Victorian flats look great. Those big bay windows, the ornate cornices and marble fireplaces. The problem is, these properties cost a fortune to buy, then lose you money through poor insulation, on-going repairs and extras such as on-street parking.
It’s why many first- and second-time buyers take the practical approach of a new-build house just out of town. You get more space (and rooms) for your money. Modern technology like smart thermostats. And, the covet of all city-dwellers, a garden!
The thing is, new-build houses are a bit, well, vanilla. It takes a while for you and your family to leave your footprint. Thankfully, there are a few shortcuts to achieving that lived-in look in half the time.
Add a splash of colour
Developers furnish houses to leave room for the imagination. That’s why they paint walls in Magnolia. But that doesn’t mean your whole home has to be off-white. Pick a room and go to town. Get those test paint pots from your DIY store and go all Van Gogh. And if a mustard study is too big a leap, try painting a feature wall or adding a unique wallpaper print.
Forget flat-pack furniture
There’s nothing wrong with Ikea furniture. The Swedes offer great design and value for money. But there are more Malms in UK homes than mums. Nothing makes a house a home like a one-off piece of furniture. And companies like pureinterior.com.sg only do bespoke pieces from award-winning designers.
Retro has become a byword for kitsch or hipster. But an object from your childhood can bring a room to life and spark a moment of melancholy every time you walk in. A 60’s Fender guitar rocking the wall. A 70’s Danish armchair. Or an 80’s games console will create that nostalgia factor and give you a story for your houseguests. (If you’re buying someone a housewarming present, here are 6 Gift Ideas for the Retro Lover.)
In an age of selfies and Facebook, we forgot that pictures (well, good ones) work their best when printed out. You can pick out a quirky frame (two birds), make a collage in the kitchen or blow up a photo into a print for your living room wall.
Do something with that spare room
Every new-build house has that room where you dump boxes, hand laundry on an exercise bike or let the ‘home office’ gather dust. This space is your chance to make your house like no other, and drag your house into a home. Add a water feature to create a zen-full yoga retreat. Resurrect your 1210s and start buying vinyl again. Or recreate a special holiday and give the room a theme. Brighton Beach hut, Tokyo pod hotel or Orient Express carriage. It’s your house!
The best thing about making your new-build house a home is that you don’t have to be George Clarke. You just have to be you. Apply these tips, and you’ll find yourself settled in your new home that little bit quicker.