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How to Add Character to a New Build

By sourcing fireplaces from reclaim yards, eBay or auction houses you can add an instant sense of history, like it has always been there. Architectural mouldings and antique glass all help to produce a statement.

- Josephine Maydon, Ashbrook

There are no architectural details and charming quirks to work with in a new build, but that doesn't mean that you have to live in a characterless space. With a little careful planning it is possible to turn your new build into a home with a lived in feel.

Add something old

A house has to tell the story of the people who live there. It's a big mistake to think that you have to buy everything new simply because the house is brand new - a house filled with only brand new furniture could too easily look like a showroom. Rather plan your design around the things that mean something to you; these pieces tell your story and it will give your new house a bit of history.

A few pieces of old vintage furniture or accessories will add much needed character to a newly built house and make your house feel like a home.

Add Interest with Lighting

Even though lighting can sometimes be very flat and disappointing in a new build, it is easy to use lamps, pendants or other lights to add character and interest to your home. Low level lighting in the form of wall sconces, table and floor lamps will make the room seem warm and cosy. Add a very large pendant over your coffee or dining table to create a statement.

Try finding vintage or antique lights with which you can add a little quirkiness.

I asked Josephine Maydon of @ashbrooklocationhouse how she added character to her new build house and she sent me these beautiful images with some tips on how she did it.

Where architectural moulding up the stairs isn’t an option, a contrasting colour below dado rail level adds a layer of character. An old shelved alcove, found in an antique shop, gives an otherwise plain wall added interest.

The large opening in this open plan room at Ashbrook House has been framed with non structural reclaimed beams to add interest. It’s a wonderful way to detract from the low ceiling of the kitchen.

A great trick to ‘borrow’ light in rooms where there are no direct windows is to incorporate old doors with glazed panels rather than solid ones.