Style guide

12 ways to add character to a new build home

Moving into a newly built home is exciting as they are the perfect blank canvas to add your personal touches to. Explore my handy hints for adding character to a new build property. I absolutely love @thegreenwoldgaff cosy lounge with tons of personal touches and the Sawyer sofa.

Written by:

Moving into a new build property can have its advantages.

It’s modern, more energy efficient than older properties and you won’t have to worry about bodge-jobs from previous residents!

But, if you love the gothic, bay windowed look of a Victorian house or a grandly designed Georgian gem, the simple architecture of a freshly built home may not exactly fulfil your house dreams.

There are plenty of easy ways to add personality and character to homes which lack period features.

Here are my top 12 new build décor ideas to add some fabulous features into your home:

1. Look for furniture with character

The furniture you choose makes a huge difference to the look and feel of your home.

You don’t need to fill your home with vintage furniture to give it character, however, having a few period-inspired pieces will inject just enough interest and a nostalgic charm.

Choose your items carefully – traditional large chunky pieces may look out of place in the smaller rooms of today’s new builds.

Instead, look for mid-century style pieces with cleaner lines and slim tapered legs for a more fitting look.

Our Gina dining table combines traditional designs with modern finishes with oak finished tables and leather chair covers.

Wren Round Dining Table & 4 Dining Chairs

Bloom velvet chair

2. Period paint shades

Using colours inspired by period properties is a great way to add personality to modern interiors.

Rich shades like navy, forest green and burgundy will give any room an elegant, historical makeover.

Enhance the look even further by matching the skirting boards to the wall colour for a fabulous statement.

3. Wooden flooring

Traditional or contemporary, wooden flooring possesses a certain air of sophistication.

Whether its laminate, engineered wood or paired back planks, wooden floors ooze an old-time homely charm with an understated sense of grandeur.

For a real vintage feel, Parquet or Herringbone flooring is particularly pleasing to the eye and gives a seamless feel throughout the home.

Image credit: @thechallishome_x

4. Add personality with panelling

Attractive, versatile and affordable, panelling is a great way to add interest, character and texture to plain rooms.

Since seeing a resurgence in recent years, panels are available in a myriad of colours and designs, making them an incredibly adaptable feature you can incorporate into any home.

What’s more, having vertical panels is a great way to help a smaller room appear taller.

Opt for an entire wall of panelling for a fantastic feature or go half height if you don’t want it to dominate the room.

I love how @thechallishome_x has created a faux chimney breast and turned it into a media unit, creating alcoves and using panelling to create a new dimension.

5. Transform your front door

First impressions count and your front door is the often the first thing anyone sees when coming for a visit.

Painting your front door is an easy way to add character before you’ve even taken your first step indoors.

Give it a country cottage charm with a soft sage green or a pretty pastel like lilac or cornflower blue.

Or try a splash of a saturated shade like oxblood or navy for something a little regal and grown-up.  

6. Add a wood-burning stove

Nothing steals a scene like a feature fireplace. Something many modern homes are now missing, a fireplace was once upon a time the heart of the home.

As well as its obvious warming benefits, a fire was the burning focal point of any room and an anchor for all that orbited around it.

If you’re looking for a guaranteed way to add instant character to a new build home, a wood burning stove is a sure-fire way to do just that.

Image credit: @the_lee_bees_home

Image credit: @athomewith_steph

7. Patterned wallpaper

Not the most popular of decorating methods in recent times, the wallpaper has seen a sudden comeback of sorts, thanks to its easy ability to add individuality to a room.

Those familiar with the grandmillennial trend will know of the revival of the floral wallpaper.

Think small, ornate garden-inspired details as opposed to oversized flowers and you’re there, or go industrial with on-trend brick or tile effect paper.

8. Add some drama with statement lighting

Lighting can make a huge difference to the atmosphere in your home and can be a real game-changer when it comes to setting the scene.

A big part of a period property’s moody charm is in its ambient glow.

To emulate this, swap modern spotlights for vintage looking pendants.

Glass lanterns and lamps with metallic accents, such brass and gold, will have an authentic look and set just the right light.

9. Use your windows to wow

Windows offer a focal point to any room so how you dress them can make a real difference to the look and feel of the space.

Having shutters as opposed to traditional blinds provide a room with character and a talking point.

Break up a plain room with some colourful or patterned curtains to add colour and personality.

Image credit: @lovehearts_and_laurels

Image credit: @the_homely_home

10. Made to measure

Custom-built furniture such as wardrobes, bookcases and shelving units are practical, space-saving and provide visual interest in any space.

Having something made-to-measure can be expensive but you needn’t spend a fortune if you want to join in.

The effects can be achieved by simply adding some shelving to an alcove.

Paint the shelves in the same colour as the rest of the décor to give it a seamless look.

11. Vintage doorknobs

The modern abodes feature doors with your classic door handles but if you want to give your interiors a quick change, switch your modern designs with some traditional round doorknobs.

Brass or gold will have a particularly authentic and stylish look, or opt for some pretty patterned options to add a small playful touch to your doors.

12. Statement sofa

If you don’t want to make any drastic changes to your décor, a sofa is a great way to pack some personality into your living space.

The great thing is, with so many styles, sizes, fabrics and colours available, you can practically tailor-make your sofa to suit your unique style.

Of course, there are some designs that never go out of fashion, so if it’s something retro-inspired you’re after, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.

Features like scrolled arms, back-button details and low slung designs have all come back round, so you can have a sofa that looks like it’s from a bygone era, with a modern makeover.

Image credit: @ourneutralhome59

We hope this article has given you some great new build interior design ideas.

If you’d like some more inspiration for adding your stamp on to your new home, you may find our article, 5 ways to add personality to your home useful.

Our sofas in your homes

Share the love for your new ScS sofa or furniture using @scssofas and #myscshome for a chance to be featured.

Victoria Foster

Written by:

Stylist & Visual Merchandiser

at ScS

2nd November 2023

Victoria is a stylist and merchandiser based at our in-house photo studio. Having been part of the ScS family since 2012, Victoria styles stunning home sets with the latest trends to showcase newly launched ScS products. With over 25 years of experience in styling and merchandising, she loves to keep an eye on the latest trends in the interior landscape. Victoria's favourite interior scheme is the Boho trend and loves to layer a mixture of different textures in her home. Her styling top tip is to always create a focal point in a room. Whether it’s a feature wall, a piece of artwork, or a bright patterned rug, having a focal point can help to drive the decisions on the rest of the rooms layout.