Decorating Ideas

How to Add Character to a New Build

new build

Moving into a new build is extremely exciting, and not just because you’re moving into your dream home. A new home is a blank canvas to work on, providing you with the freedom to get creative with your decor choices.

New build homes are perfect for those in search of up-to-date appliances, open plan living and manicured lawns. However, they don’t often include the traditional features that we can make over to add our own personality to.

Period properties and historic homes will offer character by the barrowful, but there are lots of design ideas you can implement to add cosiness and warmth to your new build home.

To help, here are our top tips on how to decorate a new build and add character to your interiors…


Before you start

If your new build is less than a year old, we recommend that you avoid painting or attaching anything to your new walls. This is because new plaster and walls need time to dry out, and as they do, small cracks may form which should be fixed before any paint/wallpaper/ other materials are applied to your walls. If in doubt, reach out to your building developer before starting any DIY projects.


Consider coving

wall coving

When it comes to adding character to your new build, details such as coving can really make a difference. Coving is a traditional feature of many period properties and will help you add a beautiful, decorative finish to your walls and ceilings.

Coving is easy to install – simply use a measuring tape and straight edge to make your marks around your walls and score your wall with a utility knife to help the adhesive stick. With the help of a mitre box, you’ll need to cut your coving to size using a handsaw – make sure you position your saw to cut in the right direction and try a couple of practice runs first! Once you’re happy with the fit, apply your adhesive and position your coving along your pencil lines before securing it in place.

What you do next with your coving is up to you. You could keep it white to match your ceiling or add a contrasting paint colour to make your new borders stand out.

Explore our range of coving, which comes in different shapes and styles to help you find the perfect type for your rooms – and make sure you don’t forget the corner packs…

Wall panelling

green wall panelling

Utilising wall panelling is an effective way of adding character to your new build. Wainscotting, as it’s also known, will help give your walls texture and will suit any room of your new build home – from your home office to your cloakroom or bathroom.

Wall panelling was introduced during the Victorian era as a way of protecting and insulting walls. However, it’s now making a comeback with those searching for ways to add character to a new build.

For more information and inspiration on wall panels and cladding, discover our buying guide here. You can also check out this helpful video…

Top tip: Or for a different style of feature wall, take a look at ‘How to Build a Wood Slat Wall’.


Built-in shelving

wall shelving

Add some character and much-needed storage space to your new build by adding built-in shelving to your home. Built-in shelving can be designed to cater to your needs and maximise space.

Built-in shelving in spaces such as your dining area and living room will not only add personality to your new build, but  will also help to create a cosier, dual-purpose space.


Fake fireplaces

fake fireplace

Is there anything more comforting and cosy than sitting by a nice warm fire when it’s cold outside?

The centrepiece of many period properties is a stone fireplace and mantlepiece, so adding a fake fireplace is the perfect way to add some character and cosiness to your new build.

Whether you want a more traditional stove style electric fire or a modern wall-mounted fire, you can pair it with a wooden mantelpiece to make it the focal point of your living room, ensuring warmth and character are plentiful.

Add some colour to your kitchen

green kitchen

New build homes are often created with neutral colour palettes. Therefore, rooms such as the kitchen, although kitted out with the latest technology, can lack that warm, relaxed feeling.

To inject some personality into your new build, consider livening up your kitchen with some Maison Deco paint. The Refresh Kitchen Paint is available in 12 chic colours that can be used across your cupboards, worktops and splashbacks. To add an extra level of character to your new build, why not try the Maison Deco paint effects, such as rust, wood and concrete, on your surfaces?

Create a snug

comfy winter snug lounge

One of the best ways to add character to your new build and give yourself a comfortable space to relax is by creating a snug.

Think soft furnishings, low level lighting and moody paint tones – a proper haven for you to escape to.

Your furniture needs to be comfortable and inviting – somewhere you can nestle with a good book or watch a film. Lighting is important too; consider installing a dimmer switch so you can control the level of light depending on the activity, and use lamps for task lighting. Plenty of soft accessories – such as cushions, blankets and rugs – are the cornerstone of any snug.

Consider combining some of our new build design ideas together to really add some character – a fireplace or built-in shelving would elevate your snug to unprecedented levels of cosiness.

And those are our ideas for how to add character to a new build! Don’t forget to share your new build transformations with us @Homebase_UK on Instagram and check out our other DIY and Decorating ideas for more inspiration.



Writer and expert