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Eight ways to make a new build property feel like home

Buying a new-build property is exciting, and there are many advantages to being the first one with the keys. The place will be clean and freshly decorated, so you can move in your boxes, belongings and furniture straight away, knowing all you have to do initially is unpack.

Once you’ve settled in, however, you might start looking at your furniture and realise it doesn’t quite fit in the new space, and even though the walls and woodwork don’t need to be repainted, the décor looks a bit dull. It’s time to put your stamp on your new property, but where do you start and in which areas should you invest? Check out these ideas to help you turn your new build into a home – one that stands out from the crowd and truly reflects your personality.


Invest in quality curtains

There’s nothing quite like the look and feel of luscious long curtains to add a little luxury to a room. Investing in some custom-made drapes in a fabric you really love will greatly lift a room, and they’ll be a pleasure to open every morning.


Upholster a headboard

A bit of good upholstery goes a long way to making your home glamorous and comfortable. Don’t think of a headboard as just a practical bit of wood that keeps your head off the wallpaper; instead, give the wall behind your bed the luxe treatment.

Consider how high and wide you can reasonably go with it – the width of the bed should not necessarily limit the width of the headboard. The larger it is, the more impact it will have, and it may improve the room’s acoustics, too.

Personalise a bathroom

A bathroom should be a sanctuary and, while a bathing space in a new-build might be very nice, chances are it won’t have too much personality. That bit is up to you.

If you have a little more budget, think about going for that luxury shower you’ve always wanted, or it might be a simpler change, such as a lick of paint, a new shower curtain or screen, and a luxury bath mat set.

Furnish with colour and texture
If you find your home looks a little bland when you first move in, but one of the reasons you bought a new build was so you wouldn’t have to get out the paint roller, don’t worry. The walls aren’t the only source of colour and texture, and there are plenty of ways to bring a little personality into your scheme without touching a paintbrush. Think cushions, rugs, bedspreads and throws – you’d be amazed at what a difference a couple of colourful accents can make. 

Tour a colourful new-build flat in London

Add ceiling detail

Your ceiling is almost guaranteed to be plain white with a bit of simple coving around the edge in a new build. If you want to make it a little more interesting, try this. Draw a scale plan of your ceiling (simply measure the floor, which most likely has the same dimensions). Mark the position of your pendant lights, if they are staying put; if you have invested in large light fittings, include their dimensions on your plan. Show where the doors are and how they open into the space.
Now play with a few ideas. You could add mouldings to accentuate the nice shapes in the room or run several in one direction to make the room feel bigger. Draw out your preferred design on the ceiling using a pencil, then paint it in with a slightly darker colour of paint. When you are happy with the effect, invest in some lovely mouldings for a perfect finish. A skilled tradesperson will be able to fit these no problem.

Browse ways to add detail to your ceiling


Change a door

Swapping a door or two gives you the opportunity to move away from a standard design and go for something a little more suited to you. If any of your rooms, especially receptions rooms and the hallway, feel dark, consider replacing the doors with new ones that incorporate glass.

If you find yourself propping doors open all the time, why not take them out completely and open up the space a little? With professional help, this can be a pretty straightforward process.

Bisque Radiators

Swap a radiator

I’m a big fan of oil-filled electric radiators for bathrooms. They heat the towels for little cost throughout the year as they don’t rely on your home’s central heating, but rather are run on electricity. See if you can find a design that is just a bit special – something that brings a smile to your face. 


Landscape your garden

Your new build probably won’t come with a particularly elaborate garden. So if your house is looking pristine, and you have a little cash left over, why not invest in your garden? Find the sunniest spot to lay a terrace for outdoor dining. Greenery takes years to grow, so plant it up now and, in the meantime, go with temporary screening until your climbing plants take over; sails made from canvas and lightweight lattice are good options.

Get inspiration from these beautifully landscaped gardens.

Yasmin Chopin, Houzz Contributor

About our expert View all posts by this expert

Houzz Experts

Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a small room to building a custom home and everything in between, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world.

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