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/ by Houzz Experts

How to overcome typical new build challenges

One of the best things about moving into a new-build property is that everything is brand new.  But new houses aren’t always blessed with interesting architectural features, and can be a little bland so you might want to add character and ensure it doesn’t look exactly the same as your neighbour’s house. Here are 10 design challenges you might face with your new-build home and some handy tips on how to overcome them.


Contrast your furniture
Just because your home is brand new, it doesn’t mean your furniture has to be too. New-build homes tend to have neutral interiors, so mix and match different styles and ages of furniture to add warmth and interest. Old or second-hand furniture is perfect for family living as it’s not too precious.

Friern Road, East Dulwich

Make an entrance
A new build often has very simple features to appeal to a wide range of tastes. If you think your staircase could do with some jazzing up, try hanging some bold wallpaper and adding a stair runner. You could also replace the finial with a vintage brass one to give it that extra wow factor.

Victorian Terrace

Transform a colourless kitchen
The kitchens in newly built homes are often pale and neutral, and while it’s great to have a kitchen that’s brand new and in good condition, chances are you’ll want to inject some character. It’s easy to completely change the look by using paint and accessories. Here, the dark walls provide a striking contrast to the white units, while the golden splashback adds a unique touch and the wooden furniture creates a warm, rustic feel.

London Mews House

Change your doors

To make a real style statement, replace your existing standard doors with chic glass and steel Crittall-style ones, as shown here. This works particularly well in an open-plan living space. The glass doors create the feeling of flow between the rooms, but can also be closed if you want some privacy. Be sure to check that your new doors meet fire safety regulations. You can do this by speaking to building control at your local council or getting advice from a reputable builder.

Discover the different types of internal doors available on Houzz

East London Duplex

Pep up plain flooring
An instant way to add personality to a bland interior is with a bold rug. Place it over hard flooring or lay it on top of a fitted carpet and it will completely transform the room. On hard floors be sure to use an anti-slip underlay to hold it in place. 

Thinking of adding a rug? Here’s how to go bold and make a statement or browse Houzz’s selection of rugs.

London Loft Apartment
Paint uninspiring woodwork
If you want to keep the rooms light and neutral, but still set your home apart, paint the woodwork.  Skirting boards, window frames and banisters look ever so stylish when painted grey. This space is a newly built part of a loft apartment, Grey works with almost any colour scheme or furniture, so you can run it throughout the house.  Try just the skirting boards first in the hallways and staircases if you’re unsure about taking the plunge.

American Dream
Opt for dark tones
Be bold and paint walls in a dark colour. This look works especially well in a bedroom, as the warm hues make it feel cosy and relaxing. Enhance the effect with dark furniture, which will give the room depth and a timeless sense of style.

Unsure about deep shades? See 10 reasons to turn to the dark side

]Boutique Mews House, London

Create the illusion of space
In new homes, space often comes at a premium, so there might be one or two rooms that are quite small or awkwardly shaped. A great way to create a feeling of space is hang a large mirror on one wall. Here, the antiqued mirror adds a touch of class, and also doubles up as a feature headboard. You could also fix vintage mirrors to the front of fitted wardrobes to create a similar effect.

Primrose Hill Apartment

Revamp the windows

Your new build may have uPVC windows, which are great for your purse strings, but not always so great aesthetically. Classic plantation shutters are a stylish way to hide the bulky frames, while still allowing the light in. Shutters come in an array of colours, as well as a variety of styles and louvre sizes, so there’s plenty of choice.

Dining Area

Swap the standard spots
Spotlights don’t have much character, but once the electrics are in place, it’s easy for an electrician to change the actual lights. Go for something with more personality like these structural light shades instead. Include a variety of lighting in each room to cater for different needs and to add atmosphere. For example, floor and table lights are good for tasks such as reading and will provide an ambient feel.

Sophie van Winden & Simone Gordon, Houzz Contributors

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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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