning.

But these layouts often leave you wondering: where can I plug in a lamp if my furniture is floating in the middle of the room?

Enter floor outlets.

These are built right into the concrete slab of your home and are ideal for open living rooms, lofts, and home offices with desks that sit away from the wall, and children’s game rooms.

8. Generator Prewire

generator prewire

Home is our sanctuary, a place where we expect comfort and safety, come rain or shine.

However, power outages and extreme weather events can disrupt these expectations, affecting our food storage and overall comfort.

Pre-wiring your home for a generator is a wise electrical tip that counteracts these uncertainties.

Generator Pre-wire Set-Up

  • Sub Panel:
    • A special panel that determines which circuits stay powered during an outage.
    • Keeps essentials like lights, fridge, and climate control running.
  • Transfer Switch:
    • The unsung hero of generator setups.
    • Safely switches from grid to generator, ensuring no dangerous back-feeding to the main grid.
  • Chase:
    • A neat conduit or pathway for routing power cables.
    • Makes sure everything stays tidy and organized.

End result? When you’re ready to connect a generator, it’s a straightforward process, with no fuss involved.

When the home electrical services experience a power outage, the generator restores power using natural or propane gas.

9. Kitchen Cabinet Lighting

LED under cabinet lighting in kitchen

I can attest that cabinet lighting is one of the most commonly overlooked electrical upgrades in new home construction.

Most new homebuyers do add under-cabinet lighting during their design appointments, and for good reason.

This feature not only provides excellent task lighting for cooking and food preparation but also adds perfect ambient lighting for those times when overhead lights are too harsh.

However, many overlook the options for in-cabinet and above-cabinet lighting, often because these need to be considered during the structural selection process, not just at the design appointment.

pick lighting in upper kitchen cabinet boxes

Puck lights inside cabinets can add elegant accent lighting, while upper-cabinet lighting can either illuminate the ceiling or highlight glass-front upper cabinetry.

Work with your builder’s electrician to ensure the wiring is available above the cabinets.

10. Wifi Extender

wifi extender plugged in outlet

Today’s homes rely heavily on WiFi for a range of needs, from mobile communication and internet access to smart home devices like Alexa and security cameras.

However, we’ve all experienced homes where the WiFi signal is weak or nonexistent in certain areas, effectively limiting the usability of those spaces.

One prime example is my courtyard pool area; the WiFi doesn’t penetrate through the dual-pane, hurricane-impact glass.

In such cases, a WiFi extender could be incredibly beneficial.

Therefore, when you’re in the electrical planning stages of your home, make sure to install ceiling-mounted wireless access points (WAPs).

We didn’t think of this and now we have to use outlet wifi extenders. The ceiling mounted has a much cleaner look.

Location Ideas

These should be strategically placed on the second floor and in the far corners of the home to ensure efficient and speedy WiFi coverage throughout both the interior and exterior spaces.

11. Category 6 Cable

cat6 outlet with dual media

You may have heard the terms Cat6 and Cat5 cables, but you might be wondering what they actually mean.

These are types of Ethernet cables used for connecting devices like computers and routers to a network.

Of the two, Cat6 is the newer and more advanced option. It offers higher bandwidth and faster data transfer speeds than its predecessor, Cat5.

For residential homes, hardwiring your network with Cat6 cables can be an excellent idea.

It provides a more stable, efficient, and future-proof solution for all your networking needs, whether it’s for streaming high-definition videos, online gaming, or smart home connectivity.

PRO TIP: Hardwired CAT6 outlets are a must-have in the home office.

12. Structured Media Enclosure

structured media enclosure

So, where do all these Ethernet cables, routers, modems, and wires converge?

You’ll want them to be easily accessible in case you need to power down and reset, or if an electrician needs access for an upgrade.

At the same time, this collection of equipment can be a bit of a clunky mess, something you wouldn’t want in the middle of your foyer. So planning for the future location of this equipment is important.

The solution? Consider installing a structured media enclosure. This can neatly conceal and house all your networking wires and equipment.

Location Ideas

Ideal locations for these enclosures include laundry rooms and hall closets, try not to place them in the owner’s closet as they eat up valuable clothing storage space.

13. Soffit Outlet

soffit electrical prewire

This idea is simply genius, if I may say so myself. I wish I had thought of it sooner.

My husband, who takes on the annual task of installing our holiday lights, knows all too well the convenience of having GFI outlets in the roof soffit.

Say goodbye to ugly extension cords ruining your Christmas cheer, and climbing up and down ladders to reach inconveniently placed outlets.

Pre-wire your soffit for outlets! this has to be one of my very favorite new home construction electrical ideas.

14. 110v 20 Amp Dedicated Outlet

110V 20Amp garage outlet

This refers to a specialized outlet that can handle major appliances, such as a second refrigerator in the garage.

Each of these outlets has its own circuit breaker in the electrical panel, providing an added layer of safety. I find this particularly useful for our garage refrigerator, where we store cold beverages and overflow freezer groceries.

Even if the main house breaker were to trip, the garage fridge remains on a separate electrical circuit, keeping our stored items safe.

Think ahead about the major appliances you will add to your new home, when a 110V 20 amp dedicated outlet may be necessary.

15. Outdoor Flood Lighting

outdoor flood lights

Does the thought of cutting a hole into the exterior of your new home make your heart race? I know it does for me.

To avoid this, consider a lighting plan so thoughtful and strategic that it wouldn’t dare leave out wiring or the full installation of floodlights.

These fixtures can provide extra layers of security for your driveway, backyard, and other outdoor areas.

Motion sensors can be helpful and cost-effective options for flood lights.

16. Wall Mount Light Fixtures

bathroom sconce lighting

There’s a fine line between good home design and great home design, and often, that difference comes down to layered lighting.

Wall-mounted light fixtures offer a unique blend of function and style.

They’re not just a decorative element but also a strategic way to illuminate specific areas of your home, such as reading nooks, art displays, or vanity mirrors.

Best Practices

Choose wall-mounted fixtures that complement the design and color scheme of the room.

Install them at eye level for most applications, although the ideal height can vary depending on the specific use or room setting.

Location Ideas

Common spaces for wall-mounted light fixtures include hallways, bathrooms next to mirrors, above bedside tables in bedrooms, and flanking artwork or mantels in living rooms.

17. Recessed Lighting

home recessed lighting

Recessed lighting is often the go-to choice for primary overhead illumination in modern homes.

If you’re collaborating with a custom builder, you’ll have the opportunity to work together in deciding the types and quantities of ceiling lights you want in each room.

On the other hand, if you’re building with a production builder, the type of overhead lighting is usually pre-determined

In this case, your main decision will involve choosing the rooms where you’d like to upgrade and add additional recessed lights

Here’s an insider tip: Model homes are designed to showcase all available lighting options—and often even more.

To get a true sense of what you’ll need, try turning off lights as you walk through the model at different times of the day.

This exercise can help you better understand your own lighting needs and preferences.

18. Whole House Surge Protector

surge protector at electric meter

It was only day 3 in our new Florida home when one of those intense afternoon thunderstorms rolled in.

A crack of lightning sent us all ducking for cover, and once the storm had passed, we discovered a power surge had killed our kitchen electrical appliances.

Fortunately, our builder covered the damage out of kindness but with storms like that a regular occurrence, we knew we needed to take action.

We reached out to a local electric company and enrolled in their SurgeShield program.

They installed a surge protector directly at our electrical meter to protect all our major electrical appliances.

As an added peace of mind, the program comes with a $5,000 warranty should the surge protector fail.

19. Indoor and Outdoor Flat Screen TV Preps

pre construction tv wall mount

Make your move-in experience seamless by preparing your walls for TV installations.

  • Start by pre-wiring for an outlet, accompanied by a dual media CAT6/RG6, positioned 60 inches above the finished floor.
  • Incorporate pressure-treated plywood behind the drywall. This ensures your TV bracket has a solid foundation, guaranteeing the secure placement of flat-screen TVs on the wall.
  • Plus, this approach offers an elegant solution for neatly concealing cords and cables.

By taking these preparatory steps, you pave the way for a true turn-key experience.

Pro Tip Don’t overlook the outdoor space; it’s prime real estate for entertainment too!

20. Audio Surround Sound Prewires

home theater ideas

A home theater is becoming more commonplace in new construction layouts.

There are a lot of moving parts that go into a home theater and plenty to unpack.

Here’s what I know for sure about how to prepare for home theaters, but my best advice is to work with an expert audio and visual installer who has specialized knowledge.

  • Add an outlet in the ceiling
  • Consider a floor outlet for motorized theater recliners
  • Wall sconces look great in here and give that movie theater vibe
  • Pre-wire for ceiling speakers and soundbars
  • Wall switch volume control for speakers
  • All lighting on a dimmer switch
  • Media closet to house and organize all equipment with louvered doors for ventilation
home electrical plans

New Home Construction Electrical Ideas Final Thoughts

We’ve covered a lot of ground here—from wall outlets and USB ports to dimmer switches and specialized home theater setups.

New home construction electrical ideas might not be the most glamorous part of home building, but it’s certainly one of the most crucial for a comfortable and convenient lifestyle.

If you take these electrical considerations into account, you’ll be well on your way to creating not just a house, but an outstanding living environment.

We’d love to hear your thoughts! Have any electrical features you swear by in your home? Feel free to leave a comment below.

If you found this helpful, you won’t want to miss our previous post on the best upgrades in new home construction.

I hope you found some fresh ideas for electrical features in your future build.

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