How to make your new build house feel like a home
Updated: May 31
New Vs Old. That age old conundrum when it comes to purchasing a house. I get it, old houses are often full of character; Wonky walls, original fireplaces, odd layouts - it all adds to the charm, right? Unfortunately for the average new build house, they are typically lacking in the weird and unusual features department. But don’t let that put you off - despite the magnolia (or if you’re lucky just plain old white) walls and often ‘boxy’ feeling, it is in fact possible to create a new build home that feels inviting, individual and full of personality.
There’s a lot to be said for buying brand new. These houses are energy-efficient, sparkling clean, often well laid out AND you’re the first person to use the shower! You might even get to choose your bathroom tiles, kitchen and flooring. There’s certainly no living with a mint green bath suite or dated wood chip wallpaper whilst you save up to replace them. You can move straight in to a lovely fresh home and all that is left to do is put your own stamp on the place.
Sounds easy right?
In reality, once the honeymoon period is over and you’re ready to knuckle down and do some decorating, you can find yourself feeling hesitant and indecisive. When you’re faced with white walls and empty spaces, knowing where to start, and what to do, can be confusing at best. It's no wonder that people 2 or even 3 years down the line are still living in a sea of magnolia, due to this very reason! You don’t need to be one of them!
As an interior designer who LOVES designing new build spaces, I have put together 5 of my favourite tricks for making your new house feel more homely.
Starting from scratch gives you the perfect opportunity to think about how you want your new house to look and feel. Ideally, you want the rooms to ‘flow’ without any sudden changes in style or colour. In order to achieve this, I always recommend planning the colour scheme and style in advance. This doesn’t mean that every room needs to look the same but repeating an element of the design, whether that is a certain colour or type of wood throughout can help to create a cohesive and inviting scheme. If you’re not sure on your style, try using Pinterest or instagram for inspiration and pick out the common elements in your favourite photos. You could even go as far as creating your own mood board. I use Microsoft Powerpoint or Canva!
Once you are happy with your colour scheme and style, one of the easiest and quickest ways to make your new home feel more welcoming is to get some paint on the walls. You will be surprised at how quickly adding some colour can change the mood of a room. Don’t forget to test your paints first - every colour can look different depending on the room it is in. Use white paper or card for your testers so you can move them round the room, and check them in different lights. Consider painting the ceiling the same colour as the walls - this can lift a room by blurring the edges and can make the ceiling appear higher.
Texture is key to adding depth to your rooms. If you are trying to create an inviting and relaxed home, adding layers of texture will be vital. The easiest way to do this is to use a range of fabrics on your sofa, chairs and floors, whether that’s a fluffy throw, linen cushions or perhaps a jute rug. Varying the sizes and shapes of any cushions you use will have a similar effect. Style your room with accessories made of more natural materials - stone, glass and wood will all add to that feeling of warmth and homeliness.
I’m sure I don’t need to tell you how important lighting is to an interior design scheme - it can make it or break it, so you want to get it right. Similar to adding texture, when you add lighting you want to do it in layers. New build houses aren’t famous for their fantastic options of lighting sources and chances are you’ll find yourself with a single light bulb or maybe some spotlights. As a general rule of thumb, it is a good idea to aim for between 5 and 7 different sources of light in a room. Try to ensure a mix of general (ceiling lights), task (reading lamps or lighting over work surfaces), spot (lighting directed at some artwork or a bookcase) and mood (dimmable small lamps, candles or string lights). Not only will your space function better, but you will also provide yourself with the flexibility to change the lighting depending on the atmosphere you are looking to create.
It’s all in the details! And it really is. If you are looking for a sure fire way to change up your new house a bit and really add that personal touch, consider replacing small features like door handles. Typically, new build homes are finished with pretty generic run-of-the-mill handles on doors and kitchen cabinets. Trust me when I say, that swapping these out for some lovely aged brass or matt black drawer pulls or knobs can completely change the look of a kitchen. Don't forget about plug sockets and light switches - a sleek brushed steel light fitting could be the finishing touch you didn’t know you needed!
So there you have it! A little round up of some of my favourite ways to add character and personality to your new build home. I hope you enjoyed it and as always, any suggestions are gratefully received either via email firstname.lastname@example.org or by commenting below :)