Skip to main content

How to add character and charm to your boring new-build home

Unfortunately, new-build homes don’t come with the eclectic charm of a fixer-upper nor the appealing character of a period home. They may not have distinct architectural detail or grand molding along the walls, but that doesn’t mean that they should lack personality.

If you’re a homeowner looking to spruce up your new-build home, there are plenty of ways to add character, period pieces, and timeless aesthetics to your space without making it feel out of place or kitsch. The best part about owning a new build is that it can be the perfect blank slate. With a bit of planning, you can create the home of your dreams by adding a few small changes that will make your home feel lively and ageless.

new-build home with period decor to add character
Ground Picture/Shutterstock

Add a few pieces of vintage furniture

One of the easiest ways to add charm to your new-build home is to add a few vintage furniture pieces to your existing decor. Stunning armoires, mid-century console tables, classic fine china cabinets, and beautiful chests can bring a vintage touch to your space. It’s best to add these pieces in moderation and blend them with your existing furniture and color palette. For example, say you have a lovely modern gray sofa in a neutral and green-based color palette. A timeless green armchair or a classic set of vintage side tables could be the perfect subtle additions to your space to invite more character to your design.

We also recommend avoiding overly ornate pieces that look gaudy and tacky in a new-build home. Instead, opt for simple period pieces like those of the Arts and Crafts era, which feel charming without being overly elaborate.

Opt for hardwood floors

Most new builds include dull grey carpet or dark laminate flooring. While these materials suit the aesthetic that new builds often aim for, they lack character and charm. To help spruce up your space and add a personal touch to your flooring, we suggest opting for hardwood. Depending on your budget, you could add hardwood to the whole house or choose to reserve it for the main living space. Select a warm traditional wood like red oak, American cherry, or walnut. Wood floors are a great way to invite a more earthy and comfortable aesthetic to your space. This flooring solution works beautifully with antique wooden furniture and other vintage pieces.

Add unique crown molding to your walls

Another way you can add character to your home is to add a unique crown molding to your walls. More ornate crown molding across the ceiling and upper walls can add an elegant and classic look. This is a fantastic option for homeowners who prefer more elaborate or eclectic vintage pieces since the crown molding will help your furniture appear less gaudy in your new build. Alternatively, wood trim along the lower and upper walls adds a fantastic mid-century detail that feels rustic and charming.

If you want to take it a step further, you can always consider adding paneling or wainscoting to your walls in a more ornate style. Adding an intricate wainscoting pattern to your space can create the perfect accent wall in your home. Depending on your design, you can create a stunning period look that flows seamlessly with your home’s new-build architecture.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

Or, paint your walls in a classic color

New-build interior walls are often painted in light greys, whites, beiges, or other muted neutrals. While neutrals can be an incredible color to add to your design, new builds often use them in a way that feels bland or uninspiring. A simple way to spruce up your home and add more personality to your design is to paint your walls a different hue. For a lovely mid-century look, try adding a bold yellow, orange, or brown to your space. Alternatively, a classic Victorian-inspired design may look more appealing with a green, blue, or darker-toned color palette.

Another way you can customize your walls to add more charm to your home is to add vintage-inspired wallpaper. Wallpaper is quickly coming back in style and can be the perfect way to create an accent wall or add more visual interest to your design.

cozy couch with texture
Alena Ozerova / Shutterstock

Don’t forget to play with texture

One thing grandmillennial enthusiasts have nailed when it comes to blending the old with the new in home decor is focusing on texture. Texture is a vital consideration in interior design, and adding the right textiles can completely transform your space. For example, consider adding faux fur materials, Moroccan-inspired rugs, silk curtains, or beautiful embroidered pieces for an antique look. Be sure to add plenty of unique textures throughout your space, and consider blending these textiles with your existing color palette. Rugs, pillowcases, furniture fabrics, curtains, and tablecloths are all things you should consider focusing on in your design.

Adding antique period pieces to your modern build is all about moderation. To make your new build feel charming and filled with character, it’s important to add small details that will help freshen up the look of the space without becoming too gaudy. Vintage furniture pieces, classic wall adornments, gorgeous textiles, and unique color palettes are vital considerations for pulling off the look. Luckily, new builds offer the perfect blank slate for a cozy home aesthetic, so you can rest assured that customizing it to your needs is a simple process.

Editors' Recommendations

Amelia Wilson
Amelia Wilson (author pen name Amelia J. Wilson) is a content writer in Greenwood, IN. She often enjoys topics on…
What a hardwood contractor says your wood flooring says about you
According to a hardwood contractor, the species, stain, and cut of your wood floors can say a lot about you
bleached light wood flooring in an entryway

The home is a canvas for your personality, and your interiors should reflect your personal aesthetics. A professional hardwood contractor on TikTok, @lumberjackwoodsupply, says your wood flooring may reveal more about you than you might have thought. Here is what the species, color, and style of your wood flooring say about you (though, of course, some of these are a bit tongue-in-cheek).

https://www.tiktok.com/@lumberjackwoodsupply/video/7296136450888846623
What your wood flooring species says about you
Pine
If you have lighter, slim, natural pine floors, this TikToker says you likely fall into one of two categories. “You definitely have an appreciation for old things,” says @lumberjackwoodsupply. Alternatively, “you most likely own an old house that had these floors underneath.”
Walnut flooring
Walnut flooring is classy, elegant, and often sold at a steeper price. The hardwood contractor says homeowners with walnut flooring “have taste.”
Red oak
“There’s a good chance you didn’t choose to install this. It was just already in your house,” says this TikToker. But if you did choose to install red oak flooring, “you are either on a budget or you like to go against the status quo.”
Brazilian Cherry
“You probably live in an upscale but slightly outdated suburban home,” says the hardwood contractor. “There’s a good chance you hate the red.”
Maple
If you favor the sleek light wood tones of maple flooring to curate an airy and uplifting aesthetic, “You either live on the beach, or you want to look like you live on the beach,” says this TikToker.
Hickory
Hickory flooring is well-known for its boldness. It’s a unique wood with a quirky grain and various hues. If you have hickory flooring, “you like unique things,” says the hardwood contractor. “You want to be different.”

Read more
Don’t celebrate Christmas? Try these winter decor ideas instead
Here's how to decorate in favor of seasonal winter themes
Christmas decorations in house with wall sign on floor

Not everyone celebrates Christmas. But that doesn’t mean you can’t join in on all the festive fun. Sure, you may not want a Christmas tree in your living room or stockings hung over the chimney with care, but who said you had to decorate solely for the holiday?

If you want to take part in decking the halls but prefer a more seasonal approach to your decor, then we have some amazing winter decor ideas. Decorating the home during the winter months can be a great way to celebrate the season and welcome in the new year. And even if you don’t celebrate on December 25, you can still make your home look fabulous without opting for classic Christmas tropes.

Read more
Zillow says these are the 2024 home design trends to watch (and the ones on their way out)
Zillow shares the home design features that are trending and those that aren't for 2024 interiors
Brown living room walls with neutral color palette design

A recent release from Zillow highlights some of the home design trends that today's buyers crave and some that are slowly falling out of style. Zillow analyzed some of the most popular keywords added to home listing descriptions to identify trends that homeowners are searching for.

"When certain keywords appear in a rising share of listings, it's a signal that today's home buyers may be gravitating toward those features," said Amanda Pendleton, Zillow's home trends expert, in the Zillow press release.

Read more