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  • Writer's pictureMiranda Roller

How to add character to a new home build

Building a brand new home is an such an exciting thing to do. Being able to make many specific decisions and then living in a space no one else ever has. It's completely yours. Often though, new homes can feel generic and uninteresting. How can that be avoided?

One way is to try and incorporate items with history into the build. This is a great option if you're customizing the entire build. We'll talk about tract or builder standard homes in a bit. For a custom home, one of the things I love to do is to find sturdy pieces that can be built in. Maybe a hutch that can be nooked into the dining room space. Or a sweet cabinet that makes for awesome storage in the bathroom.

We are currently building a post frame home (commonly called a barndominium or pole building house) and I'm integrating a huge 1940's cast iron kitchen sink and a freestanding bathtub from the 1920's. Living near the Portland, OR area makes it possible to find pieces that are being pulled out of homes being remodeled. Placing them in a new build gives them new life and also adds much character and personality to what can often look humdrum. There is nothing boring about this sink! The bathtub is in the picture behind the sink. Both so beautiful.

Faucets and lighting are another way to add beauty. My big sink is going to have this unlacquered brass faucet installed on it. It was custom made from an Etsy seller and it's going to be gorgeous.

Another piece I'm integrating is a leaded glass window that will be framed in above the bed between the master bedroom and bathroom. I'm excited to see how that turns out. It should add interest and beauty to an otherwise bare wall. Here are a couple of other fun examples I found where stained or leaded glass was used as dividers in rooms.

For a more basic or standard build where you're limited in your customization choices, choosing the available finishes to coordinate, but not fully "match" can help with giving your new home personality. This must be done carefully, and I would always recommend you use someone with a keen eye for it. If done correctly, it looks great...if not, it can look like you have terrible taste. When making those decisions for a brand new home, I like to really focus on the palette, choosing a favorite tone, and then coordinate the other items around it. Cabinets are a good place to start, compliment the ones you choose with tones that bring the room to life, but don't make everything match.

Later when you're moved in, switching out a few of the builder standard items can bring uniqueness to your home. Adding an interesting door to a pantry or closet is charming.

Adding an accent wall, or changing out the hood vent in the kitchen are also great ways to change things up. Sarah from She Holds Dearly, has a some great ideas and examples of what you can do to upgrade your builder grade kitchen. Many of these are for homes that have been lived in for a bit and need a change. But inspiration can be found everywhere.

As usual Pinterest has lots of ideas on how to upgrade the standard builder grade items to something that can make your home more "you". It's my favorite place to look for inspiration and ideas. I also love to frequent Etsy shops and my local vintage inspired stores to see what's out there that's not what you see everywhere else. Whether a high-end fully customized home, or a simple builder grade house in a subdivision, careful thought can be applied to create those personal touches that give your home character.

You can follow me here on Pinterest.

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