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How to add character to a new build

If you’re considering new build homes, you’ll find that they are a great blank canvas to add your own personal touches to. There are so many ways to add character to a new build.

10 tips for adding character to a new build home

1. Inject colour

New builds tend to come with a neutral colour scheme. But if white walls are too clinical for you and you’re bored of grey, a great way to add character to a new build is to inject some colour. 

A lick of paint on the wall in a warm tone like burgundy and mustard yellow can do wonders for creating a cosy feel. Whether you opt to paint the whole space or use paint as a feature wall, it’s a guaranteed way to make a space feel uplifted and vibrant.

Another great option is to add colour using your home décor. Think patterned throws, a vintage-style rug and large sofa cushions in a rich jewel tone. 

2. Add texture

Alongside colour, another great way to add character to a new build is by incorporating different textures. 

Mix fabrics like velvet, wool and linen to create a layered look that feels well put together and homely. This helps you move away from a new build's sleek and sparse interior and add some dimension and warmth. Natural wood elements are also great for giving a home a pared-back but cosy feel.

3. Opt for wallpaper

Modern homes tend to be associated with minimalism, but if you want to inject character and a personal touch, patterned wallpaper is a great way to do it. Or, you could just choose a statement paper for smaller areas like the downstairs bathroom.

Patterned wallpaper is also a great option for a feature wall, particularly in areas like bedrooms and living rooms. 

4. Mix old & new furniture

If you want to add period features to a new build, it can be tempting to go for antique pieces. However, this could feel a little jarring in a modern new build. Instead, opt for a mix of old and new. This will create a more harmonised look, embracing your modern space while giving a nod to vintage style.

If you fancy a project, why not try upcycling some furniture? Antique furniture is often cheaper to buy second-hand and can be spruced up with a little TLC, while your modern pieces can be given a vintage, lived-in look with some chalk paint.

5. Layer lighting

The best way to create a welcoming space is to layer different lighting types. Standing lamps, table lamps, and pendant lights are all good options to create a soft, warm glow. The bulb type you choose can play a big part, too. But avoid choosing bright white in favour of warm white, as this will create an inviting atmosphere.

6. Dress your windows

Traditional wooden windows might have that coveted vintage feel you’re after, but clever window dressing can make even UPVC windows look the part. Try wooden shutters and floor-length sheer drapes for a light feel, or a sheer Roman blind paired with heavier curtains for a warm, layered look. 

Top tip: install your curtain rod high on the wall or even on the ceiling, and have your curtains reach the floor for an elegant finish.

7. Install panelling

If you love the look of period features, simply install panelling onto your plain walls. This is a great way to add character to a new build and incorporates period décor well. From wainscoting to shiplap, there are a few different options you can choose from that will give your home a stylish but timeless look. 

8. Add a picture rail

Other features you typically find in more traditional properties are picture or dado rails on the walls. If you want to add a vintage touch to your new build, these decorative mouldings are a great option. 

While they used to be functional for hanging artwork and protecting the walls, these days, they’re typically just used for aesthetic purposes to give a home a classic touch. They’re also relatively cheap and easy to install, so it’s a fairly small job that can make a big difference.

9. Install a fireplace

A fireplace can always make a home feel cosy, and they’re great for adding a focal point to a room. If you don’t want to install a traditional fireplace and chimney, a modern (and more cost-effective) option is an electric fireplace, which you can still decorate with a vintage-style wooden surround. 

10. Swap contemporary hardware for vintage

When it comes to adding character to a home, it’s all in the details. Whether it’s your doorknobs or kitchen cabinet handles, a great way to add a personal touch to your new build is to swap out your modern hardware for antique options in brass or nickel. 

If you’re not looking for a vintage feel, you can inject personality by opting for colourful knobs and handles on furniture and cabinetry.

When moving into any new property, it can take time before it feels like yours. But now you know how to add character to a new build, you can look forward to putting your own stamp on the place and creating a welcoming, characterful home.

Now you know everything there is to know about incorporating character, you might want to read our other helpful interior guides.

Check our blog for more tips and inspiration for creating your perfect home, including our guide on how to perfectly paint a room.