BALA Awards – Get Ready: Application/Judging Overview

NAHB’s Best in American Living Award (BALA) submission process is entirely online. Applicants are required to:

  • Select the award category(s);
  • Submit overall information about the project and the design team (e.g., architect, builder, interior designer, landscaper, etc.);
  • Upload a project design statement, floorplans and photographs; and
  • Sign the content release form.

Although each category may have specific judging criteria, most applications are judged on exterior design and curb appeal, interior design and interior architecture, site and home plans, and discretionary factors, such as creative and innovative use of space or materials, challenging site or space limitations, ability to meet clients’ needs, etc.

To eliminate any potential for bias, the judges are not provided any information on the identity of the project team. If a judge recognizes a project, the judge must recuse himself/herself from judging that category. Projects that include identifying information on photos and/or plans will be disqualified.

Eight industry experts — including builders, architects, designers and land planners from across the country — conduct the judging. Judges may select winners and award levels for each category, grant more than one of each award (silver, gold or platinum) per category and may decide not to honor any of the projects in any given award category if the entries submitted do not meet the quality requirements. 

BALA winners exemplify the best of the best in national design trends, as identified by the industry-leading judging panel. Start planning your entries. Maybe your next project will be on the front page of the 2022 Winners’ Portfolio!

Contact Sherin Sameh by email at or Kiera Gulley by email at or by phone at (202)266-8245 for any questions.

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