Project some personality
How to make your new home feel welcoming
IT’S an exciting time when you’re getting a new home built by a project home builder.
One of the best things about it is that absolutely everything will be new, including the carpet, the kitchen and bathroom finishes, leaving a blank canvas for decoration.
But without some careful planning, your new home could end up looking like it lacks personality and warmth.
Taking your time with the choice of materials could make all the difference.
Interior designer Jenny Williams, from Creative Style Interior Design, says project homes are designed for mass appeal rather than being customised to an individual’s needs, tastes and wants.
“Project homes are meant to be sold using essentially the same architecture and design to keep the costs down, so variations can be expensive,” she says.
“They are also designed to appeal to as broad a cross-section of people as possible so there will never be anything too polarising about the design or the styling.
“Display homes frequently include the more expensive options, or upgrades, to make the display home look more ontrend and appealing.”
Taking the upgrade
While they may add to the cost, Jenny says upgrades can mean the difference between a standard finish and somewhere that really feels like it has some personality.
“Often display home builders will have preferred suppliers they want you to go to, particularly when choosing tiles,” she says.
“If you pay to upgrade the tiles you will have many more options to choose from, usually of a better quality and more on-trend styles, colours and designs.
“I always recommend doing this if you have the budget.”
Putting the time in during the design stage is well spent, she says.
“Most project home builders will allow you to upgrade other elements such as kitchen cabinet and benchtop materials and finishes, carpet, floorboards, window coverings and so on,” she says.
“This can be costly so spend your money with an eye to creating that ‘wow’ factor.”
In the kitchen, Jenny suggests upgrading to cabinets in your choice of colour in a twopack polyurethane finish for a luxe look, rather than laminate or melamine cabinets. For impact, she also suggests investigating what is on offer if you upgrade from the builder’s standard range of engineered stone. You will often have a wider range of colours available that might better suit your style.
Even after the builders have left, Jenny says there are plenty of ways to make a personal statement with your interior design choices.
If you’re really keen on a particular design style, consider the key elements that will bring that together.
“Think shutters for the windows instead of standard vertical or roller blinds to really add a sense of style and a bit of luxury,” she says.
“Installing a stunning pendant light in the front entry, the stairwell or over the dining table adds loads of personality.”
If you still feel your house doesn’t look warm enough after you’ve moved all your furniture in and unpacked all the boxes, Jenny says there are a number of ways to make it look more like your dream home.
“Personalising your home firstly means decorating it in a design style that suits your personality and lifestyle,” she says.
“If you love Moroccan or boho style, then decorate in this look – don’t just follow the trends.”
Display family photos or places you’ve visited, hang artwork that’s special to you and decorate with accessories that have significance for you.
A favourite rug, a dramatic staircase, striking wallpaper or a painted feature wall are other ways to express your personality.
“Even small things such as a bunch of your favourite perfumed flowers in your sister’s vase add to it feeling like home,” Jenny says.
FLOOR SHOW: Adding an eye-catching rug and patterned cushions creates some contemporary style in the Bristol 28 by Eden Brae Homes.
DRINKS ARE ON US: Adding a bar, like this one in the Edenvale by McDonald Jones Homes, will suit keen entertainers.
Installing plantation shutters, rather than simple vertical or roller blinds, creates privacy while adding a coastal feel to the Livingstone 22 by Eden Brae Homes.
Beautiful wallpaper in the Boston 36 by Clarendon Homes, which was styled by Coco Republic, offers style and warmth.
A pair of stunning pendant lights make a statement in the entryway of the Kent 25 by Eden Brae Homes.
A cheeky lizard at the Sonata display home by Allworth Homes adds a sense of fun.