Ok, so you fancy buying a spanking new build or maybe you already have? Perhaps you are first time buyers that have taken advantage of the government’s Help to Buy scheme? TV star and property expert Clive Holland offers advice on putting your stamp on your new build property.
If you have already made the jump or you are still considering buying a new build, one of the questions often asked is: “How can we make our new build look more individual and stand out from the crowd?” It's true, most new housing estates are built on a set design and footprint and therefore it can look like a flock of sheep grazing in a field. However, baa-baa is in there somewhere if you want it to be. If you’ve ever parked in a huge car park and then struggled to find the car on your return then it’s a bit like that during the early days of living in your new build home - they all look the same so it’s a good job they have numbers to identify them!
There are many benefits to buying a new build home, but sometimes this fresh new space can lack a little soul. It might be more difficult to make changes to the structure at this point, but it’s surprisingly easy to add depth and personality to your new build.
For example, you could replace some of the roof tiles with a darker or lighter colour to create diamond shapes or the illusion of a checkerboard. Or how about changing the front door to a different style and colour? Both these changes would need to be carried out by a competent person and make sure you check with your insurers and the NHBC to ensure you’re not voiding your policy agreement by carrying out these changes.
Landscaping the kerb threshold can help and of course, the rear garden is usually a blank canvas so think about the sunniest spots to lay a terrace for outdoor dining, borders, raised beds, planters, maybe a micro vegetable garden and, of course, hard standing areas.
Because the garden area on new builds has a pretty small footprint, you could also try installing faux garden mirrors to give the illusion of a much larger space. These come in all shapes and sizes, even shaped like an arched Georgian style window for a more historical vibe. Plus this won’t cost you the earth. With prices starting from as little as £10, this is a great way to give the illusion of a bit more space.
Also, this work doesn’t have to be done overnight; a gradual process of change will work wonders.
A little tip: Take a picture from an upstairs window of the garden, print it off on A4 and begin to plan what you would like where by drawing areas with a pencil outline. You can choose to peg out the ground with string to define the areas if you wish and then take a picture as a useful guide. It’s how the pros do it.
Now the easy bit… the inside. If you’ve owned a previous property, some of those items will no doubt move with you and straight away add your unique styling to the interior, an old piece here and a decorative touch there, suddenly, your home has a life of its own.
Here are some classic tricks for giving a new bright space some character, so it really feels like yours:
Add a little historic charm with a chequerboard, tiled floor in the kitchen this is a classic design, used down the ages in properties from the grand to the small and humble. A monochrome design laid as diamonds immediately makes a strong statement. Think about giving it a 60’s vibe by adding a touch of chrome with your electrical gadgets such as a toaster, kettle, food mixers and perhaps a retro 1960’s radio just to add a nostalgic twist to a modern home. If you start there, I promise that will get your creative juices flowing with inspiration for the rest of your new home.
Personalise the walls in your living areas; surrounding yourself with your favourite prints and paintings is an easy way to put your own stamp on a new home. A mix of memories, family snaps and favourite artworks will instantly make the space yours and capture any visitor’s attention. Use vibrant colour, for far too long now the TV designers and so-called gurus have told us to keep our walls as plain and bright as possible for when we come to sell on. Forget that! Highlighting walls and unusual areas with vibrant colour can really add character. Be loud and proud.
Be bold with bookshelves too, (even if you don’t read much) a wall of books is a sure-fire way to add warmth and personality. It immediately says ‘library’, which suggests a home lived in and loved over many years. Even if you don’t have enough books to fill it, build the bookcase across a whole wall, then simply fill up empty spaces with personal treasures – they will add to the mood just as well. No books to speak of? Grab some from a charity shop, or what about some of the brilliant bookcase style wallpapers you can buy now to copy a library look.
Try introducing just one strong colour into each neutral room as a feature wall or use a strong patterned wall covering. Whether through fabric, paint or furniture, you will instantly add personality to your scheme.
I really could go on forever with ways to ‘style-up’ your new build but I think I’ll stop at that. I hope I’ve whetted your appetite. It’s just for me to say your imagination knows no bounds, don’t worry what other people think, as long as you’re happy, that’s all that matters.