How To Add Character To A New Build Property

There’s nothing I love more than a period property packed with charm and character.  Give me a house with sash windows, stained glass panels, minton tiles and an original fireplace any day of the week but shall I let you into a secret? I’ve lived in new build properties since my late teens   I haven’t lived in a pre-war home since my teens, translation… a very long time ago.  The reason being?  Well no real reason other than circumstances.


Image Source: RHS Blog – House goals right here

Leaving home I didn’t give much thought to what kind of property I wanted.  It was just nice to have your own place and feel like a proper grown up, if you know what I mean?  After living most of my adult life in a new build property I came to realise although they may lack character, they do have benefits. Lovely super smooth plastered walls, which coincidentally also happen to be straight. A roof with all its tiles present and electrics which wont blink an eye when a teenager (plus friends), charge all 142 devices… at the same time.

As much as I love the upsides to living in a new property, the rooms can feel pretty much like a featureless box with four straight walls, usually painted in a one shade suits all ‘builders magnolia’, standard regulation upvc windows and white gloss doors.

For some people this is their ideal blank canvas and an opportunity to easily put their stamp on the place but I do dream of a house with bay windows, a picture rail and original wooden floorboards.

So what do you do if you live in a new property?  Apart from soft furnishings and accessories, how do you add character to your home?

Well there are lots of little tricks you can do to erase that ‘new build’ feel.

Ditch The Magnolia

Yep.  Nothing screams ‘I was built by a property developer’ than an entire house painted magnolia.  Listen, there is a reason builders use magnolia. It’s easy to touch up and it’s cheap.  You can buy it from any builders merchants ready made by the gallon. Ok maybe not the gallon but you get my drift.  It’s so popular they have it stacked like tins in a supermarket. But these are not good reasons to keep your home this colour! Even if it’s practical, even if cream is your thing, there are definitely better shades you can choose!!!

Add A Feature

A lot of older properties featured tall skirting boards, dado rails, picture rails (my favourite), wall panelling, decorative ceiling roses and cornicing.  Now I’m not suggesting you add all of the above, in fact adding all of the above may be a tad overkill, but even adding something like an inoffensive cornice is a subtle feature which puts you on the road to adding character to your home.  Just choose the right feature that works best for you.  Take for example this wood panelling in the below photo.  It might be a costly outlay for the timber and joiner but once it’s installed it will dramatically change any room it’s fitted in.

wood panelling


Tiles have a come a long way. Gone are the days where it was common to have the odd random kitchen tile that featured a vegetable.  Nothing screams new build country home wannabe than a kitchen tile with an onion on, right??

As well as actually serving a purpose tiles have now become a feature in their own right.  If your home is in the process of being built you may be lucky enough to chose your own tiles.  Take an ordinary white kitchen but add an interesting tile and you will completely change the feel and style of the room.  How about a standard metro tile but instead of laying it in the usual brick pattern try laying it in herringbone instead. At 24p per tile it’s an inexpensive way to bring character to your home. Or how about adding some texture with these detailed Batik Patchwork tiles from Topps Tiles?  Ask your builder as soon as possible to see whether they are able to incorporate your own choice of tiles.


Image source: Adore Magazine


Tops Tiles

So there you have a round up of just some of the ways you can add character to a new build property.  Granted, some are not the cheapest of options but if you’re in the early stages of a new build you might be able to factor them in now, saving you refurb costs in the future.

Do you live in a new build property and struggling to make any changes? Or have you recently added character to your property by doing any of the above.  I’d love to hear from you.  Click here to tag me into some of your projects on instagram so I can see what you’ve been up to.

2 thoughts on “How To Add Character To A New Build Property

  1. HodgePodgeDays says:

    I do love an older house for the original features, but I think modern houses can be so much lighter, so making the most of that is important. All of the images in this post are so light and clean and I envy that.


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