There are many advantages to new build properties. Most are fitted with convenient modern appliances such as induction hobs and efficient boilers. They are likely to have been constructed using the latest green building practices as well, such as cavity walls which provide better insulation.
However, there is no denying that certain new build properties lack character as function is the primary focus. While this can be off-putting at first, having a blank canvas allows you to properly put your stamp on your new home.
Those looking at new build homes in the local area can prepare for their move with this guide on how to personalise a new build property. You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to do!
How to add character to a new build
If you want your house to stand out from the repetitive new build crowd, there are plenty of things you can do. Adding character to a new build property is important because it helps to create a sense of individuality and uniqueness, making the property feel more like a home.
New build properties can often lack character and personality, as they are designed to be functional and appeal to a wide range of buyers. However, there are many new build decorating ideas you can implement to make it your own.
Can you add character to a new build?
The short answer, yes!
By adding character, homeowners can make their property stand out and reflect their own personal style and taste. This can also increase the property’s value and appeal to potential buyers in the future.
Here are 10 ways to add character to a new build:
- Find your interior style
- It’s all about the entrance
- Use bold colours
- Update the walls
- Contrast textiles
- Install unique light fixtures
- Change the hardware
- Look down
- Create a focal point
- Tend to the garden
Here are some decorating ideas for new builds to get you started.
1. Find your style
You can’t start decorating until you find your style. Any interior designer worth their salt will tell you that a cohesive theme is the foundation of great home style. Whether you prefer classic, contemporary, minimalist, or rustic, pick a style and try to stick to it.
Even the best artists and architects need inspiration for their creations. Before you start decorating, do some research to get inspiration for your room designs. Magazines based on home interiors or websites such as Pinterest are a great place to start.
Another good way to find your home decor style is to look at your wardrobe.
What colours jump out? Do you prefer a laid-back look with lots of loungewear and comfy clothing, or are you more classic with lots of elegant cuts, natural fabrics and matching accessories such as leather shoes and handbags?
2. It’s all about the entrance
Most new build properties will often come with a white UPVC front door. These are popular choices for many reasons. They are cost-effective, low maintenance and durable.
However, if you want your door to stand out from the rest, it is quite simple to do.
Your front door is the first thing people see from outside and can set an impression of what is to come indoors and is one of the easiest ways to add character to a new build. Choosing unique designs and finishes can help homeowners to express their personal style and create a sense of individuality.
How to add character to a new build by updating your front door –
- Replace the current door with a unique style. Think about adding doors with differently shaped windows, or adding stained glass windows.
- Go contemporary. Add a door with floor-to-ceiling glass panels and an oversized door handle.
- Paint your existing door. It is quite easy to paint your UPVC front door and there is no need to prime it first. There are plenty of weatherproof-friendly paints in many different colours to choose from.
- Choose a different material. If you want to give your front door a complete upgrade, go for a timber or composite door. Composite is better if you live in a particularly wet or windy area!
- Finally, think about the front door hardware. Replace your door handles, knockers and letterboxes with brass fittings to give them a wonderfully classic look.
3. Use bold colours
The reason that new build homes can seem so lacking in character is that they tend to be painted white throughout. Incorporating colour into your property, such as painting the walls or fitting vibrant carpets, is a quick way to add personality that is nevertheless impactful.
Bold colours can add visual interest and depth to a space. They can be used to highlight architectural features or create a focal point in a room, making the space feel more dynamic and engaging. They can also be extremely warm and inviting and help to create a cosy and intimate space or make a room feel more lively and energetic.
Painting a room a bold colour is one of the easiest ways to add character to a new build.
There are many bold colours that can be used to add character to a new build including –
- Deep blue – adds a sense of sophistication and drama to a space. It can be used to create a cosy and intimate atmosphere or to make a room feel more luxurious and stylish. Pair it with gold to give it the ultimate luxury look
- Rich green – creates a natural and earthy look, and is a great choice for properties with a focus on sustainability and eco-friendliness. It can be used to create a calming and serene atmosphere or to add a pop of colour to a neutral space.
- Velvety reds and browns – think hot chocolate or lattes and throw in a deep burgundy red! These colours are perfect with neutral tones and can help add a focal point to a room.
- Vibrant yellow – hear me out! Vibrant yellow can add a sense of optimism and happiness to a space and make a room feel more bright and more cheerful. It has a huge impact on a room so go for mustard or brown tones so it doesn’t become overwhelming.
4. Update the walls
As well as painting the walls, which is one of the most cost-effective decorating ideas for new builds, there are other ways you can add character to your new build property to make your home feel unique.
Panelled walls have been around since the 13th century and have seen a huge surge in popularity in the last couple of years. You can now buy panelling packs from all major DIY stores so they are nearly as easy as painting to installing!
Wallpaper is still a bit marmite, you either love it or hate it. A lot of people still associate floral wallpaper with their grandparent’s houses, outdated and fussy!
However, I love floral and nature-inspired wallpaper as it can add texture, colour and pattern to a room and help break up the monotonousness of a painted wall.
Accent or feature walls are often frowned upon in the interior design world, but I think they are perfect if you are not sure you want to go full colour in a room. Feature walls can help break up the white paint in a room without committing to going completely bold.
An accent wall doesn’t have to be painted or wallpaper either. You can create a brick wall with brick slips or use a material like reclaimed wood to create a feature wall in the bathroom.
I absolutely love gallery walls and have a few in my home. Creating a gallery wall can add a personal touch to a room by choosing your favourite artwork, photos or prints and displaying them in a cohesive and well-composed way.
5. Contrast textiles
In addition to incorporating colour, featuring contrasting textiles is a great way to bring life and character to a new build home. Pair wood and metal furnishings with flat woven rugs and cushions for an appealing blend of contemporary style and homely comfort.
One of the biggest trends in recent years – cottage-core, is all about mixing patterns and bringing depth into a room. Cottagecore is a cultural aesthetic that celebrates a romanticised ideal of rural life. It is often associated with traditional crafts, vintage fashion, and a love of nature.
If you are not looking for decorating ideas for new builds, follow these simple ideas to add character to a new build.
- Pairing a floral-printed cushion with a striped throw or a plaid rug can add contrast and interest to a room.
- Using different textures can create a tactile and inviting space. For example, pairing a velvet sofa with a woven rug or a knit throw can create a cosy and inviting atmosphere.
- Layering textiles can add depth and dimension to a space. Start with your base layer like a sofa or bed linen, then choose a different texture to layer over the top. For example, if you have a leather sofa, layer it with a soft and fluffy throw or woven blanket. Finally, add some patterned textiles like curtains or cushions.
6. Install unique light fixtures
As well as the white-washed walls, bright overhead lights can make new build homes feel stark. Intense lighting can also have a negative effect on your mood.
Bringing in lamps for softer lighting options allows you to match rooms to your mood, such as creating a relaxed atmosphere for evenings in the living room. You can also use lights to illuminate key pieces of furniture or artwork.
Unique lighting fixtures can add character to a new build in several ways and help with the ambience of the room. Chandeliers are classic and elegant lighting fixtures that help add a touch of luxury to a room. They come in a variety of styles from traditional crystal chandeliers to modern and minimalist designs.
Pendant lights are a versatile and stylish lighting option that can be used in a variety of spaces, from kitchens to living rooms.
They come in a range of sizes, shapes, and materials, allowing homeowners to choose a design that complements the overall style of the property.
Wall lights or sconces can add a touch of sophistication and elegance to a room, creating a warm and inviting ambience. They are a great choice for spaces such as hallways, bedrooms, bathrooms or dining rooms.
Table lamps can add a cosy and intimate atmosphere to a room, while also providing task lighting for reading or working. They come in a range of designs, from vintage-inspired styles to modern and minimalist designs.
7. Change the hardware
In new-build properties, standard hardware is often used throughout the property to maintain a consistent and cohesive look.
Door handles are typically made of a standard metal finish, such as brushed nickel or chrome and light switches are often a simple and standard design, with a plastic cover plate and a simple switch or dimmer.
Changing the hardware, such as door handles, cabinet pulls or light switches, can help create a cohesive look throughout and instantly add character to a new build. If you choose hardware with the same finish, such as matte black or brushed gold, it can tie together the overall design and create a unified look.
Choosing hardware with a vintage or rustic style can create a traditional or cottage-style look, while modern hardware can create a sleek and contemporary feel to your home.
Upgrading the hardware to high-quality and durable materials can also make the property more attractive to potential buyers or renters, and add long-term value to the property.
8. Look down
Changing the flooring in a new build property can be a great way to give it a fresh new look. Most new builds will come with laminate or grey carpets, but if you are looking to stand out from the crowd, look at changing your flooring.
If you want a modern and contemporary look, choose a material such as hardwood, laminate, or luxury vinyl flooring (LVF) that has a sleek finish. For those in search of residential or commercial flooring options, consider researching various types, installation methods, and maintenance options related to floor materials and designs.
Opt for a light colour palette, such as light grey or natural wood tones which can help to create a sense of spaciousness and brightness, making the room feel larger and more open.
Parquet flooring is hugely popular and the perfect choice if you’re looking for a more traditional look for your new build property.
Parquet flooring is made from hardwood which is a highly durable material and can withstand heavy foot traffic and wear and tear. It has a distinctive and elegant look that helps add warmth and character to any space and can instantly add character to a new build.
Adding tiled flooring to a new build property can be a great way to add durability, beauty and value. There are many types of tile available, including ceramic, porcelain, natural stone, and glass.
Choose the type of tile that fits the overall style of the property and meets your needs in terms of durability, maintenance, and budget.
9. Create a focal point
Most new build properties come without chimney breasts. Why? Mainly because chimneys were originally designed to provide a safe and efficient way to remove smoke and other byproducts of burning fuel from indoor spaces.
These days modern heating systems, such as central heating or underfloor heating, do not require a chimney breast. This means that builders can eliminate the chimney breast without compromising the heating system’s efficiency or effectiveness.
Unfortunately, this means a lot of new builds lack a focal point in the living room and can be bland and resemble a white box.
However, you can still add a fireplace to add character to a new build home. There are several types of fireplaces, including traditional wood-burning fireplaces, gas fireplaces, biofuel fireplaces and electric fireplaces.
Choose the type of fireplace that fits the overall style of the property and meets your needs in terms of maintenance, budget, and environmental impact.
Choose the location for the fireplace, taking into account ventilation, safety, and aesthetics. A fireplace should be placed in a location where it can be enjoyed and appreciated, and where it can be safely vented to the outside.
Finish the surround or mantle of the fireplace to complement the overall design of the property. This may involve adding tiles, brick, or other materials to create a distinctive and personalized look.
10. Tend to the garden
Last but not least – don’t forget the garden!
This may be outside of the walls of your new build, but it is still a part of your property. Tending the garden can be as intensive or relaxed as you like: why not kick off with some simple bedding plants in the borders or turn a corner into an untamed wildlife area?
Assess the current state of the garden and identify areas that need improvement or enhancement. Consider the size of the garden, the soil quality, the amount of sunlight, and any existing features such as trees or shrubs.
A new build garden can be a barren place, so adding lots of plants, hardscaping like paths and patios and some garden lighting can automatically update your outdoor space.