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There’s a reason you had a contractor build your home; you didn’t want to get your hands dirty. But the problem with new builds – especially those built by a developer – is that they can sometimes lack character. Fortunately, if you think of your new build as a blank slate, there’s a lot you can do to add personality. The good news? Your new home doesn’t need a drastic renovation. A few super simple weekend new build DIYs can go a long way in making your house a home. Grab your paintbrush and a hammer and you’re just a few hours away from your dream house.
Frame up your mirrors
Builders want to keep their homes as neutral as possible. Erring on the side of vanilla can mean you miss out on architectural details. Some of the biggest culprits are your bathroom mirrors, which are probably unframed slab mirrors that take up a lot of your bathroom wall space. Framing your mirrors is a simple way to add texture, color and personality to your bathrooms. Just measure, cut and nail directly into the wall for a faux frame look on the cheap. Go for a bold pop of color or stay refined with a wood stain.
Add pre-cut woodwork
Craftsman style is hot right now, but it can also drive up the cost of your build. If you opted to keep walls woodwork-free to save on your costs, you can always add that interest later. Woodwork can seem daunting, but if you have the pieces pre-cut by the lumber store, it’s a quick afternoon project. You’ll need to measure carefully to make sure all the pieces are cut perfectly, but adding crown molding or new baseboards is easy and adds plenty of charm.
Your builder has probably built hundreds of homes – but they’ve never built your home. Only you know the way you live, how you like things organized and what makes your life easier. Take a Saturday to go through your new home and reorganize your storage solutions. Maybe that linen closet was specified as such on the plans, but it makes more sense for food storage. Maybe you love your kitchen cabinets, but a few basket organizers would better keep your stuff in check. You’re likely going to spend years in your house, so it might as well be comfortable and convenient for you.
Wallpaper can be just as divisive as politics, so it’s unlikely that your builder will give you the option. Paint is a builder’s best friend, but you might find that a house full of painted spaces doesn’t give the impact you’d like. Instead of tackling a huge space with wallpaper, however, try going for a bold pattern in a smaller space. A large floral brings a pop of color to a powder room, or a linear pattern can warm up an accent wall in the master bedroom. Choosing a small space or an accent wall means you score the most impact from the least amount of work.
Swap out hardware
Unless you built a custom home, you probably chose your cabinet hardware from a pre-selected catalog from the builder. This helps your builder narrow choices and better estimate costs, but it might leave you feeling less than unique. Luckily, changing out hardware is one of the simplest – if time-consuming – new build DIYs. You can check out the options from your hardware store or look for . You’ll see everything from vintage painted knobs to sleek modern handles, so choose something that is really you.
White trim appeals to the broadest number of homeowners, which is why it’s a builder’s favorite. But you don’t need to paint your entire home to bring in some character; try painting just the trim. A bold black trim gives serious farmhouse vibes, while wood-stained trim can bring traditional warmth. You can even go for colored trim in smaller spaces, like your kids’ rooms or a fun bathroom. A gallon of paint is around $25 and it’ll make your home look like a million bucks.
There’s nothing like natural materials to really warm up a home and give it character. But new builds are unlikely to have exposed brick or well-worn barn wood lurking behind any of their walls. Still, you can add charm by bringing in faux wood or brick features. Peel and stick materials make it easy to dress up a wall or room and are practically foolproof. Just take your time and make sure you install faux materials carefully so they look as real as possible.
Builders create homes that are as neutral as possible to appeal to the most owners and keep costs low. But a new build doesn’t have to automatically mean a bland build. Even if you’re not handy with a hammer, a few new build DIYs can make a big impact on your new home. And hey, who knows? You might just find you’ve been bitten by the DIY bug.