Moving into a new home is a big step. It’s exciting to think about all the ways you’ll decorate the home. But it can also be a challenge, especially if it’s a new build home.
With a new build property, the challenge is it’s generally made to appeal to a wide range of tastes so it can feel a little cookie-cutter, or even bland. On the flip side, there’s no better blank canvas for decorating than a new construction home that already has modern amenities built-in.
For many people, the first instinct is often not to add or change too many things that don’t feel in line with their new home, in case it “messes things up.” But adding furniture and decor that shows off your personality and changing things up to suit your lifestyle and taste is exactly what you want to do to make the space your own.
For inspiration and a little guidance, we’ve rounded up some tips for adding personality and character when decorating a new build home. Scroll for our new build house decor tips and how to work them into your space.
1. Decorate With Antiques
The most common challenge with any new build home is they often feel glossy and almost too perfectly polished. If you like the modern and contemporary look, play it up and go for decor in those styles, but if it’s not your aesthetic, don’t feel boxed in by the home’s style.
Just because your home is new doesn’t mean your furnishings have to be. The best way to inject your own personality into the space is by contrasting all the ‘newness’ with furniture and decor in different design styles.
Try decorating a new build home with antiques and various vintage-style pieces that give your space a lived-in, collected feel. You can go big with a vintage sofa and a large antique chandelier, or if you want elements of the vintage look you can keep to smaller accents, such as weathered-wood side tables, a collection of flea-market objects, or a vintage painting or print.
2. Avoid Matchy-Matchy
Buying a boxed set of furniture is an easy way to outfit a space, but it can sometimes leave your home feeling even more cookie-cutter. So as a rule of thumb, we like to skip the matching furniture sets and instead buy individual pieces when decorating a new build home.
It’s all about mixing without matching. Think the marble-and-brass side table with the slipcovered sofa, the sheepskin on top of a vintage rug, or the black leather armchair alongside the classical painting. The result will be spaces that have more character and a collected look. If matching furniture is your thing, try sticking to like pieces, such as matching nightstands or end tables, then juxtaposing them with an unexpected sofa, armchair or table for a similar effect.
For easy ways to master a stylish furniture mix, check out our tips on how to decorate a room.
3. Work in Lots of Texture
Another way to balance out the new look and feel of a home is to play up pops of texture—whether it’s accents in natural materials or wood with aged finishes.
Organic textures add instant character, personality, and charm to any new construction home. Furniture made with natural materials, which can be a rattan armchair or a woven light pendant, always warms up a modern or contemporary room. Mix it with other textures, such as leather, embroidered fabrics, rough-hewn woods, stone, and even smooth ceramics.
The best part is that you can’t go wrong with too much or too little texture. You can play it up as much as you need to for the look you want, whether it’s going for tons of texture for a rustic and boho look or keeping it a little more casual for a coastal look.
4. Switch Up Light Fixtures
Lighting is also a key consideration for a new build property. Swapping out the existing fixtures in a new home is a great way to bring in a touch of character. It will also change up the vibe in your space dramatically. This could mean replacing a modern bathroom sconce with a design that’s more in your style or hanging up a more vintage-style pendant light in a dining space.
Some new build homes come without fixtures, which means you’ll have to add your own lighting. That might sound daunting at first, but don’t be. It’s a great opportunity to set the mood with lighting that fits the home you want to live in and let your personality and style shine.
5. Add Layers of Lighting
Most new builds feature a lot of downlighting, aka. ambient lighting, which can make the home appear stark and dark.
One of the key factors to any happy home is good lighting, and that means having a range of different lights. Lean into a mix of lighting at every level, from sconces to floor lamps to accent lighting on tables. This will allow you to control the ambiance and mood in your home while also adding function throughout.
Try bright task lighting for a desk or workspace, a cozy table lamp next to a reading chair, and install dimmers for sconces to create low-lit mood lighting for evenings. The type of lighting you choose will depend on your lifestyle and needs, but it’s also a chance to add character to blank white walls that are common across new build homes.
For more tips on choosing the right fixtures, check out our Lighting Guide.
6. Make Some Cosmetic Changes
Finally, more than just furniture and decor, you can also make changes to existing physical features in a new build property, like the walls or socket covers. (Note: Some new build home communities restrict the changes you can make to your space, so just be sure you’re in the clear before making any major changes!)
The easiest cosmetic update you can make to your new build home is painting the walls. It’s a bold way to bring your personality into the space, be it a whole painted room or an accent wall in a bright color. Other ways to change up your space could be adding wood paneling or DIY wainscotting if that’s your style, installing a ceiling medallion to give your hanging light fixtures a stylish edge, or swapping out light switch covers with vintage or brass ones that provide a chic metallic touch.
Get more Interior design ideas for new homes!