How To Add Character To A New Build Home ~ Fresh Design Blog3 min read
New build properties have lots of advantages – they’re smart, clean, easy to maintain and tend to come with fewer problems than period homes. One disadvantage, though, is that they can be a bit characterless. We’ve put together some easy ways to add a little individuality to your home.
Work those walls
Painting every room in the house in a pale, neutral colour is an easy decision but can make rooms look boxy and boring. The joy of period homes is that they’re full of surprises – walls that aren’t quite true, unexpected corners and crevices and even different floor levels. Square, modern rooms are much easier in terms of planning furniture, but they can lack the wow factor. Try adding interest with bold, beautiful wallpaper on a feature wall, such as this Wisteria Lane wallpaper, £52 a roll by Lucie Annabel.
Another idea is to install wood panelling. This was often done in period homes to help add insulation for warmth and to cover walls that were less than perfect, but in a modern home it would serve a purely aesthetic purpose. This can be surprisingly inexpensive if you use MDF instead of real wood and paint it afterwards. You could make life even easier with this ‘wood panelling’ trompe d’oeil wallpaper by Mineheart, £82 a roll.
Cheat with features
Again, one of the glories of period homes is that they’re unique. Whether it’s original 1930s stained glass in the entrance hall or a working fireplace, each one has something a little different about it. Just because you’re in a new home, though, it doesn’t mean that you can’t introduce your own features! If you don’t have a chimney you obviously won’t be able to retro-fit a proper working fireplace, but you could invest in an electric ‘log burner’ such as this Broseley Canterbury electric log stove, £795 from Stoves Are Us.
It’s almost indistinguishable from the real thing, and there’s an optional flue to make it look even more authentic. Add a fire surround, and you’ll have a fantastic focal point for the room.
Let there be light
Lighting is extremely important in any home, modern or period. With modern homes, though, you can be a bit more flexible. Period homes often need ‘task lighting’ (i.e. lights that are bright enough to enable you to actually see!) in certain areas. Small, oddly placed windows and low ceilings force you to have lights where they might not have the most eye appeal.
Modern homes are generally much brighter and lighter to start with, so you can concentrate on finding the lighting that actually works for you. To create a cosy, welcoming feel try having only standard and desk lamps rather than an overhead light, or invest in a really spectacular light fitting to add interest to the room.
Shop shop shop
If you really want to give your home a unique feel, fill it with unique accessories. Search on online auction sites, local social media groups and at antique shops for quirky pieces that will add a little individuality. Even better, vintage finds are often much cheaper than buying new so you’ll save money into the bargain.
However you choose to furnish your home, it takes a lot of time to get the look you’re after. A decor that has grown organically as a result of travel souvenirs, finding items in far flung places or just spending hours stalking the perfect piece online will shout personality, so remember that being patient is the best way to get your look.
Main image: Wisteria Lane wallpaper by: Lucie Annabel