Dear Designer: Adding Character to your New Build Home

New build homes appeal to most as you can turn up with your bags and move straight in. They are a blank canvas ready for you to make your mark. However, endless white walls can also be very daunting and we often hear of those wondering where to begin. For those in need, don’t fear the Design House team are here to offer our top tips. One subscriber messaged us in need of some help:

We have recently bought a new build property and really need your help in making it feel like our home. We love that everything is new and modern, but don’t want it to feel impersonal and lifeless. Please could you offer us some advice on how to add some personality and character! My partner and I have different ideas on what we like! Mike prefers smart and neutral whilst I like a bit of pattern and colour. We do both agree however that we love your showhomes and want it to feel homely and warm! Thanks, Hayley & Mike.


  • Decide on the look you are wanting to achieve & continue this throughout the house. Although we are not suggesting that every room should look the same, it does works much better when they sing from the same hymn sheet. Perhaps decide on a neutral back bone to the design and strengthen colour & pattern in areas that you can both agree on ie. Guest bedrooms / WC / Children’s bedrooms. Take the schemeĀ  above for example; the colours could be exaggerated, taking the tan to an orange and the blue to a brighter hue where appropriate. The subtle geometric patterns on the cushions could be complimented with a large scale wallpaper in the hall. This considered design creates a nice flow to the house and keeps everyone happy!
  • We have discussed this one before and will happily talk about it again, the importance of decorating your Hall, Stairs & Landing. This is the space that both yourselves & your guests walk through everyday giving the first impressions of your home.. so it deserves some love & attention. Create a warm welcome and set the tone of the house from the moment you walk through the door.


  • Adding a feature light will instantly transform your room and will give it the character it is graving for. Don’t be afraid to go big (just be aware of the height), a small light can actually make the room feel smaller as it gives the impression that the space can’t handle anything more.
  • Chances are you have chosen a flooring from a limited selection, meaning your neighbours all have a similar product. A statement rug can change the feel of the space and stamp your personality into the room. Easy to replace you could go for something quirky or colourful, alternatively a textured rug can add a lovely warm and cosy feel.
  • Don’t be constrained to the four white walls you are given, building a chimney breast or fitted cabinetry can give the room the central point that older properties naturally have. We created a bespoke media wall in one of our showhome designs (as seen in the headline image), recessed shelving and fitted cabinetry give the room some depth & character whilst providing the all important storage that often new build homes lack.


We hope that this has helped and inspired our readers and subscribers. If you have a design related query or dilemma then contact us at and we may be able to assist in our next ‘Dear Designer’ post.