A new-build home is the ultimate blank canvas; a chance for you to really stamp your personality on a house and create the space you’ve always wanted, instead of having to live with someone else’s choices.
While many love the clean lines and minimal styling of a new-build, others will want to add a little character and colour to really make their house a home.
Most new builds have the same colour throughout – and while magnolia or pale grey will work well in some rooms, you might want to add cosiness or drama in others. Before you decide on paint colours, consider the flow from room to room, and create a mood board to see how your favourites will work together. Layer up shades to create depth, mixing mix neutrals in light, mid and dark tones, or picking out one of the paint colours and pairing it with a feature wallpaper.
To add character and break up large stretches of blank wall, consider shaker or tongue and groove panelling, coving, picture rails and open book or display shelving. Architectural wallpapers will give you walls that look like stone, brick, slate, marble or wood panels without too much hard work. In the kitchen, replace tiles with tongue and groove panelling finished with a wipeable paint for a completely different look, whether you want soft, country shaker style or dark dramatic walls offset with shiny copper pans and light marble countertops.
A sitting room needs a focal point – it's what draws you into a space and gives your eyes somewhere to settle. Consider a feature fireplace with a mantel over either a modern living flame fire or a space filled with candles or fairy lights. Alternatively, opt for a statement mirror, a gallery wall filled with pictures of different shapes and sizes, or a feature wall with striking wallpaper or elegant panelling.
Mix & match
Mixing old and new pieces in a room creates a laid-back, lived in vibe, which adds instant cosiness and looks like it has taken years to create. Hunt for a few pieces of old furniture that can be easily upcycled and use to offset your newer items. A stylish lacquered or mirrored tray will look great on a worn timber table, or pile velvet and silk cushions on to a vintage leather sofa.
New-build homes tend to come with plenty of ceiling spotlights, which aren’t very forgiving. Soften the atmosphere with table and floor lamps, and consider pendant lights over a dining table or kitchen island.
Good on paper
Walls needn’t be all one colour. Today’s wallpapers give all kinds of options, from statement patterns to entire murals that will transport you to the forest, beach or city. And if a bold wallpaper seems too much of a leap, wall decals are a quick and easy way to add instant style, and can be easily changed.