How to add flair to a new home build and decorate to exude your personality
With NZ’s love of half-Spanish-white walls and grey carpet, it can be difficult to express yourself in your home. You don’t want to negatively affect your home’s value with fuchsia walls, but you don’t want to live in a bland palace of beige either.
A new home build means a spotlessly clean house, no remnants of past occupants, and a blank slate. However, it also means you’ve a soul-less kitset home, especially if you’ve picked a design from a catalogue. It’s not a bad thing though, and there are loads of easy ways to inject your personality into your new home.
Stamp your personality on your new house
This new home gives you an amazing opportunity to think about what you really want. You literally have a blank canvas. Do you want it to have character elements? Do you prefer clean, modern lines? Do you like a farmhouse-style rustic charm? While you can’t have an authentic farmhouse in the middle of Ponsonby, Merivale or Maori Hill, there are still ways to get the look you love.
Walls that work for you
If you are thinking about flicking the house off sometime soon, then red walls and sparkle wallpaper aren’t that wise. But if this is a home you’re going to live in for a while, then you have carte blanche. There is literally almost no limit to what you can do. There are textured wallpapers, any number of textured paints/ blackboard paints, patterns and stripes galore. If you’ve ever wanted toucan wallpaper or some Māori art inspired wallpaper, there are options galore.
If you want a character home look, think about installing architraves, skirting, T&G/ wood panelled walls. They give that period feel in a new home build.
Light up your life
Lights are important- you need to be able to see. While you may roll your eyes at the simplicity of that statement, it’s actually a technical task, choosing the right lights. Keep in mind that as you age, your ability to see in the dark will decrease, which is why many older people seem to light up their house like they’re trying to send signals to space.
Remember that some rooms, like bathrooms and kitchens, need more lighting and specialised lighting. In bathrooms, shadows on your face while you use the mirror are death to contouring, and in kitchens you need to be able to see what you’re chopping.
Aside from that, there is plenty of room for personalisation. Hanging lights can be modern concrete or glass ‘edison bulb’ designs for an industrial look. Standard lamps add mood lighting without having to make permanent lighting changes.
Consider a gorgeous retro style lampshade and get a ceiling rose made for your ceiling. This can be as elaborate as you want, and is a good addition if you are wanting to replicate a modern character home.
Furniture for functional fashion
If you have spare cash to splash, then new furniture in your house is a luxury you can afford (and it saves having to move the old lounge suite and dining table). This is where you can buy the style you love, but not have it permanently part of the house.
Those distressed-look French cottage style tables and wicker drawers are an easy way to create a casual, farmhouse look.
For a more modern look, try colour blocking your soft furnishings. A yellow chair, a green couch, a red wing chair. The actual style of the furniture isn’t important- in fact, wildly contrasting furniture styles look great when tied together with a theme like colour blocking. If you re-upholster existing furniture, you’re saving money and being eco-friendly too.
If you’re looking for NZ- inspired fabrics, James Dunlop are a good quality local brand. As well as a range of florals and plains, they have patterns that evoke 1960’s NZ, including a hot take on Swandri checks.
Consider some built-in furniture. Window seats, built-in cabinetry, or turning that waste of space in the cupboard under the stairs into a handy shelving storage space. Talk to your new home builders, prices will vary depending on how elaborate you want things to be.
Dress up the room
If you want to make your house a true home, then dressing it is the easiest way to do that, with no commitment to changing paint or investing into permanent options. First, think about art on your walls. Can you create a wall of photos, tastefully done so you have all your family memories in front of you?
Art-wise, while you can’t afford a Colin McMahon, there’s nothing stopping you from buying prints. Whether it’s the Mickey to Tiki Dick Frizzell or a scattering of Tin Mans, there are a huge range of Kiwi artists to inspire and brighten your home. There are also incredible floral designs from NZ designers, or perhaps an amazing print of your favourite NZ landscape.
If your home is small or you’d like more natural light, mirrors are a great addition. A modern house could benefit from a large, rectangle one, while a selection of 1950’s hanging sculpted glass mirrors on the wall are both art, and light.
Plants are air purifiers and bring the outside in. Create an urban jungle with Peace Lillies, Monstera (Swiss Cheese plant), yucca trees and snake plants. Also think about cacti and succulents, that are hardy enough to withstand even the worst gardener and look modern and fresh.
There’s so much you can do that make your home look amazing- and let your personality shine through. Many of these ideas don’t require a huge outlay, and none are irreversible. If you are looking for new home builders, there are a wide selection around Auckland/ NZ and they can help advise you on changes you can make to turn your house into a true expression of you.