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25 Ways to Add Character to a New Build on Any Budget

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Small Touches, Big Impact: 25 Simple Ways to Add Character to Your New Build

In this article, we’ll explore 25 ways to help guide you to understanding how to add character to a new build!

How to Add Character to a New Build with kitchen pendants.

Building a new home is an exciting adventure that many people dream of, but often the final product can feel impersonal and lacking in character. Your home should be a reflection of your personality and style, but how can you add that personal touch without breaking the bank?

The good news is, there are several simple and affordable ways to add character to your new build.

This article will guide you through a variety of ways to add character and charm to your new home on any budget, and on any timeline. You can easily pick and choose whether you want to use these decorating ideas, add some simple upgrades, or invest in worthwhile add-ons for longer term projects.

With that said, let’s dive in!

How To Add Character to a New Build

First and foremost, there is one overarching theme that will help your new build feel unique when used during the building process.

Incorporating natural materials.

Using natural materials in finishes and incorporating texture in your architecture will go a long way to counteract boring flat drywall walls and stark rooms.

Soapstone cabinet with antique mirror.

For example, during the building process, choose natural flooring materials like brick, slate, or travertine for areas of your home that you want to stand out.

Add natural wood elements through cabinetry, doors or trim.

Use natural stones like granite, marble or soapstone for countertops and backsplashes. (Or use these look-a-likes: Granite that looks like Soapstone and Quartz that looks like Marble.)

Dress rooms up with wool rugs, soft cotton blankets, or linen sofas.

Keep reading for more ideas!

Bring In Natural Materials

One easy way to bring character to your new build is by incorporating natural materials. This can range from using wood accents on your walls or ceiling to incorporating live plants throughout your home. Natural materials not only add warmth and texture, but they also bring a sense of calm and tranquility to your space.

If you’re looking to add natural materials in a more subtle way, consider incorporating woven textures like rattan or jute into your decor. A woven rug or a few baskets can add a touch of bohemian style to your home without feeling overwhelming.

When it comes to incorporating natural materials, the possibilities are endless. Think about what speaks to you and your personal style, and try incorporating those elements throughout your home. By doing so, you’ll create a space that feels authentic and unique to you.

Decorating Ideas to Add Charm and Character to a New Build

Mix and Match Decor Styles

To truly make your new build feel like home, consider mixing and matching decor styles.

This approach allows you to create a space that is unique and personal, rather than just a carbon copy of a showroom.

Mix matched decor with a stone fireplace and velvet sofa.

One way to do this is by incorporating different textures, patterns, and colors. For example, you could mix modern pieces with vintage finds or go for a bohemian vibe with layered rugs and eclectic accents.

When it comes to mixing and matching decor styles, remember that balance is key.

While it’s important to have a variety of pieces, they should still work together cohesively. One way to achieve this is by creating a focal point in each room, such as a statement piece of furniture or a piece of artwork. From there, you can build around it with complementary pieces that add depth and interest.

Add Statement Lighting

When it comes to creating a unique and character-filled home, lighting should not be overlooked.

In fact, statement lighting can serve as the perfect finishing touch to any room. Whether it’s a bold chandelier in the dining room or a unique floor lamp in the living room, lighting can add both function and personality to your space.

Basket pendant in dining room.

There are countless options when it comes to statement lighting. Consider incorporating fixtures made of unique materials, such as a woven rattan pendant or a brass sconce. And don’t be afraid to play with scale – an oversized floor lamp can serve as a dramatic focal point in a room.

When selecting lighting, keep in mind the mood you want to create in the space. Dimmer switches can allow for adjustable lighting that can transition from bright and functional to soft and cozy. And don’t forget about the power of natural light – consider adding window treatments that can filter light and add texture.

To take your statement lighting to the next level, try incorporating vintage finds. A retro table lamp or antique chandelier can bring both history and character to your home. Plus, using found objects is an eco-friendly way to add personality to your space.

By strategically incorporating statement lighting and vintage finds, you can create a home that is both functional and full of character. So go ahead and mix and match materials, play with scale, and let your creativity shine.

And next up, let’s explore how to incorporate vintage finds into your new build.

Incorporate Vintage Finds

To truly infuse character into your new build, consider incorporating vintage finds throughout your home. These unique pieces can add a touch of history and personality to even the most modern spaces.

In my home, I’ve added an antique farmhouse cabinet to my custom kitchen as a stand alone pantry. The inset doors of my custom cabinets mirror the inset doors of the antique cupboard, making them feel cohesive.

You’ll also find dozens of smaller antique pieces throughout my home I repurpose as various forms of decor, vases, artwork and storage.

How to add character to a new build with vintage finds.

By combining statement lighting and vintage finds, you can create a cohesive design that is both functional and full of character.

Don’t Shy Away From Bold Colors

Adding a bold pop of color is a quick and easy way to infuse personality into your new build.

Whether you opt for a vibrant piece of furniture or a bold accent wall, a pop of color can instantly add character to a space. The key to using color effectively is to start with a neutral base and then layer in bold hues. This allows the color to really stand out and make a statement.

If you’re hesitant about going all-out with a bright color, try incorporating it in smaller ways first. Consider adding colorful throw pillows or a brightly colored rug to your living room.

If you’re feeling adventurous, you could also experiment with a bold wallpaper or paint color in a small powder room or entryway.

Pop of bold color in a bathroom.

When using a bold pop of color, it’s important to think about how it will fit into the overall design scheme of your home. Make sure the color you choose complements the other colors and textures in the space.

And don’t be afraid to mix and match different colors and patterns – just make sure they work together harmoniously.

Get Creative With Your Fifth Wall

Have you ever heard of a fifth wall? We all know that a room has 4 walls of real estate to utilize when decorating and designing. But we often overlook the fifth wall: the ceiling.

Here are a few ways to instantly update a room with a unique ceiling.

  1. Paint the ceiling the same color as the walls
  2. Wallpaper the ceiling
  3. Add millwork, like shiplap or beadboard
  4. Add beams

Don’t Forget to Layer

Layers are very important when thinking of how to add character to a new build.

Layers make a home feel cozier and lived in. You can add layers through textiles, artwork, cozy rugs, pillows, books, and vignettes.

Layers help add character to a new build.

You can also add layers with your window coverings. My favorite combination is roman shades for privacy and light filtering, plus drapes. This simple addition instantly cozies up a room.

Simple Upgrades to Add Character to Your New Build

In addition to affordable decorating ideas, I also like to take it a step further and recommend some simple upgrades.

Most builder-grade houses use very similar finishes that are cheap for a builder to use but still look nice. The problem is, they make your home look the same as everyone else’s.

Adding wall moulding to a basement.

Thankfully, there are a few simple upgrades you can do on your own after your home is built that will elevate your home to the next level.

Here are my favorite items to swap or add over time as you settle in and make your home your own:

  • Swap out lighting, like we discussed above. Unique sconces, chandeliers and pendants are affordable ways to change the look of an entire room.
  • Paint trim a unique color beyond the traditional white.
  • Upgrade doors.
  • Upgrade kitchen and bathroom hardware.
  • Upgrade door knobs and light switches.
  • Add crown moulding.
  • Incorporate antique furniture into kitchens and baths as pantries, cabinets, or storage.
  • Tile to the ceiling for the perfect dramatic backsplash.

Worthwhile Add-Ons to Incorporate Over Time

Once you’ve tackled some decorating and simple swaps, you may want to consider more extensive projects.

These add-ons will be an investment that you can slowly incorporate over time once you determine your needs.

Cased opening in a living room.

Living in a new home for at least a year before taking on these bigger projects will give you a better idea of how you use your space, and what types of add-ons you will benefit from the most.

Sometimes it is more storage. Other times it’s something more specific like a need for an art room or more usable outdoor spaces.

However, in general, these add-ons are sure to infuse character into your new build one project at a time. You can see how I’ve done some of these projects in my own home via the links provided.

Summary: How Do You Add Character to a New Construction Home?

In summary, here are 25 ways to add character to a new build. Whether you are doing simple upgrades, decorating, or more extensive add-ons, your house will feel like home in no time.

25 Ways to Add Character to a New Build on Any Budget
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  • Use natural materials in finishes and incorporate texture in your architecture
  • Decorating Ideas
    • Mix and match decor styles
    • Incorporate vintage finds
    • Use bold colors
    • Install wallpaper
    • Use your fifth wall
    • Layer, layer, layer
    • Add window coverings
  • Simple Upgrades
    • Unique statement lighting
    • Painted trim
    • Upgrade doors
    • Upgrade hardware
    • Upgrade door knobs and light switches
    • Add crown moulding
    • Incorporate antique furniture into kitchens and baths
    • Tile to the ceiling
  • Worthwhile Add-Ons
    • Beams
    • Millwork
    • Cased Openings
    • Header beams
    • Stone fireplace
    • Tile, brick or slate flooring
    • Add built in cabinetry, window seats or bed nooks
    • Add a pergola or gazebo
    • Update landscaping

Incorporating natural materials, mixing decor styles, adding statement lighting, incorporating vintage finds, and using a bold pop of color are all simple ways to add character to your new build through decorating.

Bedroom with accent wall.

By adding these small touches, you can make a big impact on the overall feel of your home and make it uniquely yours. As you settle into your new space, remember to embrace your creativity and let your personality shine through.

And as time goes on, you can tackle some of the bigger upgrades and add-ons to infuse more design style into your spaces.

Don’t be afraid to get creative and make your home a reflection of you. Your new home should be a place you love to spend time in, and with these tips, you can achieve just that.

More Home Design Ideas

Thanks so much for stopping by the blog today! I hope these ideas for how to add character to a new build are helpful as you transition your house from new build to charming home.

Kitchen pendents and tile work.

If you need design help, make sure to check out these articles next.

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~Sarah

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for creating a safe and inclusive space through your writing. Your compassion and empathy shine through, making your articles relatable and comforting.

  2. It’s common to hear people complain about how expensive everything is these days. However, this is a wonderful reminder that even with limited funds, it’s possible to enhance and beautify a recently constructed space! 🙂

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