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How to add character into a new build

Created: 14/01/2020

Choosing a new build over an older house comes with plenty of advantages. You won’t have to spend your time and money fixing any past-owner renovating mishaps as well as dealing with problems such as drafts and damp. Plus, you have a completely blank canvas to decorate as you wish! Some people, however, love the ease of a new build home but want the character found in older homes. In this guide, we reveal how you can combine the two with some easy ways to make your new build feel homely.

Look for inspiration

Living room with brown sofa

Before you begin decorating, it’s best to have a clear plan in place, as you don’t want to end up with a jumble of interior styles happening at once. We spoke to Katie from the home and lifestyle blog Sweet Home Life to find out her advice: “If you’re not sure what your style is or what possibilities there even are, start by looking through images of the various spaces in your new home: living room, dining room, kitchen and so on. Save those images you like – don’t ask yourself why you like them, just save them. You can also do this by purchasing a selection of current home décor magazines. Cut out the ones you like and group them into spaces.

“When you feel you have enough images (say 30 or so) start to look for the themes. You will notice that there are common elements in the pictures you have selected. These may be specific features, colours or window treatments. When I completed this exercise, the first thing I noticed was that I love shutters. Virtually every picture I had saved, regardless of the room, had shutters in it!”

Change the lighting

Sconce light fixtures

New builds often come with down/spotlighting, which are great for brightening each room, but when it comes to creating a cosy and warm atmosphere, it can be a bit too bright. Instead, add lamps onto any side tables to use in the evenings when you want to relax. Sconce light fixtures also work brilliantly for creating mood lighting. If you want to perfect the lighting in your home but are concerned about the work, you can easily arrange to have qualified electricians from handyman services in London to come and help you.

Personalise your kitchen

There are countless ways you can add some personality into your new build kitchen. If at first, the kitchen feels too modern and bare for your interior taste, as you start to fill the sides with your appliances, colourful tea towels and vibrant fruit bowls, the kitchen will already start to feel homely and lived-in.

Katie from Sweet Home Life tells us how she adds personality into her kitchen: “Tapware is a great way to add character. Through the process above, I fell in love with a Perrin and Rowe Ionian kitchen tap. The tap is a beautiful feature in our open plan kitchen that instantly creates style.

“We also added character by purchasing the Smeg mint green jug and painting the back of the kitchen cabinet (which had glass doors) the same shade of green. These small decisions came together to create a unique, character-filled kitchen that showcases our personality (and is a pleasure to be in). Therefore, I recommend when you are looking to add character to your new build, select small things you love and then build in other elements of your home to support them. Window treatments, tapware and colour are one simple (and fun) way of doing this.”

Switching from the existing cupboard door handles and tapware that usually come installed in a new build to ones with a more traditional and vintage look will help add something unique to your kitchen!

Add old furniture


Mixing the old and the new will create a stylish look, so don’t be afraid to add vintage furnishings to your modern home. Second-hand furniture shops and car boot sales are worth a visit, as you may stumble across a vintage cabinet, wooden side table or another item that will add some history and character into your home. Alternatively, if you want to buy all new furniture, you can opt for pieces that have been created to appear older than they are, such as furniture from the shabby chic trend.

Add wall mouldings

Wall mouldings

Another excellent way to add character into your home is to add wall mouldings and wood paneling details around your home, which will be sure to add a charming look to each room. There are plenty of different styles of wall moulding to choose from, whether you want it to become a grand feature or just to add a little detail to the room. Wall crowning is a great idea for those who want to add character to a room, as it joins the intersection of walls and ceilings, giving a traditional and formal look.

By following these easy ways to add character into your new build home, you’ll soon be living in a space that has the perfect balance of old and new. If you need help transforming your home, or even with a couple of odd jobs, don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team.


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