Buying a newly built home can bring a lot of advantages that you don’t have with older properties, such as the certainty of a solid build that will successfully withstand earthquakes, more sustainable building materials, the latest smart home technology, etc.
But what you lose is the charm and unique character of a home that’s been around for decades. The passing of time gives a home a history and a comforting past that is missing in new homes; they can almost feel sterile. Thankfully, character can be created, or “faked”, so here are a few tips and tricks to add some manufactured charm.
- Display your family memories
A space doesn’t truly become yours until you put a piece of yourself into it and make some memories. But until you make memories in the new place, why not display some old ones? Photos can give a place a cosy, familiar feel, and it helps you think of it as “home” while you’re still adjusting and getting used to it.
You can show off recent photos of your family, but also display some old ones – milestones, happy memories, friends who are far away, and relatives who are dearly departed. It can strike a nice balance when you have old, faded black and white wedding portraits of your grandparents on the same wall as a graduation photo of your son and a picture of your first family pet. It shows that even though the building itself doesn’t have a past, the family residing in it does.
- Give your furniture a patina
Sometimes, when you move into a new place, everything feels too…pristine. It’s all new, and clean, and that’s good, but you’re more comfortable when the place is a little bit more lived-in. You’re missing the chipped paint on the banister, the marks on the wall where you measured your growing kids, and the splatters on the kitchen cabinets.
Well, setting out to ruin your furniture is not the best course of action, and a chair doesn’t have to be broken to have character; it can just be a bit faded. Arm yourself with sandpaper and go to town on some of your pieces. Maybe your nightstands need a bit of a rough treatment, or your coffee table is a little too perfect. Especially if you’re furnishing in a rustic or industrial style, making sure everything is a little bit rough around the edges is necessary.
- Personalise your space
A new house can sometimes feel a bit basic and impersonal, so it’s up to you to inject some personality and breathe some life into it! If your space is neutral and inoffensive, then perhaps you need to shake things up. You don’t need to start a massive re-painting project – although some colourful accent walls can do wonders for a room – but you can bring some personality in other ways. A colourful sofa, some throw pillows, and a nice texture play can take the space from drab to daring.
Texture gives a space depth and visual interest, so, taking the living room as an example, you can have a throw on the sofa that’s chenille, a fluffy rug to keep your feet comfy, a set of brocade curtains, a glass coffee table, etc. Mix and match textures and materials, and even clash colours in order to put your artistic stamp on the place and make it your own.
- Shop at the charity shop – or in your relatives’ homes!
And since character is what’s missing from this home, you can literally buy it, borrow it, or steal it! Think of that lovely painted mirror your great grandma had in her house – would she be willing to let you have it? Or the heirloom bedroom set you were going to inherit in a few years anyway? Come to think of it, if you raid your family’s attics, you may find a lot of gems with plenty of vintage charm and a story to tell. You’d be giving them new life by adopting them and making use of them in a new space.
A good idea is to also go around looking in charity shops, vintage fairs, or car boot sales. One man’s trash is another man’s treasure and you never know what wonderful bargains you can find. And the best part is that nothing you find here is new, so the chips and scuffs that give items character are guaranteed.
As you can see, even a new build home can become charming, cosy, and familiar. You can leave that “too perfect” feeling behind by bringing in a few old items to mix with the new. And if that’s not an option, then why not manufacture the passing of time by taking some sandpaper to your furniture? You can also add personality in simple ways, like adding colour and texture or displaying your favourite photos, so it’s not at all a massive undertaking!