A couple of months ago we moved into our new-build home. We swapped a period house with a wealth of original features for a completely blank canvas. What could have felt like a shock to the system has been nothing of the sort. It’s been liberating.
A blank canvas
A new-build house is a blank canvas, ready to be coloured by your own personality. I always felt restricted by the period features I inherited in old houses. In a new build, you will be the one to give your home character. Try not to be intimidated. This is an opportunity, not a test!
Start with the floors
It’s often possible to choose your own floors before moving into a new-build home. Whatever you choose now should see you through the next decade (at least). The current trend for bold, geometric tiles is great, but will you still love it in a few year’s time? I’d recommend choosing something timeless and hard-wearing that will give you a great backdrop for changing tastes and trends. We knew we wanted hard flooring downstairs and chose engineered wood for the hall and sitting room, and wood-effect tiles for the kitchen.
Don’t rush into painting
A new-build house takes a bit of time to settle. Over your first year in the property you can expect to see small cracks developing in the plaster, especially round wooden door frames which will shrink and move a little. You might be itching to re-paint, but be patient. If you do it too soon, you’ll only have to re-do it again later. Our house is painted a combination of magnolia and white. Everyone seems to hate magnolia these days, but don’t be too hard on it. We’re going to live with it for a year, see how the light changes through the seasons, and then decide what to do. In the meantime, add all the colour you need with your pictures and soft furnishings.
Mix old and new furniture
Furniture is the easy way to add instant character to your new build home. I will always advocate mixing old furniture with new pieces. It creates a depth and warmth that will instantly make your home feel welcoming and interesting. Head to your local auction, charity shop, or eBay and look for key vintage pieces like a sideboard, coffee table or dining chairs. Once you start finding pieces you love, stick to a similar colour palette so that everything blends together beautifully. Don’t be afraid to mix your old pieces with modern flatpack furniture. Since moving, IKEA has become my best friend. So far, we have chosen bookshelves, a dining table and an armchair and they all sit beautifully alongside the older furniture. There are no rules – remember this is your blank canvas. Let your personality shine!
Add colour and depth with fabric
If everything in your new build home is still feeling a bit beige, then throw in some colour and texture with soft furnishings. Depending on your budget, this can include curtains, rugs and shutters or just a few new cushions. We have transformed our sitting room from a beige box into a cosy snug with the help of some pink velvet curtains and a thick, patterned rug. Adding our colourful books and a small army of scatter cushions has made it feel very us with minimal effort.